University for Peace Global Network for Upeacebuilders
Friday December 19th 2014

The development of the UN

The United Nations is more than six decades old and has matured into a vibrant organization. Over these many years the people concerned with have learnt many things and accordingly adopted better measures to deal with disasters, conflicts and subsequently to adopt measures to overcome these problems. There are many operations that are being undertaken by the United Nations and one of these operations is peace building operations in which forces from over hundred countries help United Nations to achieve peace worldwide. The aim of the United Nations peace keeping missions is to stop the conflict hit areas from going back to disaster and conflict situation by adopting specific measures at all levels.

Thus to achieve peace at sustainable levels so that further steps by the parties concerned can be taken with the help of United Nations to improve the conditions for the peace to prevail permanently. Before adopting the United Nations peace building operations it is must to study the specific environments and requirements of the areas and parties concerned and accordingly tailor the procedures to be adopted for long lasting peace. All the measures and procedures to be adopted must not be against the wishes and requirements of the people concerned; otherwise, chances are that the United Nations peace building operations will not succeed.

Since the launch of United Nations peace building missions, the story has been a mix of good and bad results. In many peace building operations, the United Nations failed to achieve the required standard of peace. There are specific reasons for each failure and specific reasons for each success. But as I have mentioned in the previous lines that the knowledge of the area, people, history and conflict reason must be studied before launching the peace building operations. When the reasons have been studied why the United Nations failed to achieve peace; one thing has come up in every study that 90% of the times, the research was not carried out before launching the operations and this was the biggest cause of the failure.

Similarly, the operations which were launched after thorough study and research, 90% of those operations succeeded. Another reason for failure was found to be non involvement of the locals in peace building operations. Foreigners can never understand the dynamics of the area, culture, religion and socio-political environment of a specific region. Some times books do not give you the right picture and in the end you have to be there to find out the actual reasons and subsequent solutions.

Rotary World Peace Fellowship

The rotary world peace fellowship is a non-profitable organization. The purpose of its establishment is to achieve peace in the world. The organization makes the programs to remove poverty and improve education on an exchange basis.
It also establishes the programs for exchange of cultures and traditions. This foundation was established in 1917. This is a big organization. In the early days the foundation started three programs:

1. Polio eradication program
2. Humanitarian programs
3. Education programs

Polio eradication program

This organization has carried out much work to control polio and other disease in the under developed countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc. The vaccination of polio to children is a key method of reducing the disease. With the help of Rotarians, today 209 countries all over the world are polio free countries. The rich of the world like Bill Gates have generously been donating for the cause of this foundation. In the initial days, the foundation started with a fund named polio plus fund.

Humanitarian programs

The second big program of the foundation are humanitarian grants programs. In this program funds are granted for health, hunger and humanity. The main objective of the program is to improve health, eliminate hunger and improve human development. The organization also gives planning grants for rotary clubs and districts for designing new projects. Approximately 166 countries use these grants.

Education programs

The third role is the education program managed by this foundation. The foundation grants scholarships to talented students of under developed countries. Students from more than one hundred countries are using the scholarship through this program and helping themselves and their communities to become better educated. More than one hundred students are presently achieving education in top world universities and colleges. Another major contribution by the rotary foundation is the rotary grant for university teachers. They provide grants to engage brilliant faculty from under developed countries. With this unique feature of this foundation, teachers are learning more and subsequently become better and teach much more effectively.
Part of the curriculum is to ensure students also partake of entertainment and learning how different cultures around the word world. It is not out of place for example for a 70s fancy dress party to be held as an introduction to cultures of certain countries that celebrate the modern celebrity era.

We can conclude that the foundation is helping the world to be better educated and knowledgeable.

Casualties during Peace Keeping Missions

There have been many casualties amongst the UN peacekeepers while performing their duties. Although the rate is not that high, the majority of the deaths occurred in recent years.

The main force of peace keepers comes from countries like Pakistan, Canada and Ireland etc. These countries are well experienced and are familiar with the problems that could cause fatal injuries. These countries have devised safe and effective ways to avoid such situations.

The following is approximate data concerning deaths and injuries to UN peace keepers in last 60 years:
• Over 1000 peacekeepers died
• Over 4000 wounded
• Biggest casualty: 344 dead in 1982 in Beirut

Public Response
Although there have been few casualties; the public has shown a favorable response towards maintenance of peace through UN peace keepers. This is because the results produced by these forces are positive and have helped maintain peace in other parts of the world..
There are some organizations and groups, which are against the peace keepers being placed in conflict areas. These are very few in number . The only substantial evidence they present is of some rare cases where the peace keepers sided with one faction and due to this aligned behavior, the conflict was aggravated and that caused deaths and injuries amongst the peace keepers.
The public response is muted if there are no casualties during an operation. Whenever, there is an incident and that involves deaths or injuries to the peace keepers; especially to women, there is a hue and cry and a debate for or against the peace keeping mission. Generally, people and groups from the country of origin show anger or negative response when fellow countrymen are killed..

United Nations’ Educational Impact on helping children

United Nations runs ECD fro childrens’ development and entertainment

The United Nations, specifically the United Nations Children’s Fund known as UNICEF, highlighted basic education and gender equality as one of five areas of focus in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals set by the organization. UNICEF has established a comprehensive plan to enact such change, targeting underdeveloped nations and particularly nations undergoing an emergency situation or recovering from one. Early child development (ECD) programs focus on children at or below first grade, temporary schooling is made available to older children during disasters or other losses of educational continuity, and most pervasively, schooling is westernized once education becomes privatized in developing countries.

When an industrializing nation seeks a loan from Bretton-Woods institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund, or else from a U.N. member nation, they must comply with a long list of conditionalities referred to as the Washington Consensus, or more technically, Structural Readjustment Policies. Chief among these is the stipulation of infrastructure privatization, where government cuts funding to schooling in order to make loan payments and private industry steps in to fill the void. With this change of management, companies are more capable of providing basic needs and facilities while bringing techniques and resources from the modern world; children that have very limited access to literature and digital media gain opportunities that might have been slow to materialize.

Nations in turmoil that lack stability to justify building infrastructure are not forgotten, as camps are established at friendly locations to keep children on track. When floods in 2011 forced much of southern Pakistan to convert schools to shelter for over seven million displaced homeless, UNICEF stepped in and established camps at places like the Institute of Business Administration.

ECD programs are especially effective, giving young children the skills that they will need in the long-term future, such as reading in internationally prevalent languages and gaining familiarity with technology. While local education will remain culturally influenced, children are engaged via movies such as those coming from Voice of America’s In Focus network and enjoy exposure to classic liberal endeavors like the arts. Young people who would never take the stage might enjoy learning about current issues such as piracy – which draws the disenfranchised youth in the most impoverished areas – by putting themselves in those roles, dressed in pirate costumes and interacting together with moral considerations in mind. In the long run, many of these kids will think more globally and as conscientious citizens.
For the more adult children perhaps in their teens, celebrations of local holidays are often styled on the 70s music and fashion of the west, where the great influence of music and fashion made such an impact.

The Peace Keeping Mission in Syria

The First batch of United Nations peacekeepers reached Syria in mid-April, 2012. The UN peacekeepers arrived to oversee a truce so that the battle could stop and further bloodshed did not continue. Fierce gun fights and rocket firing is continuing despite international efforts. The United Nations has brokered a cease fire; however, the reports of attacks and killings are still pouring in from all across Syria including from cities of Idlib, Homs and Hama etc. Within a week of the UN sponsored cease fire, more than 50 people had been reported killed due to continued violence. Efforts are afoot to save the peace 6 point plan. This peace plan has been agreed upon by the Syrian president Assad through the joint efforts of UN and The Arab league.

The UN mission consisted of 30 international observers who will set up an observation headquarters for monitoring the implementation of the peace process and cessation of hostilities. More UN peacekeeping personnel will arrive in Syria in the coming days. The next group will comprise members from the Arab region so that the observers are familiar with the language and customs of the area. The main role has been carried out by the former UN secretary General. The Security Council rejected the idea of sending 200 observers immediately. A full UN peacekeeping mission could only be sent to Syria once all the hostilities between rebels and government cease.

The west has lost trust in Assad and they believe that he is not sincere in ending the year long conflict. This is evident from the sudden end of the Syrian monitoring mission which was sent by the Arab league. The government spokesperson has blamed the rebels for intensifying the attacks on government installation and forces after the arrival of the UN observers. The government says that the rebels are not interested in maintaining the truce due to their own hegemonic aims. The government forces have resumed attacks in the city of Homs when 5 civilians were reported to be killed by the rebels.

Saving Children through UN Peace Keeping

Children are the future of our world. When a child is lost, a generation is lost. In many areas of the world, the conflicts and wars have caused deaths and injuries to millions of children. The United Nations is making an all out effort to protect children who have been thrown into violent environments due to armed conflicts. Children all around the globe face rape, abductions, killing, maiming and recruitment etc. many children die or become psychologically unstable as a result of violence and war. Their personalities are often deeply affected.
The UN peace keeping missions did not have the right to play the role of child protector till 2001. People realized the destruction of a young generation caused by the conflicts; however, no concrete steps were adopted. In 1999, work started on this aspect. Finally, an addition was made to the mandates of UN peace keeping missions in 2001 and children protection operations in conflicts were made a part of peace keeping missions. Now all the peace keeping missions are responsible for the protection of children in conflict zones under their jurisdiction.

The Role of UN Peacekeeping forces in protecting the children
The UN peace keeping force has three branches which assist the child protection issue in the following way:
• The first task is to be observant and find out if there are any crimes being conducted against children. The issues involving children are observed and pointed out by the peace keeping military present in the conflict region.
• The national police receives full cooperation and support from the UN police in dealing with the problems concerning children.
• The national legislation is reviewed and Judicial Affairs Officers are duty bound to secure children’s right in the legislation.
• Protection of the children in the war ton areas is one of the prime objectives of the peace keeping missions and the head of that mission is made responsible to achieve this objective.

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