From Phnom Penh to New York City, Mr Young Chan Sophea brought the Cambodian flag to the headquarters of the United Nations. He served as our nation’s diplomat to the UN from 2005 to 2008. Aiming to use his experience in New York to educate Cambodians and bridge the gap between the UN and the common people, Mr Sophea authored “What are they doing at the United Nations?”.
The book opens more personal and more specific information about the role the UN plays in each member country and in maintaining peace and order around the globe.
Mr Sophea wrote about how each member of the UN helps promote independence, freedom and good governance. But he clarified that the concept of “independence” does not necessarily mean preventing the country from getting foreign help and influences.
Now considered the most powerful intergovernmental organisation, the UN is the successor the ineffective League of Nations. It was founded in 1945 by 51 member states in San Francisco. The UN officially began its functions and operation on October 24, 1945.
“What are they doing at the United Nations?” also presents the procedure of how a country can become a member of the UN. The book states that the voting system is handled by the permanent members of the organisation – the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom. Basically, the P5 (permanent members) have higher rights and obligations that the other member states.
The UN has six principal organs – International Court of Justice, General Assembly, Security Council, Trusteeship Council and Economic and Social Council – that have different functions and responsibilities as set by the UN Charter. Each of these organs work tirelessly to develop positive changes around the globe.
Mr Sophea gives out details of the specific tasks all these organs and their heads and members do around the clock, around the world, especially in countries that have been affected by wars, tragedies, economic depression and famine.
The book also discusses the contributions all member states pay to support the programmes of the UN. The amount of the contributions depend on the economic status of the countries.
But more than giving out information about the UN, Mr Sophea also shared in his book the status of Cambodia and how our kingdom has contributed to the successful programmes and resolutions raised by the intergovernmental organisation. Cambodia has also benefited in the UN’s mediation on the conflict between the kingdom and neighbouring country, Thailand.
This also illustrates the roles of the country’s diplomat to the UN, who serves as the voice of the nation he represents. The diplomat brings out the issues and concerns of his country to the UN headquarters and seeks help and assistance for feasible solutions.
Author: Young Chan Sophea