The devastating effects of the World War led to the formation of the League of Nations. However, its ineffectiveness could not be kept in the dark, and soon the more useful United Nations took its place on October 24, 1945.
This international organization was formed with an aim to maintain world peace and order across all the participating nations. The term ‘United Nations’ was given by the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. All the 26 participating countries then took a pledge to fight against the Axis Powers.
This October, we are celebrating the 73rd year of this intergovernmental organization. In this regard, let us take a look at some of the most notable and significant achievements of the United Nations.
The World Food Program proves to be one of the United Nation’s most significant achievements. Catering to one of the most significant problems in the world today, the United Nations has taken on the responsibility of feeding 104 million people annually across 80 countries.
BIDI BIDI, UGANDA – 2018/05/07: A female South Sudanese refugees seen carrying a pack of 50 KG of cassava flour on top of her head while others line up to get their food supplies. The Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in northern Uganda near the South Sudanese border is currently the largest refugee camp in the world, hosting over 250,000 South Sudanese refugees fleeing the conflict. The world food program is providing the monthly basic food supply for the refugees in the settlement. (Photo by Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
With the growing population, the shortage of food indeed is a somewhat tricky scenario. The idea behind this program is simple. The UN aims to reduce the pressure off the shoulders of its member nations to reach out to the maximum number of people. Its impact is enormous, and that is what makes it one of the greatest achievements of the UN.
This is not a one-time phenomenon; instead, this program is run continuously throughout the year. This proves to be effective even during the times of natural disaster and other crisis.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – FEBRUARY 4: In this handout image provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the United Nations’ (MINUSTAH) Peruvian Peacekeepers and the US Army provide security for a World Food Programme food distribution coordinated by GOAL, the international humanitarian aide organization, in Place St. Pierre in Petionville on February 4, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Each woman is given a card and then is helped with a 20-kilogram bag of rice by one of the men from the GOAL team. Place St. Pierre has become a makeshift camp for people who lost their homes in the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12th. (Photo by Sophia Paris/MINUSTAH via Getty Images)
As an example, let us consider the earthquakes that shook Haiti and Japan in 2010 and 2011 respectively. These places were severely affected by the natural disaster leading to a loss of infrastructure and a shortage of food. The United Nations stepped in here and provided food supplies to the victim countries.
Fight against AIDS
For one of the most dangerous diseases in the world, the United Nations stands tall in its fight against AIDS. This works more like a worldwide war being fought by different people from different countries against the life-threatening disease.
2005 saw the death of 2.3 million people from AIDS alone. The numbers were frightening, and the UN stepped in to curb the death toll. Starting from spreading awareness to reaching out to people for treatment and prevention, the UN has actively played a role in this fight.
Frank Pancha Chisel, 38, collects empty boxes of antiretrovirals from a group of residents on November 27, 2014, before going to the Mikolongwe health center, three hours walk away from his village, to get a month worth of ARV therapy for himself and the others patients. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were some 35 million people around the world living with HIV by the end of 2013, with some 2.1 million new infections during the course of that year. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with almost 70 percent of new infections. AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)
It has also managed to rope in other organizations like the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund to fight this battle. The main idea is to come up with ways to spread awareness amongst the people to prevent the occurrence of this deadly disease.
B esides, the United Nations actively works towards raising funds so that the maximum number of people can be treated for this. Also, there are some programs in place that need to be implemented to prevent AIDS. This is also taken care of by the UN. As a result of their efforts, in 2012, the death toll came down to 1.6 million.
South African boys from a rural area in the KwaZulu Natal province are briefed by a health worker from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) before undergoing medical circumcision as a form of HIV prevention on November 8, 2014, in the Mbongolwane district. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there were some 35 million people around the world living with HIV by the end of 2013, with some 2.1 million new infections during the course of that year. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with almost 70 percent of new infections. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
End of Apartheid in South Africa
The beautiful country of South Africa was a victim of Apartheid or racial discrimination for the larger part of the 20th century. The origin of this problem could be traced back to 1948 when the all-white national party government implemented various policies of racial segregation and discrimination ushering in dark times in this country.
Washington, DC citizens demonstrate against Apartheid in South Africa. (Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The United Nations, however, played an active and significant role in the removal of Apartheid from South Africa. In fact, right at its inception, in the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the discrimination of Indians in South Africa was requested to be put in the agenda. This was the start of the fight against racial discrimination.
Later, the first significant breakthrough achievement in this sphere was the UN declaration in 1950 which stated that Apartheid was based entirely on racial discrimination. Subsequently, the Special Committee for Apartheid was formed which met for the first time in 1963 and called the member countries to stop the sale and exchange of arms, ammunition and military vehicles to South Africa.
South African politician and militant anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela gives a speech during a United Nations Conference in New York City. (Photo by Rick Maiman/Sygma via Getty Images)
Five years later, in an attempt to fight Apartheid, all educational, cultural and sporting exchanges with South Africa was ceased. In 1984, the racist constitution of South Africa was declared null and void by the United Nations. At this point, the removal of Apartheid was imminent, and the country got rid of it entirely in 1990 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.
Mandela also made his first appearance at the UN in the same year. Over the years from the 1940s through 1990, the United Nations worked strenuously towards the removal of this set of racial discrimination from South Africa.
Child Mortality Rates
Child mortality has been one of the most damaging issues in the world now. This problem has persisted over many years. The United Nations has been known to play an active part in reducing the child mortality rates.
Tee-shirts are handed out to those who attend the event in observance of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: ‘Stand Up against Poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals’, 17 October, 2007 at the United Nations in New York. The event is part of a global 24-hour observance in which millions of people at events around the world will ‘stand up’ to show their support for the MDGs. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The Millennium Development Goals of the UN included that child mortality rates be reduced by two thirds between the years of 1990 and 2015. In fact, this death toll of children under five years of age had decreased by more than half in this period, taking it from 90 deaths per 1,000 to about 43 deaths. Considering a more significant timeline, since 1960, the death rate has reduced by about 50% on the whole.
This means life expectancy has gone from 37 years to 67 years. Several methods and policies were taken up by the United Nations in this regard. Oral rehydration therapy was one of the biggest helping points in this quest to reduce child mortality rates. Also, changing the water and sanitation issues of the world has helped contribute to the cause.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L), Queen Rania of Jordan, Microsoft founder Bill Gates (2nd R) and Irish rock star Bono (R) hold a poster while attending the press conference ‘Call to Action on the Millennium Development Goal’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos 25 January 2008. AFP PHOTO PIERRE VERDY (Photo credit should read PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images)
The UN also took up other health and nutrition measures to improve the health of children across the globe. Thus, the United Nations has successfully brought about an improvement in the child mortality rates in the world, and the organization continues to strive towards it.