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Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighty Nine - 19 September 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighty Nine - 19 September 2023 - Page 4

Why is the UN Ineffective?

In a world facing complex global challenges, the United Nations, with its lofty ideals and ambitious goals, stands as a beacon of hope for international cooperation and diplomacy. However, like any institution of its scale and significance, it is not immune to criticism. As President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran prepares to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the necessity of criticizing the United Nations, particularly in light of its perceived inefficiencies. The United Nations, with its diverse membership and multitude of mandates, often faces challenges in achieving swift and effective solutions to pressing global issues. Critics argue that its decision-making processes can be slow, its bureaucracy cumbersome, and its actions sometimes constrained by geopolitical interests. This article delves into the importance of critiquing the United Nations and exploring areas where it can improve its effectiveness.

Low Effectiveness
in Decisions

Critics argue that the General Assembly's decisions often lack enforcement mechanisms, making them ineffective in resolving international conflicts. To explain further, the ineffectiveness of the General Assembly is often criticized due to the absence of robust enforcement mechanisms. This means that while the General Assembly can make resolutions and decisions, it lacks the power to ensure that these decisions are implemented effectively, especially in the context of resolving international conflicts.
Limited Enforcement Authority: The United Nations General Assembly serves as a forum for member states to discuss and make recommendations on international issues. However, unlike the United Nations Security Council, it does not possess the authority to enforce its decisions with measures like sanctions or military actions. This limitation makes it challenging to compel countries to comply with its resolutions.
Dependence on Member States: The effectiveness of the General Assembly heavily relies on the willingness of member states to adhere to its resolutions voluntarily. If a member state chooses not to comply, there are often few means available to hold that state accountable.
Political Considerations: International politics and power dynamics can significantly influence the enforcement of General Assembly decisions. Powerful nations may be more resistant to complying with resolutions, and there is often a lack of consensus on how to respond to violations.
Resource Constraints: The General Assembly may lack the resources and infrastructure needed to implement and monitor its decisions effectively, particularly in complex situations such as conflict resolution.
Overlap with the Security Council: Some argue that the existence of the United Nations Security Council, which has more significant enforcement capabilities, can overshadow the General Assembly's efforts and further contribute to its ineffectiveness.


Some argue that the Assembly's structure does not adequately represent the diverse interests and needs of all member states. Critics argue that the structure of the United Nations General Assembly doesn't adequately represent the diverse interests and needs of all member states. This concern primarily stems from the following factors:
Size and Power Disparities: The General Assembly follows a one-country, one-vote principle, which means that small nations have equal voting power with large and influential countries. Critics argue that this doesn't reflect the actual power dynamics in the world, leading to the dominance of a few powerful nations in decision-making.
Permanent Members and Veto Power: The UN Security Council, with its permanent members and veto power, holds significant influence over global affairs. This can undermine the General Assembly's authority, making it seem like a less relevant decision-making body.
Geopolitical Divides: Geopolitical divides among member states often lead to regional and political blocs forming within the General Assembly. This can result in voting patterns that prioritize regional interests over global ones.
Financial Contributions: Member states' financial contributions to the UN budget can impact their influence within the General Assembly. Countries that contribute more financially may seek to assert greater control or influence in decision-making.

Political Bias

Some claim that the General Assembly's decisions can be influenced by political biases, favoring certain member states.
Member States' Influence: The General Assembly consists of all United Nations member states, each with its own national interests, alliances, and political ideologies. Critics argue that decisions can be influenced by powerful member states or blocs, which may lead to favoritism.
Veto Power: While the General Assembly typically makes recommendations and passes non-binding resolutions, decisions made by other UN bodies, such as the Security Council, can significantly impact international actions. The veto power held by permanent Security Council members can be seen as a form of political bias when decisions are blocked or allowed based on the interests of these powerful nations.
Resource Allocation: Allocation of resources, funding, and development assistance by the UN can be influenced by political considerations, potentially leading to disparities in support for different member states.
Complex Conflicts: In cases of complex international conflicts, political biases can impact the General Assembly's ability to reach a consensus or take effective action, as differing political interests may hinder cooperation.


The Assembly's consensus-based decision-making process is criticized for being slow and prone to gridlock, hindering timely action on global issues. The criticism of slow decision-making in the United Nations General Assembly is rooted in several factors:
Consensus-Based Approach: The General Assembly often relies on a consensus-based decision-making process, where all member states must agree on a resolution. This inclusiveness can lead to extended negotiations and discussions, causing delays.
Diverse Membership: With 193 member states, the General Assembly's diverse membership means varying perspectives and interests must be considered. This diversity can complicate reaching a consensus and slow down the decision-making process.
Complex Global Issues: Many global issues discussed in the General Assembly are intricate and multifaceted, requiring time for thorough deliberation. The assembly deals with topics ranging from peace and security to development and human rights, all of which necessitate careful consideration.
Political Divisions: Political differences and alliances among member states can lead to prolonged debates and gridlock. Some member states may use procedural tactics to delay or obstruct decisions they oppose.
Bureaucratic Procedures: The General Assembly follows procedural rules that can be time-consuming. These rules include formal debates, committee discussions, and voting processes.
External Influences: External factors, such as lobbying, diplomatic negotiations, and regional dynamics, can affect the speed of decision-making within the General Assembly.


Concerns have been raised about the allocation of resources, with claims that funds are sometimes mismanaged or allocated inefficiently. Resource misallocation in the context of international organizations, such as the United Nations General Assembly, refers to concerns that the allocation of funds and resources is sometimes inefficient or mismanaged. This issue has several dimensions:
Financial Transparency: Critics argue that there is a lack of transparency in how funds are allocated and spent within international organizations. Without clear financial reporting, it can be challenging to assess whether resources are being used efficiently.
Bureaucracy: Large international organizations often have complex bureaucratic structures, which can lead to inefficiencies in resource allocation. Redundant administrative processes and decision-making layers can slow down the distribution of resources.
Priority Setting: Resource allocation involves making choices about which projects or initiatives to fund. Concerns arise when decisions are influenced by political considerations rather than objective assessments of where resources are most needed.
Effectiveness: Critics question the effectiveness of programs funded by international organizations. If allocated resources do not lead to tangible improvements in areas such as development, peacekeeping, or humanitarian aid, it raises concerns about misallocation.
Accountability: Ensuring that funds are used for their intended purposes is essential. When there are instances of corruption or diversion of funds, it reflects a misallocation of resources.
Relevance: Resource allocation should align with the changing needs of the global community. Outdated or rigid allocation practices may not address emerging challenges

Lack of Accountability

Critics argue that there is insufficient accountability for the actions of member states within the General Assembly. Critics argue that there is a notable lack of accountability for the actions of member states within the General Assembly of the United Nations. This issue encompasses several dimensions:
Decision-Making Transparency: The decision-making processes in the General Assembly are often complex and can lack transparency. Critics contend that this opacity makes it challenging to hold member states accountable for their positions and actions during debates and resolutions.
Enforcement Mechanisms: Unlike the UN Security Council, the General Assembly lacks robust enforcement mechanisms. Consequently, even when member states violate international norms or resolutions, there may be no effective means of holding them accountable.
Political Considerations: Political alliances and power dynamics among member states can sometimes overshadow accountability. States with significant influence may face fewer consequences for their actions, even when those actions contravene international law.
Resource Allocation: The allocation of resources and contributions to UN programs and initiatives can be inconsistent and lack transparency. This can result in questions about whether member states are being held accountable for their financial commitments.

Reform Challenges

Calls for reforms to adapt to modern global challenges have met resistance, leading to questions about the institution's ability to evolve. Calls for reforms to adapt international institutions to modern global challenges often encounter resistance, prompting questions about these organizations' ability to evolve and remain effective. Several factors contribute to these reform
Historical Legacies: Many international institutions were established in the aftermath of World War II, reflecting the power dynamics of that era. Changing these structures to accommodate the current geopolitical landscape is challenging.
National Sovereignty: Member states are often hesitant to cede authority to international bodies, fearing a loss of sovereignty. This reluctance can hinder reforms that require greater supranational cooperation.
Veto Powers: In institutions like the UN Security Council, veto powers held by a few states can obstruct meaningful reforms, as changes may not align with their interests.
Complex Decision-Making: Achieving consensus among numerous member states with diverse interests can be slow and difficult. This complexity can stymie efforts to update institutional frameworks.

Enforcement Powers

The General Assembly lacks its own enforcement mechanisms, relying on the Security Council for major decisions. The General Assembly of the United Nations primarily serves as a deliberative body where member states discuss and make recommendations on various global issues. However, it indeed lacks its own enforcement mechanisms. Instead, it relies on the Security Council for major decisions related to international peace and
The Security Council, consisting of five permanent members with veto powers and ten rotating members, has the authority to take enforceable actions, such as sanctions, peacekeeping missions, and military interventions, when international peace and security are at stake. The General Assembly, on the other hand, doesn't possess the same level of authority.
The key reason behind this division of powers lies in the aftermath of World War II when the UN was established. The Security Council was designed to ensure that major powers, including the victorious Allies, could maintain stability and respond effectively to threats.

Imbalance between
diplomacy and

Critics occasionally question the relevance of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in addressing contemporary global challenges. This skepticism arises due to several factors:
Limited Decision-Making Power: The UNGA's decisions are often non-binding and subject to the consensus of member states. Critics argue that this can hinder its ability to take swift and effective action on pressing global issues.
Dominance of Other UN Bodies: Some believe that other UN bodies, such as the Security Council, have more substantial decision-making power and influence over critical matters like international peace and security. This can lead to questions about the UNGA's role and impact.
Bureaucracy and Inefficiency: The UNGA's size and complex bureaucracy can impede its ability to respond efficiently to emerging challenges. Critics argue that it may not be agile enough to address rapidly evolving global issues.
Geopolitical Divides: Geopolitical tensions and divisions among member states can result in political gridlock within the UNGA, making it challenging to reach consensus on significant issues.


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