International Organisation in a Unipolar World: NBSE Class 12 Political Science

International Organisation in a Unipolar World
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 14 “International Organisation in a Unipolar World”. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.


The United Nations (UN) is a multipolar world order, a system where all states collectively strive for global peace and security. This chapter delves into the origin, evolution, structure, and relevance of the UN, as well as the need for its reform.

The UN was officially established on October 24, 1945, with 51 original members. By October 2011, the membership had grown to 193. The UN’s objectives are manifold, including maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, and promoting respect for international law and human rights. The structure of the UN comprises the General Assembly, the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice, and Secretariat. The Security Council, often referred to as the ‘Executive Wing’ of the UN, is responsible for maintaining peace and security. It consists of fifteen members, five permanent and ten non-permanent.

The UN’s relevance is evident in its role as a forum for world leaders to exchange ideas, its achievements in decolonization, its advocacy for human rights, and its peacekeeping forces’ role. The UN also contributes significantly to economic and social advancement. However, the UN’s structure and processes need reform. The Security Council’s composition reflects the political realities of 1945, and there is a need for expansion and more representation to reflect today’s world. The veto power of the five permanent members is also a contentious issue, as it allows these countries to dominate decision-making processes.

In conclusion, the UN is a crucial global institution that has played a significant role in maintaining peace and promoting development. However, to remain relevant and effective in the 21st century, it must undergo necessary reforms.

Textual questions and answers

A. Long answer questions

1. Discuss the evolution and objectives of the United Nations.

Answer: The United Nations Organisation (UNO) officially came into existence on 24 October, 1945. However, attempts to establish an effective international organisation had begun a few years before the end of World War II. The name United Nations was devised by American President Franklin. It was on 1 January 1942 that the representatives of 26 nations signed the ‘United Nations Declaration’ at Washington. The representatives of Britain, America, Russia and China met from 21 August to 24 September, 1944 at an estate known as Dumbarton Oaks, near Washington. At this Conference, the draft of the UN Charter was formulated. Deliberations began at San Francisco in April 1945 to finalize the UN Charter. The UN Charter was signed by the fifty participating nations on 26 June, the last day of the Conference. Poland was allowed to sign on 15th October, 1945 thus raising the number of original members to fifty-one. The Charter came into force on 24th October, 1945. That is why October 24 is celebrated as the UN Day throughout the world. The United Nations started functioning with 51 nations as the original members. By the end of October 2011, the total membership had increased to 193.

The objectives and purposes of the United Nations are laid down in the Preamble and Article 1 of the Charter. They include saving succeeding generations from the “scourge of War”, maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international cooperation in solving problems of economic, social and cultural character, and establishing conditions under which justice and respect for “international law” and “international treaties” can be maintained.

2. Describe the structure of the United Nations with reference to (a) the General Assembly and (b) the Security Council.

Answer: The structure of the United Nations includes the General Assembly and the Security Council among its six principal organs.

(a) The General Assembly: All the members of the United Nations are members of the General Assembly. The Assembly may discuss any question relating to peace and security, it elects the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of the Economic and Social Council. It also appoints the Secretary-General upon the recommendations of the Security Council. The members of the International Court of Justice are elected by the General Assembly and by the Security Council. Each member-state has one vote. Decisions on important questions, such as election of the non-permanent members of the Security Council, require a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting. Decisions on other questions are made by a simple majority of the members present and voting.

(b) The Security Council: The Security Council is often described as the ‘Enforcement or Executive Wing’ of the United Nations. The Council consists of fifteen members, five being permanent members representing the ‘Big Five’—China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States of America. The ten non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly by a two-third majority for a two-year term. The powers and functions of the Security Council include the basic responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security. The Security Council will ask the parties to a dispute to seek a solution by negotiation, mediation, arbitration or other peaceful means, such as a judicial settlement. When none of the peaceful means succeeds, the Council may even resort to military action. Security Council’s decisions are binding on all UN members. A Negative Vote by a Permanent Member is called Veto. This means that the Council is powerless to act in the face of a Veto by any of the Permanent Members.

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5. How democratic and accountable are the new international economic organisations of Global Governance? Answer the question with reference to the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Answer: The economic organisations of global governance are not based on equity and justice. The world continues to be divided between rich and poor.

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF): The IMF supervises the ‘world financial system’ and promotes ‘monetary cooperation’ throughout the world. It advances loans to member-nations to meet their balance-of-payments’ difficulties and advises Members on how to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments. However, most of the developing countries which accepted funds from the IMF “were forced to give up much of their economic sovereignty.” The IMF is interested in stimulating economic development. But it is the Group of Eight or G-8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, USA and Russia) and the two other economic powers (Saudi Arabia and China) who manage the world economy, because these rich nations make a maximum contribution to the IMF funds.
  • World Bank: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) was established in 1945 and started functioning from July, 1946. The members of the IMF are also members of the World Bank. The Bank has 21 Executive Directors, appointed by the five members holding the largest number of shares of the Bank’s capital stock. Most bank loans have been made for projects, such as gas and oil development, power generation and transport, raising agricultural productivity, and assistance to countries facing environmental degradation. However, the IMF and the World Bank both have been viewed as “tools of great powers”. The United States, in the past, denied aid to countries whose governments or rulers it disapproved of. These institutions are not sufficiently responsive to developing countries’ needs.
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in 1995. Its essential functions are: making rules for international trade, and implementing the multilateral trade agreements. The critics point out that the working process is not transparent. The big powers forced countries to take decisions without sufficient negotiations. Small nations see the Organisation as a threat to their national sovereignty.
B. Short answer questions

6. Mention the major Specialised Agencies of the United Nations.

Answer: The United Nations is engaged in work that touches every aspect of people’s life. There are many Specialized Agencies, Programmes and Funds devoted to achieving economic, social, cultural and scientific progress of all UN Members. The major Specialised Agencies include:

  • International Labour Organisation (ILO): It promotes social security of workers in industry, commerce and agriculture.
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO): It sponsors the World Food Programme and strives to increase agricultural output.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO): It helps fight diseases everywhere in the world.
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO): It promotes collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication.
  • United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF): It provides funds for improving the quality of life of children and women in developing countries.
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF): It seeks to promote international monetary cooperation and facilitates the expansion of trade among nations.
  • Other Specialised Agencies include: International Maritime Organisation (IMO), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

7. Discuss the structure and Jurisdiction of International Court of Justice.

Answer: The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court is permanently in session at the Hague in the Netherlands. The Court consists of 15 judges. The jurisdiction of the Court extends to disputes pertaining to the interpretation of international law. The disputes arising under the various Treaties would be submitted to the Court.

8. Who is the Cheif Administrative Officer of the United Nations? What are his main responsibilities?

Answer: The Secretary-General is the highest functionary or the Chief Administrative Officer of the United Nations. As of 1 January 2017, Antonio Guterres is the 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations. He is required to submit an annual report to the General Assembly on the work of the United Nations. He may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which may threaten the maintenance of peace and security.

9. What should be done to make the United Nations more effective and more relevant?

Answer: To make the United Nations more effective and relevant, the following steps should be taken:

  • Establishment of a Human Rights Council
  • Creation of a Democracy Fund
  • Shutting down the Trusteeship Council
  • Creation of a Peacebuilding Commission
  • Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, such as eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
  • Suppression of Terrorist Acts
  • Action to protect citizens against atrocities
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12. What is Human Rights Watch?

Answer: Human Rights Watch was founded in 1978. It brings to our attention “human rights abuses” in the world. Its initial emphasis was on political and civil rights. Later it expanded. It began issuing reports on ethnic violence, use of child soldiers, racism and dangers of placing landmines which exploded when persons or vehicles touched them.

C. Very short answer questions

13. Mention any two objectives of the United Nations.

Answer: Two objectives of the United Nations are:

  • To save succeeding generations from the ‘scourge of War.
  • To maintain international peace and security and to take effective measures for removal of threats to the peace.

14. Which organ is described as the ‘Enforcement’ or ‘Executive Wing’ of the United Nations?

Answer: The Security Council is described as the ‘Enforcement’ or ‘Executive Wing’ of the United Nations.

D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer

15. The United Nations was founded in the Year:

Answer: (d) 1945

16. Which day is celebrated as the UN Day throughout the world?

Answer: (d) October 24

17. The UN Security Council consists of how many Permanent Members?

Answer: (d) 5

18. Who is the present Secretary-General of the United Nations?

Answer: (c) Antonio Guterres

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