UN Action and Peace Agreements

The United Nations was founded in the closing stages of World War II to prevent conflicts the size and breadth of the two World Wars in the future. The United Nations Charter, which went into effect on October 24, 1945, included the following goals: to protect future generations from the scourge of war, which has caused humanity untold suffering twice in our lifetimes; to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights; in the dignity and worth of the human person; in the equal rights of men and women; and to ensure that armed force shall not be used, except in the common defense.

Nevertheless, the U.N. Charter never addressed the definition of peacekeeping, which developed organically rather than through deliberate planning. Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter's cooperative military operations and Chapter VI's pacific dispute resolution plan are both parts of the organization's duty to preserve peace. The unwritten "Chapter Six and a Half," or acknowledged U.N. peacekeeping protocols, is based on the premise that neutral soldiers from neutral states utilize conflict resolution techniques to contain and restrict violence.

UN Peacekeeping, Peacemaking, and Peacebuilding

In 1948, international armed forces were used for the first time to preserve cease-fires in Palestine and Kashmir. During the Suez Crisis in 1956 between Egypt, Israel, France, and the United Kingdom, the practice of peacekeeping—which is not expressly specified in the UN Charter—became official. While army withdrawals and discussions are taking place, such forces are used as a buffer between the opposing sides of a conflict.

There are many different kinds of peacekeeping missions. However, they all have the same goals—to uphold peace—to involve military forces from several countries and work under the supervision of the UN Security Council. The 1988 Nobel Peace Prize was given to the UN Peacekeeping Forces.

After the Cold War ended, it became more and more challenging to maintain peace. "Second-generation" peacekeeping was developed in reaction to circumstances where the civilian population was suffering and internal order had collapsed to accomplish several political and social aims. In contrast to first-generation peacekeeping, second-generation peacekeeping usually involves military, civilian professionals, and relief experts.

Another difference between second-generation and first-generation peacekeeping is that soldiers in some second-generation operations can use force for reasons other than self-defense. However, because the goals of second-generation peacekeeping can be vague and difficult to define, there has been much discussion concerning the use of troops in such missions.

In addition to traditional peacekeeping and preventative diplomacy, the post-Cold War era saw a significant expansion of the tasks of UN forces to include peacemaking and peacebuilding. For instance, since 1990, UN employees have observed elections in many countries, including Nicaragua, Eritrea, and Cambodia; pushed for peace negotiations in El Salvador, Angola, and Western Sahara; and delivered food relief in Somalia.

UN Role in Arms Control and Disarmament

The UN's founders felt that managing and eventually reducing weaponry would contribute to maintaining global peace and security. Because of this, the Charter gives the General Assembly the power to assess the foundations of disarmament and armaments control and to offer recommendations to member states and the Security Council. The Charter delegates responsibility for formulating proposals for disarmament and weapons control to the Security Council.

Although the goal of weapons control and disarmament has proven challenging, the UN has created several multilateral arms control agreements. The General Assembly established the Atomic Energy Commission in 1946 to aid in the urgent study of the control of atomic energy and the reduction of atomic weapons due to the tremendous destructive power realized with the creation and use of the atomic bomb during World War II.

UN Action for Peacekeeping Initiative

Peacekeeping is one of the most effective tools the UN has at its disposal for fostering and upholding international harmony and security. However, a variety of challenges prevent peacekeeping from effectively achieving its goals. Political solutions typically lack missions, which frequently need clear aims and defined mandates. Complex hazards in many locations lead to increased peacekeeper fatalities and injuries, and missions occasionally lack the personnel and equipment to counter these dangers. Peacekeeping operations have been challenging to carry out their protection missions, promote long-term, sustainable peace, and establish coordination with other actors in comparable circumstances.

In response to these challenges, the Secretary-General announced Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) on March 28, 2018, to reaffirm shared political commitment to peacekeeping operations. In order to create peacekeeping missions that are prepared for the long term, the Secretary-General pleaded with Member States to collaborate with him in establishing a set of shared principles and commitments. The GA73 High-Level Meeting on Action for Peacekeeping (A4P), called by the Secretary-General on September 25, 2018, brought the whole community together to work towards these goals.

How successful has been the UN as a Peacekeeping Organisation?

Although it has had varied results, it is certainly fair to conclude that the UN has been more effective in its peacekeeping operations than the League of Nations, particularly in crises that did not directly include the interests of the big powers, such as the Congo civil war (1960-4). On the other hand, it has frequently been unsuccessful, as was the League, in crises involving the interests of one of the major nations, the USSR (e.g., the 1956 Hungarian crisis and the 1968 Czech crisis). This was due to the USSR disregarding or disobeying the UN. The most straightforward approach to highlight the UN's different degrees of success is to look at some of the major conflicts in which it has been involved (both during and after the Cold War).

Palestine (1947)

The conflict in Palestine between Jews and Arabs was brought before the United Nations in 1947. Following an inquiry, the United Nations resolved to split Palestine, establishing the Jewish state of Israel. This was one of the most contentious UN rulings, and the Arab governments refused to recognize it. The UN could not avert three Arab-Israeli conflicts over the Palestine issue (1948-9, 1967, and 1973). However, it did valuable work in mediating ceasefires, supplying monitoring forces, and caring for Arab refugees. The Palestine problem has not been addressed due to strong US support for Israel and disagreement among Arab governments.

The Korean War (1950-3)

This was the only time the UN could take effective action in a crisis involving one of the superpowers' interests. When Communist North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, the Security Council swiftly enacted a resolution denouncing North Korea and urging UN members to give aid to South Korea. This was conceivable since the USSR was boycotting the SC meeting to protest the PRC's refusal to join the UN. Although the Russian representatives returned quickly, there needed to be more time to prevent action from taking place. Troops from 16 nations could resist the invasion and keep the 38th parallel boundary between the two Koreas intact.

The Hungarian (1956) and Czechoslovakia crisis (1968)

Though the UN effectively defused the Suez issue, it could not exercise influence in resolving the Hungarian dispute. Let us define the Hungarian crisis. When the Hungarians attempted to break free from Russian domination, Soviet forces invaded the country to abolish the rebellion. The Hungarian government petitioned the United Nations, but Russia rejected a Security Council (SC) resolution demanding the evacuation of Russian soldiers. The GA passed the exact resolution and formed a committee to study the situation, but the Russians refused to participate, and little progress was achieved.

The Iran-Iraq War (1980-88)

The United Nations successfully concluded the long-running conflict between Iran and Iraq. The UN finally negotiated a ceasefire after years of attempts to mediate. However, they were assisted because both sides were nearing fatigue.

The 1991 Gulf War

The UN's response during the conflict was outstanding. When Saddam Hussain of Iraq deployed his soldiers to invade and occupy Kuwait, a tiny but enormously wealthy neighboring state, in August 1990, the UN Security Council demanded that he quit or face the consequences. When he refused, the UN dispatched a massive force to Kuwait. In a brief, decisive war, Iraqi soldiers were forced out, incurring tremendous losses, and Kuwait was freed. However, opponents of the UN said that Kuwait received assistance solely because the West required her oil supply. Other minor republics, such as East Timor (taken over by Indonesia in 1975), received no assistance.


The UN failed to send enough soldiers to enforce law and order during the civil conflict between Bosnian Muslims and Serbs. This was partly due to the European Union's and the United States's reluctance to engage. In July 1995, the UN was humiliated again when they could not prevent Serb troops from taking two towns, Srebrenica and Zepa, which the Security Council had designated as safe zones for Muslims. The UN's powerlessness was shown when the Serbs massed about 8000 Muslim males at Srebrenica.


During the 1990s, signing a peace deal was sufficient to initiate international participation in carrying it out. However, more was needed to ensure international commitment to the task. The main issue is how to save lives and put an end to bloody civil wars, and the article concludes with a more cautious but daunting challenge: how to save lives and put an end to bloody civil wars in a world with limited resources and numerous civil wars, some of which present far more significant difficulties to potential implementers than others.