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Increase in UN membership-reasons for expansion & implications

In 1945, the intergovernmental organization, the United Nations (UN) was founded by 51 states with the aim to promote international cooperation and maintain international order. Since post-World War II era, and widespread decolonization of British and US colonies in the 1960s and 1970s, many peace-loving countries joined the UN, after gaining independence, although they have to meet the proper criterion. As a result many territories and sovereign independent states, began to establish diplomatic relations with countries especially members of the UN Security Council, such as China, UK, USA, France, in pursue socio-economic opportunities.  However, being part of the UN gives a country full recognition as sovereign states and prestige, and opportunities to trade and travel to other member countries and enjoys the assistance offered by the organs (ECOSOC, Court of Justice, GA) and specialized agencies (ITU, ILO, UNESCO) of the UN.

Moreover, globalization and sustainable development were among the reasons for the expansion of members to 193 states by 2011. In order to address global issues and inequalities that faces humanity in the 21st century, such as human rights, climate change, humanitarian and health, terrorism to gender equality, many countries, turns to the membership in the UN as an extension to forming multilateral relations with other governments, to complement its existing limited mutual cooperation from its bilateral relations. Coalition building became more important than ever to address supranational issues, and regional alliance was not enough to address global issues of climate change, refugees and migration, human rights or counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation faced by countries on their own, where the UN will be the international body that can exert influence and take collective action.

In effect, the expansion in the membership in the UN, has several implications on the organization as a whole, from administrative and institutional arrangements (funds, programmes, specialized agencies) to what the UN does, which goes beyond maintaining peace and security, international cooperation (economic, health, humanitarian assistance and peace keeping to addressing societal issues of today. With growth in UN membership, some emerging power member states such as India, may push to reform the composition and structure of the permanent seats in the UN Security Council, to be more representative and distribute power equally. Conversely, the increasing participation of non-state actors, whether as observer status or non-member states, also affects the institutional framework of the UN, expanding the development agenda on which its members deliberate on.

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