When the United Nation's founding members drew up the UN Charter nearly sixty years ago, they did so in a world where international affairs were the preserve of nation states, where war between them was the principal threat. That world is being transformed. Today, the international stage is both more crowded and more complex. There are nearly four times as many UN members. The state is now only one of many actors. And national sovereignty must now take account of a range of international laws and supranational organisations.
Today, our borders are more than ever open to trade, to information, to people. But they are also less than ever barriers to drugs, disease, environmental degradation. Conflicts are now more common within those borders than between them.
In today's world, our opportunities, and our challenges, are increasingly global. They demand global solutions.
That makes the role of the UN more important than ever. The UK, as a Permanent Member of the Security Council, is committed to ensuring that the UN can fulfil that role. We are a leading contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. We have led efforts to develop the UN's conflict prevention capability. We pay over £600 million per annum to the various bodies of the United Nations.
But if new challenges make the UN more important, it is essential that the UN evolves to meet them. The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is leading efforts to make that happen and 2005 will be a crucial year. The General Assembly will hold a Summit from 14-16 September to review progress on the Millennium Summit of 2000 and other major international conferences. A major part of this event will be assessing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and other international commitments. The Summit will also consider the report of the High Level Panel, which proposes significant changes to the way that the UN tackles threats to international peace and security. As both G8 and EU Presidency at the time of the meeting, the UK will make a significant contribution to this process.
You can e-mail us at HighLevelPanel@fco.gov.uk with your views on how the United Nations should adapt to meet the challenges of the modern world.
2005 is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The UN is preparing for commemorations to mark this major occasion, beginning with the Millennium Review Summit in September and followed by events around the world. The UK had a major role in the founding of the UN, with the first meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly being held in London. Read more on High Level Panel.
Youth delegates to attend 60th UN General Assembly
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