Reforming the UN
The UN Security Council cannot remain trapped in an antediluvian time warp. Its profoundly iniquitous and dated structure must be promptly reformed
By Mrinal Roy
“Is the UN system incapable of rallying the caucus of nations to efficiently resolve the major crises and current challenges faced by the world? Does the UN have the independence, authority and the clout to counter and foil partisan agendas detrimental to the interests of the larger caucus of world nations? Is the UN a member-driven intergovernmental organization or is it systematically hobbled by the crippling divide opposing the five permanent Security Council members – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia — and their veto power?”
The United Nations Organization (UNO) is an intergovernmental organization created in 1945, in the aftermath of World War II, to protect future generations from the horrors of war and prevent conflict, destruction and suffering of people. The main objectives of the United Nations are therefore the maintenance of international peace and security, the promotion of the well-being of the peoples of the world and international cooperation to achieve these aims.
The 77th session of the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was held from 13 to 23 September in New York at a time when the world faces multiple and unprecedented crises. After two years of restricted in-person attendance owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, some 150 world leaders flocked to New York to attend the UN General Assembly meetings in person for the first time in three years. The UNGA met at a grim and sombre moment in a context when the world confronts the compounded health challenges of Covid-19 and the new threat of monkey pox, the imminence of a climate change catastrophe and the throes of economic turmoil caused by rising inflation, escalating prices of food and energy and the erosion of purchasing power of people across the world fuelled by the protracted war in Ukraine.
The secretary-general of the UN, António Guterres summarizing the bleak situation ahead of the meeting stated: ‘Our world is blighted by war, battered by climate chaos, scarred by hate and shamed by poverty, hunger, and inequality.’ There are also potent indications of a global recession. This dismal situation therefore called for focussed deliberations and bold, concerted and decisive actions by world leaders present to robustly tackle and defuse the multiple crises faced by the world and hardships endured by people. It was certainly not the time for vacuous speeches or to stoke Cold War acrimony and rancour through the irresponsible pursuit of narrow geopolitical interests.
Instead, the US, Germany, France, the EU, UK and the West basically used the UNGA forum to canvass support and focus world attention on the war in Ukraine, pillory Russia and pledge new advanced weapons and other support to Ukraine. Instead of multiplying efforts to end the war forthwith, Ukraine is being armed with advanced weaponry and provided with military intelligence to counter Russia in an unending proxy war causing enormous collateral damage and deaths in the country and dire socio-economic difficulties endured by people across the world.
Call for peace talks
In contrast, Qatar, Senegal and Turkey called for immediate peace talks to end the war in Ukraine. Senegalese President Macky Sall, who currently chairs the African Union, pointedly said that Africa ‘does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War.’ Why did the plethora of leaders of developing countries attending the UNGA not add their voices to Senegal’s to demand urgent talks for an immediate end to the war? Why is there such culpable reluctance to rock the boat by the multitude of countries feeling the dire impact of the war on rising food and energy prices and the hardships caused by a rapidly eroding purchasing power? Despite being sovereign nations, are past hangovers still haunting and dictating the present?
“Senegalese President Macky Sall, who currently chairs the African Union, pointedly said that Africa ‘does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War.’ Why did the plethora of leaders of developing countries attending the UNGA not add their voices to Senegal’s to demand urgent talks for an immediate end to the war? Why is there such culpable reluctance to rock the boat by the multitude of countries feeling the dire impact of the war on rising food and energy prices and the hardships caused by a rapidly eroding purchasing power?”
Commenting the protracted war in Ukraine recently, the Pope aptly pronounced that ‘weapons can be acceptable for self-defence, but not to make more war. Selling weapons can be immoral if done with intentions of making more war or to profit from it in some way.’ It is evident that arms manufacturers are having a field day with the tens of billions of dollars of arms support pledged to Ukraine which is also a live testing ground for unused stockpile of missiles and other advanced weaponry. Read More… Become a Subscriber
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 30 September 2022
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