75 Years of UN: Need For Reforms (18 September 2020)
75 Years of UN: Need For Reforms (18 September 2020)
Why in News:
75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) will be celebrated on 24th October.
United Nation General Assembly's 75th session is underway and the need for reforms is an aspect which has been talked about for quite some time now in terms of multilateralism, democratization of United Nations as well as financial reforms.
The name "United Nations" was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Each year on 24th October, the UN celebrates its anniversary.
To mark its 75th anniversary in 2020, the UN is igniting a people’s debate: UN75.
Through UN75, the UN will encourage people to put their opinions together to define how enhanced international cooperation can help realize a better world by 2045.
The main organs of the UN are:
- the General Assembly,
- the Security Council,
- the Economic and Social Council,
- the Trusteeship Council,
- the International Court of Justice,
- the UN Secretariat.
Summary of the Debate
Reasons for the constant talk of reform at UN:
- Rise of new powers: Today, the world has changed, there are many new powers, there is Japan, there is Germany, which are major economic powers. India has emerged as both an economic power and a major political power in the world, there is Brazil and South Africa. These countries that have emerged in the global scene, now want to play a prominent role and enjoy equal status with the permanent five.
- Human rights: The human rights has become extremely important in international relations today. So, the idea that only governments should deal with international relations and other major powers like transnational corporations, NGOs and human being themselves, the idea of human rights and the idea of national sovereignty, all these are being questioned in the international system today.
- Multilateralism: There are various aspects of multilateralism in the world today and in most of these issues like trade, like the digital world, the UN does not play much of a role. These are largely in the hands of private bodies, other international organizations and in the hands of regional organizations.
- Democracy: There are issues of democracy, of liberal democracy, of human rights, which are extremely important to the western countries and when they talk about human reform, they talk about strengthening the UN’s capacity to intervene in bringing about democracy and protecting human rights and countries.
- Outdated Administrative Reforms: The oldest set of reforms that was proposed during the last decade and some of them actually got implemented which were called as the administrative reforms, those administrative reforms no longer seem important or even enough in terms of what the challenges the world are facing today.
- Power Structure: Given the challenges that the world order is facing both from the existing power structure as well as the emerging power structure. UN reflecting a certain power structure that existed at the time of 1945, that is coming under strain.
- The expansion of security council or any other aspect of reform of the UN is extremely difficult today given the fact that there is no International consensus today, even among the P5, there is no consensus.
- The multilateral system in the UN system so far have been controlled by the USA and its allies in western countries. Now China has emerged to game the system and the Chinese control over it not only through constitutional means but also through bribing which has happened in the past.
- China seems to be more and more interested in gaming the system. It’s now heading towards so many major institutions with in the UN, it takes active interest on, who actually gets appointed, for example; the whole crisis on WHO is a result of Chinese supported individuals being there and therefore, performing more in sync with Chinese priorities than in sync with the global priorities.
- The top leadership of the UN and UN bodies have been openly supporting Chinese projects.
- Digital economic issues are those of the future trade issues that the world is going to be fighting over or coming together. The WTO is very poorly equipped to look at those type of issues.
What needs to be done:
- There is need to focus on certain areas of reform like the specific question of expansion of the security council, the issue of the Veto, the issue of permanent member itself.
- There are lots of new global challenges and the UN perhaps needs to find a new structure to handle them, an obvious one is now pandemics- the WHO has shown itself to be a solid organization but in this case, it failed miserably to get its act together and its internal structure where it was dominated by the combination of NGOs and incoherent set of regional groups without a very strong central command proved to be incapable of handling the present crisis.
- Climate is an enormously important challenge, the most important long term challenge the world faces today and while the UN obviously has been at the head of it through the climate conference and apparent things like Paris Accord, it need something much more than just being a council conferences in the secretariat attached to it, something more needs to be done at the international and even at the regional level.
- The great power contestation is now very much part of the UN functioning and the question of resources, question of financing is inextricably linked with how far reforms can go within the present-day system.
- In the last 5 to 6 years, the kind of challenges that have emerged are quite distinct from the kind of challenges world were talking about during the last 15 to 20 years. In that sense, the pace of change in the larger International environment has been quite rapid, the rise of China has been quite rapid. Therefore, the conversations have not really, the discussions around have not really kept pace with those changes and for all those reasons, reform is the need of the hour.
Important points made by the Guests
Dilip Sinha, India's Former Permanent Representative to UN
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Affairs Editor, Hindustan Times
Professor Harsh V. Pant, Head, ORF’s Strategic Studies