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Nations System
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Peace and Security

« The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means" (Article 33.1/2 – Charter of the United Nations)

One of the main goals of the UN is the maintenance of peace and international security. Since its inception, the UN has often been called upon to prevent disputes from escalating into armed conflict, to convince opponents to sit at the negotiating table rather than let the weapons do the talking or to facilitate a return to peace after an armed conflict. Over the years, UN helped to end numerous conflicts, often through the intervention of the Security Council, the main body dealing with issues of peace and international security.

The Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General all play a vital and complementary role in promoting peace and security. The UN operates in fundamental areas such as: conflict prevention, restoration of peace, the maintenance of peace, peacemaking and peace building. These activities must be carried out simultaneously or overlap for maximum efficiency.

During the 90s, the end of the Cold War has completely changed the security, conflicts are now mostly internal rather than between states. At the beginning of the XXI century, new international threats have emerged. During this period, armed confrontations have revealed complex issues regarding the best way to protect civilians inside those conflicts.

Peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)’s Ghanaian battalion participate in a medal parade in Buchanan, Liberia, as Karin Landgren (standing left, beneath gazebo), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIL, looks on.

Peacekeepers of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)’s Ghanaian battalion participate in a medal parade in Buchanan, Liberia, as Karin Landgren (standing left, beneath gazebo), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIL, looks on.

The UN has revised and made more effective the different instruments at its disposal, strengthening its peacekeeping ability to deal with new situations, by making greater use of regional organizations, in developing its capacity to consolidate peace after conflicts and by using again preventive diplomacy and mediation.

The UN has created mechanisms that allow it to maintain peace and security in the world:

1. Preventive diplomacy and mediation

The most effective way to reduce suffering and massive cost of conflicts is to prevent them. The United Nations plays an important role in conflicts prevention, by using diplomacy, good offices and mediation. The Organization particularly uses special correspondents and political missions in the field.

2. Peacekeeping

The Peacekeeping has proved to be one of the most effective tools in the service of UN to help host countries on the difficult path from conflict to peace. Today, the peacekeeping multidimensional operations are not only used to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate political processes, to protect civilians, to assist in disarmament, in demobilization and reintegration of ex -soldiers. They also support constitutional processes and the organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and help to restore the rule of law and to extend the legitimate authority of the state.

The peacekeeping operations receive their mandate from the Security Council; their troops and police forces are provided by Member States; and are managed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and supported by the Department of Field Support at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. At the moment, sixteen UN peacekeeping operations are deployed; out of a total of 69 deployed since 1948.

3. Peace Building

Peace Building aims at helping countries emerging from conflict, reducing the risk of immersing in again and laying the foundations of sustainable peace and development.

The United Nations Peace Building architecture includes Peace Building Commission, Peace Building Fund and Peace Building Support Office. This last helps and supports the Peace Building Commission through strategic advices and policy. It administers the Peace Building Fund and supports the Secretary-General in coordinating Peace Building efforts from UN agencies.

4. Fight against terrorism

The United Nations is increasingly needed to coordinate global fight against terrorism. Eighteen universal instruments against terrorism have been elaborated within the United Nations System, concerning specific activities of terrorism. In September 2006, Member States adopted the UN GLOBAL COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY, marking the first time that Member States agreed a common framework against terrorism.

5. Disarmament

The General Assembly, together with other United Nations bodies and with the support of the Office for Disarmament Affairs, works for disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as conventional weapons in order to promote international peace and security.

United Nations Peacekeeping website:


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