The United Nations: Historical Development


The foundation of the United Nations (UN) was a critical event in the history of humanity, and its relevance in the present-day world seems conditional upon its effects on all countries’ affairs. On a personal level, it means the possibility of making a change while acting within the established entity, the work of which has a clear focus. Therefore, in order to benefit from these opportunities, one needs to understand the nature of the UN through the lens of its historical development.

Context: Time and Space

The development of this organization started immediately after World War II to establish the course of action for all countries for their prosperity in the long run. It happened in 1945 in San Francisco, where the representatives of fifty nations met to prepare the charter of the UN and thereby promote the economic and social wellbeing of the participants (“The formation of the United Nations, 1945,” n.d.). In this way, it was meant to bring general improvements in all spheres of life while preventing military conflicts.

Main Actors Involved

In the process, the main actors involved in the activity of the UN were determined. Alongside the countries participating in the initial discussions of the organization, new governments joined, and currently, it includes 193 members (Bhiwgade, 2020). The entity particularly distinguishes women and young people as the main social groups for its initiatives (“About major groups and other stakeholders,” n.d.). In terms of ethnicity, indigenous populations of the world are also prioritized due to their poverty and the challenges stemming from it (“About major groups and other stakeholders,” n.d.). The work is facilitated by the inclusion of activists and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), varying depending on the theme and supported by local authorities (“About major groups and other stakeholders,” n.d.). Meanwhile, the main threats are posed by terrorists and businesses unwilling to comply with regulations.

Causes and Consequences

The causes and consequences of the foundation of the UN can be seen in various aspects of its activity. Thus, prior to its creation, governments dealt with challenges, such as extremism or terrorism, on their own, whereas this organization allowed to combine efforts (Kutesa, 2019). The social aspect was addressed by introducing equitable benefits to all populations (The United Nations, 2019). The UN triggered the emergence of the global “culture of human rights,” thereby replacing the previously existing practices and promoting inequality (The United Nations, 2019, p. 12). In terms of economy, the causes were the lack of universal patterns of development, increasing the gap between populations and complications in global trade (Bhiwgade, 2020). The UN brought the awareness about these obstacles and guaranteed technical aid to poor countries (Bhiwgade, 2020). Politically, the change was a shift from state-based measures to more effective international laws, and the environmental change was cooperation for combatting major threats as opposed to neglecting this area in the past (“70 ways the UN makes a difference,” n.d.). In this way, all the essential spheres of human life were modified by the UN.

Change and Continuity

For societies, both the previous practices and innovative approaches emphasized unequal access to benefits. Meanwhile, the latter brought the understanding of the global nature of this issue instead of viewing it as country-specific (The United Nations, 2019). Culturally, there are no similarities in human rights as they were not discussed on the governmental level, and the introduction of democracy is the main distinguishing factor (“70 ways the UN makes a difference,” n.d.). Economic similarities are limited to the significance of peace for prosperity, whereas the means for achieving it globally did not exist before the UN (“70 ways the UN makes a difference,” n.d.). In politics, “corruption, money-laundering, drug trafficking and smuggling of migrants” were also recognized before and after the UN, but the organization facilitated these challenges’ resolution (“70 ways the UN makes a difference,” n.d.). Environmentally, the previous methods did not even guarantee access to fresh water, and the difference is in the accountability for the outcomes of human activity (“70 ways the UN makes a difference,” n.d.). Thus, it can be stated that intentions were similar, but the instruments of addressing problems differed.

Ideological Foundations

The ideological foundations behind the actions performed by the main actors also play a critical role in bringing the awareness about the importance of the UN for the contemporary world. For the governments, they were directly linked to the considerations of security after the World War II since they could not guarantee it to individuals and entities in the conditions of high unpredictability (Bhiwgade, 2019). For NGOs, the principle guiding their willingness to participate was the desire to promote their agendas related to the development of corresponding fields (Bhiwgade, 2019). As for the citizens and vulnerable population groups, their support was conditional upon the notion of human rights neglected by the governments (Bhiwgade, 2019). Thus, the fact that all needs could be addressed by the UN was determining in this regard.


Considering the data, provided above, it can be stated that there are two main arguments for the relevance of the UN to the contemporary world. First, the provision that the perspectives of all participants, both individuals and entities, are taken into account, allows to suggest that the organization’s operations are flexible enough to readjust to changing conditions. It means that the emergence of new threats on any level can be timely detected and prevented, whereas opportunities can be acted upon for the benefit of all stakeholders. Second, the multi-faceted nature of interventions indicates their applicability to any sphere of human life. Therefore, the range of issues covered by the activists within the UN is sufficient for improving the environment in general.


In conclusion, the findings show that the UN is critical for the wellbeing of people and prosperity of countries. Its foundation provided a legal basis for international cooperation and introduced the methods for improving societies, which did not exist prior to 1945. The resulting radical change also determined the relevance of the organization’s solutions on the personal level since one’s participation in its particular programs is beneficial for the whole world in the end.


70 ways the UN makes a difference. (n.d.). Web.

About major groups and other stakeholders. (n.d.). Web.

Bhiwgade, S. A. (2020). Relevance & importance of the United Nations in the contemporary world order. Web.

Kutesa, S. K. (2019). A reflection on the role of the United Nations in ensuring a secure, prosperous and equitable world. Web.

The formation of the United Nations, 1945. (n.d.). Web.

The United Nations. (2019). Report of the secretary-general on the work of the organization. Web.

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