As the UN envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes has been declared persona non grata by the government in Khartoum, the question of the usefulness of the UN arises again.
On September 10, 1960, while he was in Nantes, General de Gaulle fumed: he could not stand the United Nations, then headed by Dag Hammarskjöld, getting involved in decolonization. He then deplored the desire of the "thing called the UN" to send Blue Helmets to the Belgian Congo. At the time, the French general considered that the UN was only an offshoot of the former League of Nations (SDN), which "was exalted by its own principles, especially when it came to condemning theoretically war. In other words, even by condemning the war, the League of Nations had not succeeded in preventing the Second World War.
A little over sixty years later, is the UN still incapable of preventing conflicts? Become a diplomatic tool which multiplies in particular the resolutions, the organization seems to have some difficulties, sometimes, to impose itself. This is the case in Sudan, where the government in place refuses to see the UN envoy to Sudan, the German Volker Perthes, working from Khartoum. In Libya, a little less recently, the UN has not done much better: the international body had imposed an electoral calendar which was never kept. From, we hardly hear any more about elections in the North African country.
But what is the United Nations for? In the preamble to the UN Charter, the Member States say they are “resolved to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. At first glance, the objective is utopian and the UN is far from having proven itself in this field. "The failures are severe and the UN, which brings together 193 States, seems powerless to resolve the crises", wrote a journalist in 2018. Failures in particular due to disagreements between the powers that make up the UN Security Council. When we see that within this Security Council, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States rub shoulders as permanent members, we understand that the body is not not one and indivisible.
Because who says permanent members says veto rights. And when we know that each conflict is marked by foreign interference, especially Russian and American, we understand that this renders the UN ineffective, which, moreover, "has no legal or political means of intervening" in the countries in conflict, locked by powers belonging to the Security Council, indicates Pierre Grosser, professor of international relations at Sciences Po Paris. And even when the UN is useful, it is difficult to guarantee lasting peace. In the DRC, the boss of UN peace operations, the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Lacroix; announced a "gradual" withdrawal of the peacekeeping force in peace.
Politically, then, the UN is no more than a shadow of itself. Still, the international organization that is the UN has many other organizations that are more effective. From the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UN organizations have proven themselves. Just like the World Food Program (WFP). But again, with some swirls. After an investigation into misappropriations within the WFP in Ethiopia, the WFP announced the suspension of part of its food aid to Ethiopia.