The No-nonsense Guide to the United Nations

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The No-Nonsense Guide to the United Nations conveys the complexity of the UN, assesses its record, and considers options for reform. In the first book to distil the entire history of the United Nations into one accessible volume, Maggie Black explains how this complex organization works and explores its successes, failings and current limitations. It includes the UN creation and early history; how it is structured and whether it is well constituted in its functions; relief, development and law. She also considers possibilities for reform to make it more democratic, effective and fit for purpose. Throughout the book, there is a particular focus on the core questions: how much can it do if its members are unwilling to provide the necessary resources, mechanisms, and mandate? It spends considerable resources on conducting global studies, conferences and reports but what actually does this international outpouring of words achieve? Is the UN just a vast talking shop?