Despite its faults, the United Nations is the only forum where world leaders can come together and try to resolve the most urgent issues of our time.
The U.N. is where the world goes to address problems that transcend national boundaries and can’t be solved by any one country acting alone. This includes the environment, the outbreak of a pandemic, the distribution of vaccines, delivering humanitarian aid, protecting human rights, upholding international law, assisting development efforts, protecting the rights of women, and helping refugees who are fleeing war, famine, and persecution.
Keeping global peace is the U.N.’s primary objective. Currently, more than 100,000 military, police, and civilian personnel from 125 countries serve in 12 U.N. peacekeeping missions mainly in Africa and the Middle East. Peacekeeping is also cost-effective: The annual U.N. budget for peacekeeping is less than 0.5 percent of global military spending. The U.N. has won the Nobel Peace Prize 12 times—a record that proves the organization’s global value. The U.N. has been recognized not only for its peace efforts but also for climate change work, for attempts to prevent nuclear energy being used for military purposes, and for work on behalf of children, refugees, and other vulnerable groups.