The UN has had success with some major projects recently which you might not have heard of. One is the Billion Tree Campaign, in which the UN has worked with various governments to plant 7 billion trees around the globe to fight climate change. They’re also launched a campaign to promote the use of energy-efficient indoor lighting across the globe (and to phase out the use of harmful fuel-based lighting such as kerosene lamps). And of course, they’ve organized talks between major world leaders at the upcoming 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
It’s important to understand, though, that the UN is really just a venue. The collaboration between countries occasionally has a UN stamp, but really there are even more projects that have just been conducted with a couple member states, rather than the UN as a whole.
Basically, it allows countries to negotiate out policies and discuss issues within a neutral territory that allows all states (well, barring the Security Council controversy, but we’ll ignore that for a moment) equal sovereignty.
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