The United Nations

Authored by: Thomas G Weiss

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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For civilians thrashed about by armed conflicts and natural disasters, the universal membership and cosmopolitan values of the United Nations bring it immediately to mind as a source of succor and protection. The focus here is on contemporary UN efforts to come to the rescue in wars, the bulk of today’s emergencies, whose politics are considerably more fraught than those resulting from nature’s calamities. While the world organization’s profile makes it a natural choice, it is not one without problems. This chapter examines key definitions before spelling out the essential components of the UN system. The most acute problems are followed by a discussion of how to attenuate them. 1

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