Why does the UN need to reframe the policies?

India Oct 07, 2021

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the 76th United Nations General Assembly, coined the phrase "COLLABORATE TO CREATE", which is very fitting at the moment. The objective behind this phrase is to reform the UN's policies that have been in place since 1945 to meet the threats of 21st CE as the interrogatives about the compatibility of the world's most trusted international organization have come into question.

Why is there an urgent need to reframe policies of the UN?

  • The rise of a new cold war between the US and China with Russia is the new reality of the West-East Conflict.
  • The divergence between the US and its European partners is observed on many global issues.
  • Major stakeholders like the US and UK are retreating from funding for UN Peacekeeping forces which can be seen through the"America First" policy and Brexit respectively.
  • The undemocratic representation of a large chunk of the population remains unnoticed like those of the African continent and parts of the Middle East.
  • Using veto power to gain an unfair advantage has led to marginalised developments on some important proposals and issues and also questioned the consensus within the permanent members.
  • Lack of a global framework including Health Care Framework has been observed when the pandemic hit hard, with climate issues still being at their core.

What are the measures to tackle this?

  • A proper Dispute-Resolving Mechanism needs to be set up.
  • The UN and the other sub-regional organizations must aim for the rational evaluation of the cooperation within them.
  • The structure of the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) ought to be more democratic and representative.
  • G4 Countries must be strong advocates for a permanent seat in UNSC.
  • The world needs multilateralism which is guided by strong goals and narratives and backed by rule-based order more than ever amidst current circumstances.

But to bring out reforms in such a coveted organization comes with loads of challenges which are transnational, for example, terrorism, lawfare tactics, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, climate crisis, cyber-security, and poverty.  No mutual consensus among the African countries is another overlooked issue.

Having said that, concerned with the diversification in cultures, religions, and ideologies, such reforms are not to be held overnight, as observers highlighted.

What role can India play?

  • India can align its diplomacy to work as a mediator between the countries.
  • Soft power, which has been India's prominent arena, can be exchanged to ignite the world to do the same as in International Yoga Day celebrated worldwide to facilitate cross-cultural learning.
  • Forming more multilateral alignments like the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the Asia-Africa corridor can also play an important role.
  • Sticking to its status of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum" which means "the whole world is one family" is the trump card in India's basket.
  • India, being a non-permanent member of the UNSC, can leverage this position to break the legislative logjam on humanitarian grounds.

History has taught us that crises have always catalysed nations to rise above their inertia. Narrow self-interest along with the present pandemic and circumstances have been similar to the crisis and are sure to lead to a tectonic shift in world affairs.

For this to happen, it is crucial for the UN to reform itself and uphold its essence and democratic representation in the world, and to ensure this, political will and strong cooperation and understanding among all the states is the need of the hour.

This article has been written by Shrawan Deogirkar for Paradigm.

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