No. 15




The UN – a truly worldwide forum

  • Tiina Intelmann

    Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the UN in New York

When diplomats are exhausted by the endless negotiations in the UN and reach their wit’s end, it is a good time to remind ourselves that a roomful of exhausted diplomats is still far better than tens of thousands of soldiers on the front lines.

For a small state, the most important keyword is undoubtedly “international law”. In its 60 years of activity, dozens of conventions (plus numerous “protocols additional”) have been negotiated at the UN. These documents are in fact the only worldwide set of rules governing the behaviour of states in different walks of life. Even though compliance with these conventions is often a rocky affair, just imagine what would happen if there were no worldwide agreements or international oversight at all. The UN has had a major role in resolving regional and, recently, internal conflicts. In the future, when all of the regions in the world start coming to terms with their problems in a more peaceful fashion, only the truly global problems will remain in the UN’s province – climate change, sustainable development and mutual assistance for increasingly frequent natural disasters. For instance, emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere must be slowed through a number of measures, and this will require cooperation between all of the countries in the world.

Full article in Estonian