Why was the Security Council veto created

United Nations

The dream of a “world government” that unites all people remains trapped in the minds of the “world population” despite bitter setbacks. But reforms are inevitable for this.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks at the 63rd UN General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. (& copy AP)


Since it was founded in 1945, the United Nations has continued to develop and innovate. In the more than six and a half decades of its existence there were such epochal developments as the East-West conflict, decolonization and the North-South problem. The end of the bipolar order was followed by a rapid convergence of the world under the auspices of globalization with many opportunities, but also new and unfamiliar risks: The serious development deficits and lack of life prospects in large parts of Africa and Asia are the cause of numerous, mostly internal, conflicts and wars that lead to regional destabilization and can affect the world through flight and migration. The advancing economic growth in the established industrialized countries as well as in emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil is increasing the consumption of resources as well as the destruction of the environment and climate change. International terrorism and the threat to humanity posed by weapons of mass destruction in the hands of dictators and non-democratic regimes require new forms of international cooperation.

Adjustment efforts: In each of these phases of international development, the United Nations reacted to the new challenges by adapting its structures, organs and working methods - although for a long time these changes consisted primarily in the quantitative growth of the organization. This was not only able to quadruple its number of members from 51 to 192 (as of March 2011), but also developed through the creation of ever new organs, committees, facilities and programs into a comprehensive, but at the same time often fragmented and difficult to understand organizational structure, its control and coordination becomes more and more difficult.

After the end of the East-West conflict, the UN as a whole, but above all its Security Council, displayed a previously unknown ability to make decisions and act. Since then, the member states, the respective secretaries-general and formal and informal working groups have repeatedly called for substantial reforms in order to adapt the organization to the challenges of a globalized world society.

Obstacles due to particular interests: In order to address the question of how the various structural and operational deficits of the world organization can be overcome, a controversial debate has been going on since then, in which two main trends can be identified: above all those in the "Group of 77" and in the " Non-aligned movement (NAM) organized developing and emerging countries are pushing for better opportunities to participate in all essential decision-making processes of the organization, especially in the Security Council, but also in the institutions dominated by the industrialized countries, the IMF and the World Bank. On the other hand, the rich states of the north, first and foremost the USA, are calling for a significantly leaner, more transparent and more cost-effective organization in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The keywords "participation" and "effectiveness" stand for two factually mutually exclusive approaches - which significantly prevents the search for ways for a systematic and fundamental renewal of the United Nations.

Instead of looking for the organizational framework for a new balance between state sovereignty and collective control mechanisms, striving for a new relationship between power and law or redesigning global governance processes with a wide variety of state and non-state actors and networks, the reform debate is proceeding like that Reform practice in the UN primarily based on the particular interests of individual or groups of states. In contrast to 1945, when a much smaller community of states under the impression of two world wars (and even then only reluctantly) voted for the creation of an organization that would limit sovereignty, a constitutive moment for the reorientation of the United Nations has so far failed to materialize. The threats and challenges of the globalized world still appear to the governments and societies of the member states as too abstract and too diverse to trigger the pressure to act that is necessary for fundamental renewals. The reform of the United Nations turns out to be a lengthy and difficult, but at least an ongoing process that, in addition to setbacks and standstills, always leads to progress.