The world's most powerful club
Empire asks if the UN has lost its relevance by looking at the past and present.
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2009 08:33 GMT

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Facts & Figures

An In Pictures guide to the UN

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The United Nations Security Council is under attack.

In a world threatened by wars, nuclear proliferation and catastrophic climate change, the five veto-wielding permanent members are being challenged by emerging powers demanding a seat at the top table.

Over the years, the UN has grown and changed in scope considerably.

From its original remit of preventing the world superpowers from unleashing nuclear war on each other, it has developed new doctrines aimed at protection and humanitarian intervention.

This month's guests include

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Former UN Secretary-General

Hardeep Singh Puri
Indian Ambassador to the UN

Louise Arbour
President, International Crisis Group

James Traub
Author, Kofi Annan and the UN

Steven Clemons
Director, New America Foundation

The Empire team ask leading international figures why the most powerful body on the planet seems increasingly weak when confronting crises.

We look at what is being done to reform an organisation that many observers deem outdated and others almost obsolete.

A series of short films chart the history of the Security Council, beginning with its emergence from the ashes of the Second World War to its present state.

From the heart of the UN in New York during the general assembly, Marwan Bishara looks at whether the Security Council can live up to its utopian ideals with a new US administration willing to play ball, or whether it is being superseded by other global institutions.

Empire can be seen from Wednesday, September 30, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 0600, 1400; Friday: 0300.

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