Peace organization’s imperfections no reason to eliminate altogether

World peace.It may sound like a joke, conjuring up images of pageant queens or celebrities trying to gain a bit of positive publicity, but attaining world peace is what the United Nations is all about.

It’s incredible to think that an institution created to be a wartime alliance has evolved to include 192 member states, 15 specialized agencies and several ongoing funds, missions and programs.

“Numerous studies show that if you look at who is good at helping create democracy, no individual country has had success,” said Eric Cox, TCU Model U.N. director. “The U.N. is more effective, by far, in creating democratic success.”

Cox, an assistant professor of political science, cited the examples of Bosnia, Kosovo and Haiti, where the end of conflict and establishment of democracy was due in large part to U.N. missions.

The U.N. is the most all-inclusive global entity promoting peace, development and human rights, but this inclusiveness has created an extensive bureaucracy, which many would like to see reformed.

As a former member of the TCU Model U.N. delegation, I know that although reforms to the U.N. may be necessary, completely scrapping it would be a terrible idea.

“If it didn’t exist, the U.S. would need to create a place to go talk to states we don’t have diplomatic relations with but need to talk to,” Cox said.

At a press conference in Vienna last weekend, U.N. Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon addressed the growing concerns of member states over the perceived inadequacies of the U.N.

Focusing on the Secretariat, Ban said he is “committed to making reforms in management … so that members, staff of the Secretariat, will stand on the highest level of integrity and ethical standards with a strong sense of commitment and direction.”

Sounds pretty similar to the TCU mission statement, doesn’t it?

“To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.”

And just as I would rather work toward improving TCU than transfer, I believe that the U.N. can be more efficient if member states work toward improving it.

“The base budget for the U.N. is smaller than the base budget for Dallas,” Cox said.

However, Cox said that in the past year alone there has been significant effort toward restructuring management and procurement of funding to meet the same standards as private businesses.

And after all, we haven’t had a world war since the 1940s, and since the end of the Cold War, most conflicts have been internal as opposed to between states. This means that the U.N., for all its bureaucracy, is doing the job it set out to do.

And, to do that job even more competently, especially in the area of development, the U.N. has set out eight Millennium Development Goals, which can be found on the Web site un.org.

“Outside the U.S., the U.N. is fundamental for the interests of developing nations around the world,” Cox said.

These MDGs are mostly well on their way to being met by 2015 but need the continued and increased cooperation of member states if they are to do so.

So, although reforms are necessary to the U.N., there needs to be an end to the mentality that imperfect institutions should be eliminated instead of improved if the dream of world peace is ever to be realized.

Talia Sampson is a junior news-editorial journalism and international relations major from Moorpark, Calif. Her column appears Thursdays.