• 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).

    UN Depository Libraries Are Facing Severe Problems

    by  • November 17, 2016 • General Assembly, WORLDVIEWS • 

    BERLIN — Since 1946, the United Nations Depository Library Program — consisting now of more than 360 depository libraries in more than 130 countries — has provided scholars, journalists, politicians, diplomats and the broader public with access to what is called the “UN deposit.” That is, print copies of UN documents (official texts of...

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    How the UN Public Information Office Works

    by  • July 25, 2016 • WORLDVIEWS • 

    BERLIN — From the beginning, the member states of the United Nations understood the great significance of efficient communication: in resolution 13(I) of Feb. 13, 1946, the General Assembly established the Department of Public Information in the Secretariat and emphasized: “The United Nations cannot achieve the purposes for which it has been created unless...

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    UN Peacekeeping: A Portrait of More Than 50 Years

    by  • December 28, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    For many people in the world, the United Nations is often associated with peacekeeping, one of the most visible activities of the world body in its efforts to maintain international peace and security. Peacekeeping was created in the late 1940s and developed over decades into an ambitious instrument to contain severe political and military...

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    What Can Save Unesco? Advice From an Insider

    by  • December 15, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    Founded in 1946 with noble goals, namely “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has in fact achieved considerable progress, above all in assisting its member nations in providing quality basic education for children, youth...

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    New Development Goals: Can the UN Machinery Cope?

    by  • April 19, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    The United Nations is now discussing in a broad consultation process the sustainable development goals: a new universal set of ambitions for economic and social development, made up of targets and indicators that all countries are expected to use to frame their agendas and policies from 2015 to 2030, to be adopted by the...

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    The UN Environment Program, Influential but Lacking Power

    by  • February 5, 2015 • WORLDVIEWS • 

    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...

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    The World Trade Organization: Seeking a Fair Balance of Interests

    by  • April 16, 2014 • WORLDVIEWS • 

    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...

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    Far-Reaching Changes Remake the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

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

    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...

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    Regional Organizations Remain Vital to the UN

    by  • April 30, 2013 • BOOKS • 

    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...

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    Close Cooperation Is Useful Between the General Assembly and Security Council

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

    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...

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    What the General Assembly Wants From the Secretary-General

    by  • August 13, 2012 • General Assembly, WORLDVIEWS • 2 Comments

    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...

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    General Assembly President: A Hardly Noticed, Yet Crucial Job

    by  • May 29, 2012 • General Assembly, WORLDVIEWS • 3 Comments

    Jean Ping of Gabon

    BERLIN — This United Nations top official is unknown to the broad public, yet he or she provides an important function: the president of the General Assembly. Most presidents have carried out the job inconspicuously and routinely, but a few presidents, the present one included, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, have revealed stamina and...

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    German UN Association Turns 60

    by  • May 1, 2012 • WORLDVIEWS • 

    German ambassador to the UN

    BERLIN — Germany’s history as a member of the United Nations was complicated from the start. Its first step as a member began in 1973 with two German nations, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic (which was the Communist state). Their induction as separate countries under two different names happened only...

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    Ban’s Second Term: It’s Time to Involve UN Diplomats

    by  • March 26, 2012 • Secretary-General, WORLDVIEWS • 4 Comments

    un secretary general

    BERLIN — Like his predecessors, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started his second term, in January, by presenting a program to the General Assembly and to the public, adorned with a momentous title: The Five Year Action Agenda, “The Future We Want.” It outlines in ambitious rhetoric the key areas where Ban thinks...

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