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UN vs. NGOs: One against Many

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Message Ivan Simic


By some definition; the United Nations (UN) is an International Organization established in October 1945, by the five permanent members of the Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States and by a majority of the other 46 countries. The declared aims of the UN are to prevent war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to provide an instrument for international law, to promote social and economic development, to improve living standards and fight diseases, and to offer freedom for all Nations.

On the other side; a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) is a private institution which is not directly part of the structure of government, but relies significantly on funding from governments, individual donors, foundations, corporations. NGOs are not legal entities under International Law, as States are (except the International Committee of the Red Cross)

Every day, dozens of NGOs are being founded; currently, there are more than five million (5.000.000) NGOs around the world with most of them based in the US, India, Russia, Europe, among others, and only one UN. Looking at the lists of NGOs it is observed that since the mid nineties, the number of NGOs has been rapidly increasing. Why millions of NGOs now? The rapid increase could be explained with the numerous wars that were fought prior to this period, that aided in creating poverty, refugees, neglect of human rights, abuse of women's and children's rights, health and environmental problems, economical and political depression, among others.

There are many speculations concerning NGOs being tools of; a domestic or foreign governments, private donors, corporations, organized crime, all of which to protect their interest in some interest zone. Also, that NGOs are used for money laundry, as spy centers, drug smuggling, trafficking, and even tools for destabilizing countries, among others. It is unclear if all these are true or not, but one question arises from it. "How many individuals would give somebody or someone millions of dollars without asking anything in return?

Unfortunately, there are numerous NGOs that are confirming these speculations and even ones whose founders found good ways of making money and drying up Governmental budgets. However, there are a great number of good and uncorrupted NGOs, which were willing to make a change and really help someone.

Subsequently, what can we expect in the future from the UN and NGOs?

Regrettably, it looks like the budget of the UN is decreasing. Member States are late with payments, some members have big debts, and this generally affects the UN body.

Meanwhile, the budgets of NGOs are growing, with no debts and delaying in donor payments, with more media attention committed to NGOs, increasingly now, Governments are counting on NGOs more than on the UN, and if this trend continue, then NGOs will eventually replace the UN on the international stage, and, maybe, eventually come to power in some countries. Currently, we are evidencing a silent war among NGOs for leading positions in the international system, the end result of which cannot be predicted immediately, but it is obvious; there are too many hungry sharks in the sea. If we look through calculations: five million NGOs multiplied by ten people in every organization, we come up to the number of fifty million people working in NGOs worldwide, and the number is likely to grow.

It would be out of place to say that the UN is a perfect organization; we all know about manipulations of the UN system by some countries to get their will throughout, and because of that and many other things, the UN lost its respect on the international scene. Still, the UN is an International Organization, it has been helping and still helps people around the world; it was established for noble reasons; to represent all Nations equally and fairly, and it is expected that it will live up to its responsibilities and continue to do so.

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Ivan Simic was born in Belgrade, Serbia and an Economics graduate. For the past decade, he has worked in various fields: business, diplomacy, and government. He has written many articles and critiqued or supported theories concerning global issues (more...)
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