Since 1945, the UN has become — and remains — an important centre of multilateral politics. However, as was discussed at the very beginning of this book, there is no such thing as ‘the’ UN. Instead, the UN system comprises a complex range of activities aimed at different goals, each equipped with various tools, and demonstrating different levels of effectiveness. In a best-case scenario, the ‘three United Nations’ (Russett et al. 2000, p. 282) develop mutually supporting and strengthening synergy effects. For example, human security concerns the survival and well-being of people living in states — not just the survival of the state itself. The emergence of human security as a core concern of the UN, however, does not mean that traditional state security has become less important. In fact, the two are seen as mutually conditioned. Such inter-connectedness of issues within the framework of a universal organization presents tremendous opportunities, but also presents significant limitations. The UN was tailored to an inter-national world, but we now live in a global world — and the organization’s ability to react and remain effective in this changing environment is the fundamental institutional challenge of this century.
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