The United Nations is a great organisation, providing a diplomatic backbone to the world and all its problems. But 63 years after its foundation, the platform has become corrupt, badly organised, without any real enforcement powers, and with a reputation in shambles. Kofi Annan, the most renowned Secretary-General, a title he shares with Dag Hammarskjöld, knew this, tried to reform, but was met with skepticism, protests from member states, and the complexity of international politics.
Does the United Nations really matter in todays political playing field? It may have a grand representation in the arts and culture (UNESCO), the care of children (UNICEF), supplying food for the poor (WFP), and providing healthcare around the world (WHO), but it has less of an importance in world politics, or at least less than it should have.
True, some of the reforms are underway as we speak. But considering most of these are of smaller nature, and that it will take decades for even those to pass, true and hard reforms they are not. And trust me, I know how difficult and time consuming it can be for an organisation with 192 member states, incorporating several cultures, languages, values and believes, to reinvent itself, but the fact is that I just don’t care. Reforms are needed and the whole fact that it is this difficult to implement them is a testament to how rusted the United Nations machine has become.
If you want to be “the platform for international diplomacy” you will have to know how to adapt to changed political situations, cultures and generations. Kofi Annan knew that. Ban Ki-moon probably also knows that, but being less brave than Annan keeps it more to himself. The member states probably also know it, yet resist because they have hidden agendas, disinterest, or privileges they don’t want to lose.
So, yes, the world should’ve.