The UN - Tower of Babble?
Empire asks if the United Nations is outdated and whether it can stand up to the challenges of the 21st century.
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2010 14:05 GMT

  Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, former special adviser to the UN secretary-general
  Prof Philip Bobbitt, Columbia Law School
  Ambassador Thomas Stelzer, assistant secretary-general, UN

The United Nations has opened its 65th General Assembly in the shadow of mounting questions about its credibility, efficiency, accountability and leadership.  
Many would like to see the UN reformed, and a growing minority would like to see it bypassed by effective international organisations like the G8, G20, Nato or similar regional organisations.
And yet, as the only legitimate global body, the UN is uniquely positioned to initiate and manage international humanitarian efforts, peace-keeping missions and global campaigns such as the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate poverty and disease, amongst others.

  Thomas G Weiss, author What's Wrong With The UN?
  David L Bosco, author Five To Rule Them All
  Professor Jennifer Welsh, International Relations, Oxford University
  James Traub, author Kofi Annan and the UN
  Ian Williams, author The UN for Beginners

But like its last conference on Climate Change, and the countless debates on nuclear proliferation, the arms race, international terrorism and other contentious issues, these meetings tend to culminate with no consensus, and when they do, produce modest results. 
Last year, much of the focus was on the need to reform the UN Security Council; this year, much of the criticism was directed at the lack of leadership and the absence of a new vision for the organisation. 
Empire asks, with all the challenges of the 21st century, is the UN outdated? And if it is merely the sum of its parts, is there a will amongst its member states to make way for serious reform and better global governance?

This episode of Empire can be seen from Wednesday, September 29, at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 1900; Thursday: 1400; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 1900.

Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
join our mailing list