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UN ECOSOC High-Level Segment (18 July 2020)

UN ECOSOC High-Level Segment (18 July 2020)

Context:

Prime Minister of India delivered a keynote address virtually at High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session 2020.

Background

  • This was the first opportunity for the PM to address the broader UN membership since India’s overwhelming election as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
  • The theme of this year’s High-level Segment is 'Multilateralism after Covid-19: What kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary'.
  • The annual Segment convenes a diverse group of high-level representatives from government, private sector, civil society and academia.

Summary of the Debate

Key Points from the session

  • Multilateralism and multilateral platforms need to be focused with the United Nations at its centre.
  • The like-minded countries, strong democracies have to come together to discuss the challenges.
  • United Nations especially United Nations Security Council (UNSC) needs to be reformed.
  • These multilateral platforms are for the people and small countries too and not only for strong/elite developed nations.
  • Need to focus on the post-covid-19 world order.

Key Notes from India’s Address

  • The World needs to evolve and international institutions need to change in accordance with reality.
  • India as a State and as a society as a whole has responded collectively against the pandemic and also contributed to the larger global order.
  • India has a long association with the ECOSOC and the UN’s developmental work, including for the Sustainable Development Goals.
    • India’s developmental motto of ‘SabkaSaath,  SabkaVikaas,  Sabka Vishwas’ resonates with the core SDG principle of leaving no one behind.
  • India’s success in improving the socio-economic indicators of its vast population has a significant impact on global SDG targets. India is also committed to supporting other developing countries in meeting their SDG targets.
  • India always raised the issue of reforms in international institutions. India has the capacity and ability to deliver and lead the developing countries and therefore India needs to be a permanent member of the UNSC.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

  • The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental.
  • It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.
  • It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.
  • The UN Charter established ECOSOC in 1945 as one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
  • ECOSOC Functional Commissions
    • Statistical Commission
    • Commission on Population and Development
    • Commission for Social Development
    • Commission on the Status of Women
    • Commission on Narcotic Drugs
    • Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
    • Commission on Science and Technology for Development
    • United Nations Forum on Forests
  • ECOSOC Regional Commissions
    • Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
    • Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
    • Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
    • Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
    • Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

Issue of Permanent membership in UNSC

  • UN itself was set up on the ashes of the Second World War. The members of the UNSC were also selected from the victory side. The time has changed a lot now and reforms needed in the UNSC.
  • This is the first-ever period in history when Multilateralism is facing a huge crisis.
    • American leadership is inverted and China’s rising is not in the favor of the International community. The multilateral platforms are losing their values.
    • U.S.A is leaving many such platforms and China is ripping up its treaties and various multilateral and bilateral commitments.
    • So we need reforms in these platforms and UNSC is one amongst them, which is completely out dated.
  • Africa is a huge and second-largest continent with near around 54 countries in it. It has not a representative in UNSC, which is discrimination in itself.
  • India, Japan, and Germany are robust economies and very important for the UN but they are not members of the UNSC.
  • Brazil is a strong contender from South America.
  • Permanent 5 nations do not want to lead anyone else in because their own power will be diluted. But the changing equation of geopolitics needs the reforms in the UNSC.

India’s Bid

  • India is the world’s largest democracies having a great history of peace. It is Asia’s power and economic hub in this era.
  • Winning a seat as a non-permanent member of the UNSC is a proof that small nations have trusted India and they are counting on it. India got the endorsement of the Asia pacific group.
  • If China is in P5, which is the world’s biggest dictatorship, where human rights are not respected then how India- the largest democracy can be left out.
  • India’s record in the Non-Align Movement and WTO showed that India supported and talked for developing nations.
    • And if India will sit on the UNSC it will work for the small developing nations. It will work for sustainable development, climate change and in the post-pandemic world order, it will actively participate.

Way Forward

  • The period of expansionism has gone and to make a balance in the world order this is the time to bring reforms in multilateral platforms like UN, UNSC, etc.
  • Only reformed multilateralism can meet the aspirations of humanity. Democratic powers and like-minded countries need to act together to bring these reforms.

Main Points Made by the Guests

1- Yoshita Singh, Chief Correspondent PTI, New York:

  • Multilateralism and multilateral platforms need to be focused with the United Nations at its centre.
  • The like-minded countries, strong democracies have to come together to discuss the challenges.
  • United Nations especially the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) needs to be reformed

2- Prabhu Dayal, Former Ambassador:

  • UN itself was set up on the ashes of the Second World War. The members of the UNSC were also selected from the victory side.
  • The time has changed a lot now and reforms needed in the UNSC.
  • Only reformed multilateralism can meet the aspirations of humanity.

3- Harsh V. Pant, Head, Strategic Studies, Observer Research Foundation:

  • The World needs to evolve and international institutions need to change in accordance with reality.
  • India as a State and as a society as a whole has responded collectively against the pandemic and also contributed to the larger global order.
  • India always raised the issue of reforms in international institutions. India has the capacity and ability to deliver and lead the small countries and so India needs to be a permanent member of the UNSC.

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