UN Economic Co-Operation among South East and Asian Pacific Nations a Dialogue among Civilisations

By Cheong, Agnes Chang Shook | International Journal of Humanities and Peace, Annual 2002 | Go to article overview

UN Economic Co-Operation among South East and Asian Pacific Nations a Dialogue among Civilisations


Cheong, Agnes Chang Shook, International Journal of Humanities and Peace


Since the end of the Second World War, countries around the world began to realise the need for cooperation among the nations.

But what do we mean by a "dialogue" in a more international context? According to the Random Home Dictionary, a "dialogue" is defined as "exchange of ideas, especially on a political issue". "Civilisation" is defined as "an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture and science has been reached" in the same Random Home Dictionary. Which nations in the world can claim to be "civilisations" by the definition given? Countries can be loosely grouped by their economic state of development into "developed", "near developed", "developing" and "under developed" nations. Does this mean that only the "developed" and "near developed" countries can be classified as civilisations? Does history count? The ancient civilisations like India and China are no longer what they used to be. Some countries may not be scientifically advanced but are extremely rich in culture.

In this paper, all countries, irrespective of their GNP and national level of literacy will be treated as civilisations.

THE UNITED NATIONS (UN)

Cooperation between neighbouring countries is common and has existed among nations, but it takes a painful World War to make them realise that it takes commitment, understanding and cooperation among nations/civilisations to prevent a repeat of such mindless destruction as a result of greed and racial prejudice. To achieve such a universal undertaking to unite all nations in the world, a strong organisation with well-defined roles is needed. The United Nations was found to achieve the goal of World peace and cooperation of all nation members.

The term "United Nations" coined by United States President Franklin Roosevelt, was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" on 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

The United States was the first country to establish international organisations to cooperate on specific matters. The forerunner of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organisation conceived in similar circumstances during the first World War, and established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles to "promote international cooperation and to achieve pence and security". In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organisations to draw up the United Nations Charter. The Charter was signed on 26 June by representatives of the 50 countries. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, and United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.

The United Nations is focused on global efforts to solve problems which challenge humanity. It is committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security.

Nearly every nation belongs to the UN. UN membership now totals 189 countries.

According to the UN Charter, the UN has four purposes: To maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, and to be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations.

Though global security is a key focus of UN, it has more than 30 official organisations to help in its work to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight diseases, foster development, reduce poverty, campaign against drug trafficking and terrorism, help to stabilise financial markets and ensure air and sea transport. The UN General Assembly attempts to reach decisions through consensus, rather than taking a formal vote. It cannot force action by any state, but if recommendations are perceived by members as an indication of world universal opinion and represent the moral authority of the community of nations.

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