United Nations

The United Nations plays a significant role in the development and maintenance of international security, humanitarian laws, and social progress. RAND has examined the efficacy and effectiveness of the United Nations in such areas as nation-building, peacekeeping, and stability operations.

  • International flags

    Commentary

    Will the New President Risk the Stability of the World?

    America's next leader will confront one of the most profound tasks of any post-war U.S. president: reimagining a threatened international order. Mishandled, the challenge could throw world politics into a tailspin. Done right, it could help keep the peace for another half-century.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • Women cleaning a compound housing Syrian refugees in Sidon, Lebanon, February 3, 2016

    Commentary

    A Different Kind of Refugee Crisis

    In Jordan and Lebanon, middle-income countries with robust public sectors where a significant Syrian population may be present for years to come, solutions should be more about supporting the expansion of existing national public services, rather than creating new, internationally run parallel services.

    May 16, 2016

  • Syrian refugees wait to receive treatment at a health center in Mafraq, Jordan, January 30, 2016

    Report

    Rethinking Coordination of Services to Refugees in Urban Areas

    The vast majority of Syrian refugees live in urban areas, not camps. What can be done to improve the coordination of international and national entities managing the refugee response in urban areas in Jordan and Lebanon?

    Apr 27, 2016

  • Syrian refugees stand in line as they wait for aid packages at Al Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, January 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Tracking Refugees with Biometrics: More Questions Than Answers

    Using biometrics in refugee crises is compelling because it gives individuals who have nothing proof of identity even without a government-issued credential like an ID card or passport. But who has rights to the U.N. biometrics database and what is its future?

    Mar 9, 2016

  • German police found traces of radiation in Hamburg locations linked to a Russian businessman who had met the murdered ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko on the day he fell ill

    Commentary

    Russia on the Horns of a Nuclear Dilemma

    While the murder of Alexander Litvinenko is a human tragedy, broader concerns about the lowering of WMD norms and violations of international law should be addressed. The use of radioactive matter to kill him represents a serious breach of international agreements.

    Feb 19, 2016

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Lessening the Risk of Refugee Radicalization

    In this February 2016 congressional briefing, senior political scientist Barbara H. Sude discusses historical examples of radicalization among refugee groups, factors that can increase the risk of radicalization, measures to reduce the risk, and considerations for policymakers and legislators.

    Feb 16, 2016

  • A Kurdish refugee woman from Syria walks with her children at a refugee camp in Suruc, Turkey, November 17, 2014

    Report

    Lessening the Risk of Refugee Radicalization: Lessons from the Past

    Radicalization among refugee populations, such as the millions currently fleeing Syria, is not inevitable. Rather, comprehensive policies that go beyond immediate life-saving needs can mitigate the risk. But such policies were rare in past crises and even today can be difficult to put in place and sustain.

    Dec 28, 2015

  • Coleman Moshi, during a hike up to the first base camp of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    Commentary

    Africa Succeeds in Meeting Many Long-Term U.N. Development Goals

    Africa's great strides toward meeting the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are a compelling reminder of the continent's potential to create a more prosperous and sustainable environment for its people.

    Dec 7, 2015

  • A man holds a cross that reads "death to the president" as he marches with other protesters who are against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term, June 3, 2015

    Commentary

    Flirting with Genocide in Burundi: Paying Attention Could Save Lives

    Burundi has been afflicted by political violence since April. President Pierre Nkurunziza, who helped bring peace to the country in the last decade, is risking everything for the sake of staying in power. He is dragging the country backwards after 10 years of progress.

    Nov 18, 2015

  • Journal Article

    From Firearms to Weapon Systems: Challenges and Implications of Modular Design for Marking, Record-Keeping, and Tracing

    This paper provides an overview of the key elements related to the development of modular designs for small arms and highlights the challenges that such designs pose to the effective implementation of the ITI and the Firearms Protocol.

    May 1, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Techno-polymers in Firearms Manufacturing: Challenges and Implications for Marking, Record-Keeping, and Tracing

    This paper provides an overview of the key elements related to the use of industrial polymers in arms manufacturing, highlighting the challenges that such materials pose to the effective implementation of the ITI and the Firearms Protocol.

    May 1, 2015

  • Libyan Police prepare during the start of a security plan to increase security in Tripoli, February 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Somalia on the Mediterranean

    Libya is as vulnerable to further inroads by ISIS now as Syria was a year ago. What can the United States and its allies do to stop the hemorrhaging? Many options have been debated, but none look very promising.

    Feb 19, 2015

  • Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds up his ink-stained finger as he casts his vote at a polling station in Kabul June 14, 2014

    Commentary

    Victory, Afghan Style

    A good outcome in Afghanistan seems less likely now than a few weeks ago, but there is still cause for guarded optimism: before this electoral season, few would have guessed that the final showdown would be between a pair of level-headed pro-Western moderates rather than two foul, bloodstained warlords.

    Jun 23, 2014

  • Libyans protesting against the General National Congress in Benghazi February 28, 2014

    Report

    Libya After Qaddafi: Lessons and Implications for the Future

    This report assesses the challenges facing Libya since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime and evaluates the impact of the limited international role in efforts to overcome them. It also sketches possible future roles for the international community.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the United Nations Headquarters after the P5+1 member nations concluded a nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.

    Commentary

    A First Step in Geneva

    The Geneva agreement is only a first step toward a comprehensive deal but it is an important achievement. Iran's ability to move toward a nuclear weapons breakout capability has been halted in return for limited sanctions relief.

    Nov 25, 2013

  • Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan addresses a news conference after his release on October 10

    Commentary

    Libya Needs Outside Help to Avoid Perpetual War

    If steps are not taken to get control of security, there is little hope for Libya's future. Qaddafi's fateful warning that Libya would become a “Somalia on the Mediterranean” without him could come true. The investment that NATO and its partners made in toppling Qaddafi would then be almost entirely wasted.

    Oct 11, 2013

  • Norway's newly elected prime minister Erna Solberg

    Commentary

    Could Norway Be Key to a Future Syria Strike?

    If Syrian acceptance of the Russia-backed plan that is supposed to see it give up its chemical weapons turns out to be a stalling tactic — as many believe it is — support for strikes from allies like Norway will be all the more important to the White House, writes Christopher S. Chivvis.

    Sep 26, 2013

  • U.N. chemical weapons experts investigating a gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians in the suburbs of Damascus

    Commentary

    The Hidden Conclusions in the U.N.'s Syria Gas Report

    The lethality of the munitions used in Syria point directly to an actor with significant capacities and long experience using chemical weaponry and artillery, writes James T. Quinlivan. And that fingers the notoriously abusive Assad regime, not the outmatched, outgunned and frantically improvising rebels.

    Sep 25, 2013

  • U.S. soldier provides pens to Iraqi boy

    Commentary

    Unlearning the Lessons of Iraq

    Trepidation about boots-on-the-ground engagement has unnecessarily forestalled even small-scale efforts to repair Libya's fractured security environment....Meanwhile, in Syria, the over-learned lessons of Iraq are taking an even more serious toll, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Mar 14, 2013

  • Cambodian garment factory workers travel home from work in Kampong Chhnang province, north of Phnom Penh

    Report

    The Benefits of Nation-Building Interventions Have Exceeded the Costs

    Most interventions in the past 25 years have been followed by improved security, some degree of democratization, and significant economic growth—with only a modest commitment of international military and civilian manpower and economic assistance.

    Feb 4, 2013