Thinking Outside The United Nations Box: Barriers To Creativity Within The UN System

The United Nations (UN) has long been criticized for being an inflexible and expensive bureaucracy (e.g. Seager, 2006). A number of recent alleged failures in the health and climate sectors have been highlighted (Vibert, 2012, p. 391). Past solutions to challenges facing the international community have thus not always worked and new solutions are needed. In addition, the UN needs to adapt the ways in which it addresses problems to the increasingly multipolar geopolitical scenario and growing influence of nonstate actors. Take the Conference on Disarmament which has not seen substantive progress for many years. Today, it is not enough if two major powers such as the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War agree on disarmament measures. Instead, major emerging global powers like China as well as emerging regional powers need to find a balanced agreement. Simply looking at the disarmament treaties of the recent past is therefore unlikely to yield the solutions needed today.