Global problems are not just challenges that affect many people. Rather they are problems that affect the entire universe and potentially all living things on earth. Climate change is an example that quickly comes to mind when a global problem is mentioned. This is because the consequences of any activity that causes changes in the atmosphere will eventually affect the other regions on the planet in one way or another. In other words, the consequences are universal. Unless everyone profoundly agrees to cooperate and join hands in changing behavior towards environmental conservation, the climatic change may result in an irreversible problem. Besides, it is apparent that there is no easy solution to the problem, as has been witnessed in past efforts of the international community in handling these challenges. Moreover, these difficulties are linked to political constraints, lack of power and corporation, economic constraints, legitimacy issues, poverty, mixed reactions, and inappropriate technology, as this paper seeks to discuss.
Political constraint is a critical factor that makes it difficult for the international community to solve global issues. Many multinational institutions are powerless to influence the global economic and political framework. According to Ngoepe et al. (2019), most international communities depend on member states to perform their duties, including peacekeeping and peacemaking. As a result, their success is primarily dependent on the member nations’ willingness to collaborate and contribute resources to their goals (Brenton, 2019). For instance, Ngoepe et al. (2019) posit that since the United States and the Soviet Union were nonmembers of the League of Nations, the League was unable to intervene in violent conflicts in Manchuria, Ethiopia, and sections of Latin America. This indicates how hard it is for the international communities to solve global issues considering the political influence.
On the other hand, the United Nations’ tools for managing conflicts have primarily proved irrelevant considering the situation at hand (Karlsrud, 2018). For instance, in his final year in office, former U.S. President Donald Trump took a massive disruptive political approach to the organization, looking for avenues to embarrass China, which seemed to heighten the tension between the two countries. Moreover, the U.N. body has become more civil but not enormously influential in managing crises due to these dogmatic effects. The U.S. and its geopolitical rivals, China and Russia, have shown little interest in supporting the new UNSC initiative to stabilize peace in areas such as the Sahel, which caused a vexed reaction from France (Ngoepe et al., 2019). As a result, the U.N. finds it difficult to deploy the counter-terror group to enforce peace in these regions.
Lack of Power and Independence to Implement Policies
The emergence of the cold war showed that most intergovernmental organizations lacked the power to enforce their duties. During the Cold War, the UNSC was rendered powerless and ineffective due to the ideological difference between its member states (Shields, 2017). The NATO and the Warsaw Organization Treaty were victims of this problem. Thus, the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear arms race without constraints, despite the dangers that came with it (Weiss & Collins, 2018). This evokes questions about the dependence of international communities on member states to implement their initiatives. This supports the view that, at times, the U.N. and other international communities are used as tools to pursue the interest of foreign policy goals, thereby creating excellent resistance among other members to change and adhere to these policies.
Economic constraints such as underfunding and understaffing pose a significant challenge to the international communities in handling global problems. The organizations depend primarily on the member’s contributions for their funding and staffing. The magnitude of these contributions is determined by the gross domestic product of each country. (Minear and Weiss, 2019) argues that, due to insufficient funding, inappropriate state intervention, and understaffing at the start of World War II, the United Nations and its agencies were unable to avoid the conflict. Further research shows that up to 2002, the U.N.s budget was only 10 billion U.S. dollars, which is a significantly smaller amount than most countries’ budgets. Additionally, the historical analogies reveal that some member countries default on their contributions to international communities, causing financial constraints among these bodies. A good example is the U.S., which at the end of September 1999, owed the UN 1.63 billion dollars (Brown, 2019). This limits the organization’s financial capacity to employ adequate staff required to facilitate the enforcement of its policies, consequently making it difficult to solve international problems.
Lack of Trust in the Legitimacy of the International Communities
The legitimacy of some international organizations has, at one point, been questioned. The organizations such as the E.U., WTO, U.N., and international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, at some point, have had their operations questioned. Ngoepe et al. (2019) argue that the magnification of chapter seven of the U.N. charter and the hypothetical outwit of the UNSC in the post-gulf war raised legitimacy questions about UNSC and its decisions. This can be traced to the airplane bombing at Lockerbie that left 259 passengers dead (Hill, Smith, and Vanhoonacker, 2017). Following the disaster, the United States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain petitioned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to have Libya, which was accused of organizing the bombing, release the suspects to them. The Libyan government defied this demand and instead went to the International court of justice (ICJ) to seek protection to interrogate the suspects on their own.
On the contrary, the U.K. and the U.S. proceeded to use chapter seven of the U.N. charter to force the Libyan government to comply with their demand. This resulted in the withdrawal of the case from the ICJ. This posed legitimacy questions about the actions of the international communities (Schmidheiny & Watts, 2017). Furthermore, this led to a different view of the international community’s role as those meant to solve the interest of their member states hence losing its trust and making it difficult for other organizations are corporate and combine efforts in solving world problems.
Poverty, Mixed Reactions, and Inappropriate Technology
Cop 26, for instance, unveiled that making changes from using fossil fuels to using renewable energy created a mixed reaction between the developing countries and the developed countries. In the conference meeting, Bhupender Yadav argued, “richer nations should not expect poorer countries to stop subsidizing fossil fuels such as gas. The lowest-income households rely on these to keep energy costs down.” (Masood, and Tollefson, 2021, para. 2). This shows that poverty and lack of appropriate technology form the basis for limiting the international communities like the U.N. to perform its mandate.
In conclusion, international communities face multifaceted difficulties in solving global issues, but political constraints, lack of power and corporation, economic constraints, legitimacy issues, and lack of corporations are among the most prominent ones. These challenges mainly manifest in the U.N., thereby acting as a reference guide to the key stakeholders of global governance. In order to overcome some of these challenges, the international community needs to be fully financially capacitated and uphold complete independence and integrity in their operations.
Brenton, T. (2019) The greening of Machiavelli: the evolution of international environmental politics. 1st edn. London. Routledge.
Brown, C. (2019) Understanding international relations. 5th edn. London. Macmillan International Higher Education.
Hill, C., Smith, M. and Vanhoonacker, S. eds. (2017) International relations and the European Union. New York. Oxford University Press.
Holliday, C.O., Schmidheiny, S. and Watts, P. (2017) Walking the talk: The business case for sustainable development. 1st edn. London. Routledge.
Karlsrud, J. (2018) The UN at war: Peace operations in a new era. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Masood, E. and Tollefson, J. (2021) ‘COP26 hasn’t solved the problem’: scientists react to UN climate deal. Nature News, 599(7885), pp.355-356.
Minear, L. and Weiss, T.G. (2019) Mercy under fire: War and the global humanitarian community. 1st edn. New York. Routledge.
Ngoepe, C.C. et al. (2019) ‘A critical analysis of the difficulties faced by international organizations within the context of the role of the United Nations,’ Africa’s Public Service Delivery and Performance Review, 7(1), pp.1-5.
Shields, C.M. (2017) Transformative leadership in education: Equitable and socially just change in an uncertain and complex world. 2nd edn. New York. Routledge.
Weiss, T.G. and Collins, C. (2018) Humanitarian challenges and intervention. 2nd edn. New York. Routledge.