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The UN attempts to follow universal ideals, but at this point it is not fully universal and still reflects some great power interests because of economic situations. This can be clearly seen in the environmental issues. The problem is that the UN does not have enough power internationally to fully contain the issue. The trouble is that the developing countries and the developed countries do not agree on main points, and this leads to a division.
When the UN was first established, “the UN Charter makes no mention of environmental protection (Roberts and Kingsbury, 327).” One of the shortcomings of the League, which the UN was founded on, was the lack of environmental interest. The turning point was in the 1972 Conference of Human Environment. This conference stated that all human beings had the right to live in a clean world. This was the beginning of environmental awareness in the UN.
After this the UN attempted to integrate environmental concern into the system. The UN was equipped with five economic commissions for different regional areas; Africa, Latin America, Western Asia, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe. Along with promoting economic development they also dealt with environmental issues. The European branch has been the most active. This shows the beginning of great power interests.
By 1972 many countries had begun to establish their own environmental organizations. The separate states decided that at this time they should try to unite under the UN to make policies international. One of the main problems was that the governments had different thoughts on environmental concerns verses developmental concerns. The developing countries were concerned that the economic costs would slow their developments, along with the restrictions placed on them that developed countries did not have to deal with when they were developing.
In the past, the greater powers were able to develop more freely as there were no restrictions placed on them. They had the freedom to pollute the world, as they did not know the harm they were causing the environment. Now, because of greater knowledge and damage around the world, restrictions need to be placed on all the countries in the world. The problem with environmental issues is that one country can damage something like the ozone layer, which ends up affecting the whole world and not just that one country.
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