United Nations Association Bexhill and Hastings Branch

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BEXHILL-born and bred but now secretary of Canterbury United Nations Association (UNA), Sheila Kesby visited Bexhill and Hastings UNA on February 23 to talk about the problems with supporting the UN.

As a wartime child, Mrs Kesby had been packed off to safety in Salisbury while her father helped to build great concrete boulders o the beaches to prevent enemy tanks from ;landing. Later, she had been told her grandfather coughed a lot because he’d been gassed in the previous war. Perturbed by a seemingly somewhat matter-of-fact attitude to wars, she had wondered why the grown-ups didn’t do something to prevent such events. Then at school, she had been impressed by the UN Security Council.

One thing led to another and in 1970 Mrs Kesby had gone to Haita for four years as a community nurse. About 10 years later, she had graduated in Development Studies at Kent University where she learned that the then-fashionable trickle-down theory of economic development had not worked in the Third World.

Turning again to the Security Council, which had impressed her as a schoolgirl, Mrs Kesby said: “Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Security Council has failed time and again to resolve conflicts in a way as to ensure sustainable peace.......The main reason we in the UNA fins it so difficult to support the UN is because of the persistent malfunction of he Security Council.”

She thought other problems with supporting the UN were the divorce between peace, development and the environment, the low and obscure profile of the UNA, the proliferation of single issue organisations, the inaccurate, inadequate or nonexistent media coverage of what is happening in the UN, and the complexity of global issues and of the strategies the UN has to deal with them.