By Priyanka Saurabh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Saturday through video conferencing. During this time, he presented India’s claim in the powerful institutions of this world body. He asked when the reform process in the United Nations would be completed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations through video conferencing. During this time the Prime Minister advocated major changes in the United Nations. He said that the people of India are waiting for representation in important institutions of the UN.
Modi Ji asked that for the last 8-9 months the whole world is struggling with the global corona epidemic. Where is the United Nations today in its efforts to combat this global epidemic? Changes in the reactions of the United Nations, changes in systems, changes in form are the demands of time today. The people of India have been waiting for a long time for the reforms of the United Nations. After all, how long India will be kept separate from the decision making body of the United Nations. A country, which is the largest democracy in the world, where more than 18 percent of the world’s population lives, where there are hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, many creeds, many ideologies. The country that has lived both for years leading the global economy and hundreds of years of slavery, the country in which the changes are taking effect on a large part of the world. How long will that country have to wait?
The United Nations completed 75 years this year. In a one-day high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders come together to commemorate historic moments. This meeting, ‘The Future We Want, UN We Need: Reflating Our Collective Commission to Multilateralism’, is a historic event, for the first time in 75 years. The United Nations was born out of the credibility of another international organization created to keep it away from war. After the First World War, the League of Nations was created in June 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles. However, when World War II began in 1939, the league closed and its headquarters in Geneva remained vacant throughout the war.
Consequently, in August 1941, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill held a secret meeting in naval ships in Placenta Bay, located on the southeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Heads of both countries discussed the possibility of forming a body for international peace efforts and a range of war-related issues. Together they issued a statement that came to be called the Atlantic Charter. It was not a treaty, but the only ratification that paved the way for the creation of the United Nations. It declared “the realization of certain common principles in the national policies of their countries, on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world.” The United States joined the war in December 1941, for the first time the term ‘United Nations’ was coined by President Roosevelt to identify countries that were allied against the Axis powers.
The United Nations eventually came into existence on October 24, 1945, after being ratified by 51 countries, including five permanent members (France, Republic of China, Soviet Union, Britain, and the US) and 46 other signatories. The first meeting of the General Assembly was held on 10 January 1946. The four main goals of the United Nations included maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations between nations, achieving international cooperation in the resolution of international problems, and at the center for harmonizing the work of nations in achieving these common ends.
At the time of its formation, the United Nations consisted of only 51 member states, independence movements, and de-colonies in later years, its membership expanded. Currently, 193 countries are members of the United Nations. The United Nations boasts of several significant achievements over the last 75 years. It has expanded its scope to address a large number of global issues such as health, environment, women empowerment among women. Soon after its formation, it passed a resolution in 1946 to commit to the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 1948, it formed the World Health Organization to deal with communicable diseases like smallpox, malaria, HIV. Currently, the World Health Organization is the apex organization dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.
In 1950, the United Nations appointed High Commissioner for Refugees to care for the millions of people displaced by World War II. In 1972, the United Nations Environment Program was created. Most recently in 2002, the United Nations established a United Nations criminal court. But in many cases, the United Nations has not been able to carry out its actions properly. For example, in 1994, the organization failed to stop the Rwandan genocide. In 2005, UN peacekeeping campaigns accused him of sexual misconduct in the Republic of Congo, and similar allegations have also come from Cambodia and Haiti. In 2011, the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan had failed to end the bloodshed in the 2013 civil war.
Today UN Security Council reforms are needed. The United Nations represents a large world and ironically, it has only 5 permanent members in such an important body. The current structure of the Security Council represents the post-World War II realities and thus it is not in motion with the changing balance of power in the world. The power of the veto is a major problem as P5 members often influence proposals plaguing countries that need a platform to thrive. Member nations that have a presence to ensure the reliability and legitimacy of the capacity to carry out the responsibilities of the major organ of the United Nations.
Thus, a new category of “semi-permanent” seats is intriguing. At the time of the formation of the UNSC, large powers were given privileges to form part of the Council. This was necessary for its proper functioning as well as to avoid the failure of the ‘League of Nations’ organization. Areas such as Far East Asia, South America, Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the Council. The emergence of forums such as the G4 (India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan) as important economies and emerging world powers has been emphasizing the reforms of the UN Security Council.
The United Nations was born from the horrors of World War II. At the time of its foundation, it was primarily tasked to maintain world peace and protect future generations from the evils of war. The next 10 years, designated as Decades of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development, will be the most important for our generation. This is even more important as we emerge better from the Covid-19 epidemic or not. The goals listed for the next ten years include protecting the planet and the environment, promoting peace, gender equality and women empowerment, digital collaboration, and sustainable financing.
Today the United Nations needs to act on the lines of India. We consider the whole world as one family. It is part of our culture, culture, and thinking. In the United Nations too, India has always given priority to world welfare. The reputation of being the world’s largest democracy and its experience should be used by us and the United Nations for world interest. May the welfare of the people be good. The voice of India has always risen and will rise for peace, security, and prosperity. India’s cultural heritage, rituals, thousands of years of experience will give strength to developing countries, only then will the UN’s objectives be truly resolved.
(Priyanka Saurabh is independent journalist, columnist, research scholar in political science and poetess. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)