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United Nations: Useful or self-serving entity?

After nearly 70 years, the United Nations continues to provide its 193 members a forum for debate as part of its mission to promote peace and human rights. But is the UN with the veto given to the permanent members of the Security Council fit to face 21st century challenges?

UN supporters point to the importance of the General Assembly and the UN’s independent agencies, which among other things safeguard health and education and human rights, promote environmental protection and provide humanitarian aid. Critics argue that the UN has badly managed international conflicts and is a bloated organisation, and say the UN Security Council is held hostage by its five permanent members.

But as a former UN secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjöld, once said: “The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven but to save it from hell.” Have expectations of what the UN can do been raised too high? Which side do you take in the UN debate, and why?



Ambitious Switzerland plays to its strengths

This content was published on Experts on both sides of the Atlantic agree that, despite some setbacks, the balance sheet of Switzerland’s first decade has been overwhelmingly positive. Switzerland has played key roles in structural and budgetary reform of the UN, as well as in the areas of human rights and international justice. “When it comes to fundamental rights, rule…

Read more: Ambitious Switzerland plays to its strengths


How the UN “Swiss paradox” was resolved

This content was published on It came after more than half a century of refusing to be part of the body, out of fears linked above all to safeguarding Switzerland’s cherished neutrality. “The Swiss have arrived. We have waited a long time,” said the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, as he welcomed the Swiss delegation ten years ago. Switzerland’s decision…

Read more: How the UN “Swiss paradox” was resolved

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR