• About Helmut Volger

    Helmut Volger has written and edited several books about the UN, including A Concise Encyclopedia of the United Nations, of which the second revised edition was published by Brill Academic Publishers in 2010. He is also a co-founder of the German UN Research Network (www.forschungskreis-vereinte-nationen.de).

    The UN Environment Program, Influential but Lacking Power

    by  • February 5, 2015 • WORLDVIEWS • 
    Email This Post Email This Post

    A sandstorm in Kabul.

    BERLIN — The history of the United Nations Environment Program is illustrative in two respects: it reflects the changing importance of environmental issues within the UN system and it demonstrates that dedicated people in a UN organization can master the difficult task of implementing an ambitious mandate without sufficient political status, funds and personnel...

    Read more →

    The World Trade Organization: Seeking a Fair Balance of Interests

    by  • April 16, 2014 • WORLDVIEWS • 
    Email This Post Email This Post

    WTO conference in Bali 2013

    Working most of the time, far away from the attention of the world public, an international organization was recently in the limelight: the World Trade Organization. After lengthy negotiations on liberalization measures in world trade, which started in 2001 and dragged on because of considerable differences of opinion between the developed and the developing...

    Read more →

    Far-Reaching Changes Remake the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

    by  • May 13, 2013 • Humanitarian Aid, UN Agencies, World Bank • 
    Email This Post Email This Post

    An olive oil plant in Tunisia

      BERLIN — The fight against hunger became a primary goal of the United Nations system early on. In 1943, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt convened an international conference that reached agreement on the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and two years later, on Oct. 16, 1945, only days before the...

    Read more →

    Regional Organizations Remain Vital to the UN

    by  • April 30, 2013 • BOOKS • 
    Email This Post Email This Post

    Alicia Barcena of ECLAC and Jan Eliasson of the UN

    Formed as a “club” of nation states, the United Nations took some time to find out that cooperation with regional organizations might be of some use in improving social and economic living conditions as well as maintaining international peace and security and safeguarding the enjoyment of human rights. It was not before the economic...

    Read more →

    Close Cooperation Is Useful Between the General Assembly and Security Council

    by  • September 20, 2012 • General Assembly, Security Council, WORLDVIEWS • 4 Comments
    Email This Post Email This Post

    Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser of Qatar, the outgoing General Assembly president.

    BERLIN — If you ask people on the street which United Nations organ has more influence, the Security Council or the General Assembly, they will most probably answer: “The Security Council,” since it has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and is the only UN organ that can issue legally binding...

    Read more →

    What the General Assembly Wants From the Secretary-General

    by  • August 13, 2012 • General Assembly, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments
    Email This Post Email This Post

    General Assembly president and Ban Ki-moon

    BERLIN — When the United Nations has been fortunate to have a secretary-general who has great charisma and skills in settling conflicts, the world tends to consider him a figure with his own political status and powers. People like this idea because in difficult times they want to have an authoritative mediator, a moral...

    Read more →