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News and Current Affairs
United Nations or Not: from 9 September 2003
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United nationd or not?

The failure of the UN Security Council to prevent or authorise the war in Iraq brought into question the role and relevance of the United Nations as never before. What is the point of the UN?

UN troopsIn United Nations - or Not?, a four part series beginning on Radio 4 on 9 September and on the World Service on 13 September, Edward Stourton looks at the role and future of the UN after one of the most turbulent times in its history. He examines its history, its role in preventing wars and presiding over international justice and in the fight against famine, disease, poverty and threats to the environment.

United Nations or Not
  • A Difficult and Defining Moment

  • The Lessons of History

  • The Final Judgement

  • Problems without Passports

  • The series takes a close look at the United Nation's past, its present and its future. With privileged access, it gives a glimpse of what was going on behind the scenes at the UN over the past year.

    It reveals the reaction at headquarters in New York when the British and Americans gave up on the Security Council and began their march on Baghdad.

    And it provides an insight into what officials at the UN really thought when the coalition took over the running of Iraq and they were forced to watch from the sidelines.

    The series goes on to examine the UN's role as judge and jury in cases of crimes against humanity, from the mass graves in Bosnia to the International Court in The Hague.

    UN Building, New YorkAnd it ends in Africa with an assessment of the UN's role in the fight against 'problems without passports' - famine, disease, poverty and threats to the environment.

    Commentary is provided by major names in global politics and on the international scene: Secretary General Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretarys of State Madeleine Albright and James Baker, human rights campaigner Mary Robinson, rock musician Bono and international financier George Soros.

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  • Home

  • A Difficult and Defining Moment

  • The Lessons of History

  • The Final Judgement

  • Problems without Passports

  • About the UN
    Follow the history and work of the UN with our UN timeline
    Take an audio tour of the UN building with Connie Pedersen.
    Read a biography of presenter Edward Stourton.
    Edward Stourton on the the role and future of the UN
    Kofi Anan presses for UN reform
    George Soros calls for 'regime change' in US

    Useful Links
    The United Nations
    Further Stories
    US pushes for UN backing on Iraq
    Peacekeepers secure Liberian town
    UN puts off Libya vote
    Iraq missile attack on US plane

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