“THE UN IS 60, BUT I’M NOT! WE’RE THE NEW GENERATION, TIME FOR NEW IDEAS.”
Hello People. I was just digging through my archives and discovered this paper I wrote in 2005. It is really amusing as it brought back memories and confirmed my stand on matters then are still relevant today. It was the year the UN became 60 years old and I made some salient points including the Iraq war. This is the first part. Happy reading!
“Your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions” .
I am not being religious by quoting from the bible, but that is the unavoidable reality on ground. It is very easy to see that young people have a great deposit of ideas and activity embedded in them through a very natural process that is not easy to explain. But we live in a world where the voice of the youth is not respected because of a fixed and archaic perception of the older generation. I remember a friend who attended a conference and wanted to make a very important contribution. A man sitting beside him advised him to keep quiet, reminding him that – “Young people know nothing apart from sex and women”.
It is interesting to discover that two years after this incidence, this same young man is a consultant to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). But this young man is just one out of billions of other young people all over the world. Governments, United Nations and other organizations have always found it difficult to integrate youth into their decision making process. There is a particular saying that goes thus – “Youths are the future of a nation”. I totally disagree with this notion by saying that Youths are the deciding present factor of a nation. A cursory look at any society shows that the most productive sector of the population is the young people and if a country is in chaos, youth restiveness is often found to be a contributing factor. It is unjust to leave young people out when deciding matters that will determine the present and the future.
As a young person, I am not wholly happy with the structure and operation of the United Nations. No doubt, the UN in its 60 years of existence has been able to achieve some of its aims and objectives but I believe more could have been done. The United Nations is supposed to be the umbrella under which all countries in the world meets and have a brotherly union. The world has seen its fair share of wars and genocides.
Is the UN really powerful enough?
Sometimes I look at the UN as a powerless giant. This is hard to say but someone has to say it. I believe that the charter that established the UN gave it influence to mediate and advise any country that is trying to go into unreasonable wars and other ill-fated projects like Nuclear weapons. To protect the sanctity of the UN, no country should be perceived as above the law, but this is not the case. There are at least two countries as at now, who at various times made decisions without considering the stand of the United Nations.
A very vivid example is the second gulf war on Iraq by the United States of America. The United Nations was still in the process of inspecting Iraq for evidence of weapons of mass destruction and was imploring the US to wait for the outcome. We all know that the US got impatient and together with the United Kingdom invaded Iraq against the will of the UN. It is still unclear if that war was successful because of the high number of civilian and coalition forces casualties recorded.
If the United Nations is really respected, the US would not have gone ahead with that invasion; that leaves us to ask that if Switzerland wants to invade Senegal because of the same accusations levied against Iraq, would the United Nations have been able to persuade Switzerland to change its mind. I am sure the answer will be yes, thus we live in an animal farm with the rule changed to “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” . If the United Nations wants the kind of relevance that it merits, there has to be a conscious effort by the so-called world powers to respect her, after all, the UN is their initiative.
All talks and documents, little action:
I have attended a few United Nations organized conferences and must say that I always marvel at the kind of intellectual discourse that emanate from such deliberations. Very inspiring documents are also written after the end of the meetings that contains the resolutions. Delegates are accommodated at good hotels, paid daily subsistence allowance and even per diems. These conferences are aimed at finding solutions to a lot of abnormalities like poverty, HIV/AIDS, wars, illiteracy, e.t.c.
The sad thing is that after spending so much money to bring all these intellectuals together to forge a way forward, little is heard about the contents of the resolutions. Most of these things are never implemented; rather they are put away in archives. An example is the UN World Program of Action for Youth document. This document contains so much hope for young people but we have not really seen the effects. We all know that more than any other part of the world, developing countries need actions from these documents because these countries have the big share of all health and socio-economic problems.
The United Nations should endeavor to make sure that as they poll resources together and proffer solutions to these societal menaces, they should also find ways of implementing these policies and most importantly make sure the grassroots’ communities benefits.
Will the Rich continue getting Richer and the Poor get poorer?
One sure way of making the world truly united is closing the economic gap between the developed countries of the world and the undeveloped countries. There is so much poverty in most of these underdeveloped countries and with poverty come a lot of other problems. It is also a fact that most disaster and volatile countries of the world are underdeveloped. If we truly want a peaceful world, the United Nations should be more practical in helping these countries to develop. We are not talking about giving fish to them, but rather teaching them to fish. Hence all these temporary aids and loans will not help but further aggravate their problems.
Most developed countries are making a lot of money from debt servicing by poor countries. While we might claim bad leadership as the greatest dearth to development in these countries, the other very important factor is their indebtedness to the developed countries and the World Bank. If the UN is really sincere and willing to help these countries out of their shackles, it will be to seek debt forgiveness for them but tied to certain conditions which the countries must fulfill.
They must have proper democratic system of government, abide with the UN anti-corruption and transparency stance, and have a thorough budgeting and auditing systems, a viable economic empowerment scheme as well as a good track record of human rights system. Two major problems would have been solved – Bad leadership and poverty. Any attempt to deviate from these norms should lead to revoking the debt forgiveness.
It is by implementing these kinds of radical policies that the economical gap will start reducing and the United Nations would assume its proper place as the truly unifying umbrella of the world.
(To be Continued)