UN’s retreat from multilateralism

GS 2- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Introduction The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations, achieve international cooperation and a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations

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Contemporary News:

The United Nations commemorated its 75th anniversary on September 21, 2020 by adopting a Declaration.

  • witnessing a retreat from multilateralism.
  • also faces an unprecedented pandemic.
  • Secretary-General called the pandemic “the fifth horseman”.
  • also brought the deepest recession,the world has seen since the 1930s.
  • made it more difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Challenge to multilateralism:

  • The U.S. is not alone in withdrawing from multilateralism.
  • Brexit has shown that nationalism remains strong in Europe.
  • China has stepped in to take advantage of West’s retreat from multilateralism.
  • The European Union and U.S sanctions against Russia have driven it closer to China.
  • The rift between the permanent members of the Security Council has already started affecting the work of the UN Security Council.

SPEECH:US , FRANCE,TURKEY & CHINA:

The speeches at the UN General Assembly brought out the clashing perspectives of the U.S. and China.

  • Trump:-“America First” in his speech, and suggested that others too should put their countries first.
  • highlighted China’s culpability in the spread of the pandemic.
    • China had banned internal flights but allowed international flights from Wuhan to continue leads to spread of COVID-19.
    • World Health Organization also failed to provide early warnings.
  • President Xi’s speech:- A role on the world stage is not an embrace of the idea of multilateralism.
  • sought to project the fight against COVID-19
    • matter of collective responsibility of the international community.
    • China will honour its commitment to provide $2 billion assistance to the developing countries over two years.
  • French President Macron :-the U.S, which created the international system as we know today, is no longer willing to be its “guarantor of last resort”.
  • pointed out that while the U.S. is withdrawing, the world faces China’s projection beyond its frontiers.
    • highlighted problems posed by Turkey’s intervention in Syria, Libya, and the Eastern Mediterranean.(Breach of International law)
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a detailed reference to the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, in his speech made an extensive reference to Jammu and Kashmir.
    • country has slid to the 134th rank in the UN SDG index, the lowest for any country in South Asia.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi Speech:focused on UN reforms and India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping.
  • need to support reform to expand the permanent members’ category of the Security Council.
  • also to revitalise the role of the General Assembly.

World Leaders on Climate change:

  • Trump mentioned that 
    • China’s emissions are nearly twice of those of the U.S.
    • its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
    • U.S. has reduced its carbon emissions by more than any country in the world.
  • President Xi said that after peaking emissions by 2030, China will achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
  • President Macron EU agree on a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Achievements by the UN:UN Secretary-General’s report

  • Over 40 UN political missions and peacekeeping operations engage 95,000 troops, police, and civil personnel.
  • The UN peacekeeping budget, a little over $8 billion, is a small fraction of the $1.9 trillion military expenditure governments made in 2019.
  • outstanding assessed contribution of $1.7 billion for peacekeeping activities by the end of the financial year.
  • outstanding $711 million in the assessed contribution for the general budget.
  • Most of the humanitarian assistance, developmental work, and budgets of the specialised agencies are based on voluntary contributions.
  • The UN provides ‘public goods’ in terms of peace and development often in remote parts of the world.

Challenges:

  • It suffers from a paucity of resources.
  • There are calls for increasing public-private partnerships.
  • Not a satisfactory arrangement.
  • There may not be enough appetite on the part of corporations- remains an inter-governmental body.
  • Narendra Modi called for reform of its
    • outdated structures.
    • absence of comprehensive changes.
    • the world body today faces a crisis of confidence.
    • principal organ
    • the Security Council
    • rules-based international order
    • contributing to peacekeeping through UN forces.

Conclusion      

Declaration passed by all member countries this week pledges to “upgrade the United Nations” with a commitment to “instil new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council”.

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