United Nations

UN work is essential

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 April, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 April, 1995, 12:00am

THE global rat race gives disproportionate attention to economic factors, while neglecting problems such as the environment, poverty and equality. At best these issues are given hypocritical support - but even then are usually sidelined.

The only entity with a planetary overview - and full international participation of the highest level - is the United Nations. Loved when it makes favourable decisions, cursed when it goes against the will of the 'powers', it has the unenviable task of improving world conditions, particularly those of developing nations.

The UN is the only organisation capable of restoring some sanity to a world dominated by the mindless, selfish greed of Western capitalism, now the goal of all peoples. But the problems facing the UN exceed its resources.

Each nation is asked to contribute a fraction of its wealth to support UN programmes, yet many hold back. Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Gareth Evans has bravely suggested in the light of recent peace-keeping failures, that five per cent of the nation's military budget be diverted to UN programmes.

But given the size of the problems facing the UN, such an offer is little more than a gesture. Since Australia has no natural enemies, why not set a precedent and modify the entire military establishment to complement UN peace-keeping exercises.

All civilised nations should follow this example and offer their unstinting support for UN programmes, which would be a visionary step towards world peace.

ROBERT CORNELL Queensland, Australia