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The United Nations in Action—Working Against Threats in the World

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In Borders Are Illusory, David Brancaccio explores the interconnected nature of the threats we face and explains why cooperation, not fear, is the best way to secure our future.

Poverty is as much a breeding ground for dangerous weapons as failing governments. Civil wars can perpetuate genocide and the spread of disease. Smuggled weapons can cross borders as easily as a health pandemic. The threats to today's world are interconnected. One cannot be separated from the others. Each threat reinforces another and creates stronger bonds between them.

No one government can fight these threats alone. Only through cooperation, information sharing, and a real understanding of the problems can these threats be dealt with effectively. The United Nations has the ability to bring states, regional organizations, and nongovernmental organizations together.

Weapons and Conflict. Loose nuclear weapons in Russia and small arms trade in Colombia make our world less safe. Terrorism anywhere in the world can affect thousands of people instantly. Understanding the causes of these threats is the first step to changing today's reality.

Human Rights. The United Nations works every day to protect people from human rights abuses. Unfortunately, genocide continues and civil wars result in displacement camps and poverty. These threats can only be overcome if governments and independent organizations work together.

Development and the Developing World. Poverty, disease, and an unstable environment are rarely allowed the attention that weapons and military power draw. In too many states around the world, however, health and poverty affect the population more than war and conflict do.

As member states come to realize the interconnected nature of threats, it is also important that they understand the threats we face must be addressed as one comprehensive challenge. As this happens, the United Nations will become an increasingly valuable organization in the drive to eradicate these threats. Regional cooperation, international organization, and consistent understanding of the changing situation will all contribute to a more secure world. The United Nations has the potential to organize resources and unite member states like no other organization.

Have We Missed the Mark? Read more about how these threats are being addressed, and how terrorism specifically is being targeted. A recent issue of Courier, the Stanley Foundation quarterly, considers how the United States considers terrorism and how it can work with the United Nations and other regional organizations to combat the dangers faced around the world every day.

Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, has addressed the interconnected nature of threats and the challenges the United Nations and the world face. Listen to and read the transcript of Keith Porter's interview with the secretary-general.


Peace Keepers The Stanley Foundation, along with the UN Foundation, is sponsoring local showings of The Peacekeepers, a documentary on the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo. If you would like your organization to show the film, find out how by contacting us.

Courier 50 Cover The spring 2006 issue of Courier is now available. This issue features a look back over fifty issues of the magazine and a look ahead at the United Nations, a long-term view of US foreign policy, highlights of a recent poll of Iraqi civilians, a summation of the Iranian nuclear issue, and insight into the US international affairs budget. Read these articles in the new issue.