The world celebrates UN Day on 24th October. In light of the various crises which continue to plague humanity, the United Nations struggles to become more democratic and gain a stronger foothold in decreasing the differences between developed and developing countries.
The world has changed dramatically since the United Nations was established after World War II, but the global peace-seeking organisation has failed to adapt to reflect the norms and constructs of the 21st century. Many experts believe it to be a reincarnation of the League of Nations, which was a liberal, idealist manifestation of hope, cooperation, and peace amongst nations after the end of World War I. Liberalism received a severe blow by fascism and the power politics of nations, and one major fault of the League was that it did not pay heed to the interests of great powers and consequentially collapsed. The UN overcame this flaw and took exclusive care of the victorious nations and constituted the UN Security Council (UNSC) with the P5 nations (permanent five members) to reflect the global order. However, certain discrepancies in logistics run stark and need to be questioned. How is it that the second largest continent, Africa, has no representation? How is it that only one member, China, from all of Asia represents the whole of it (excluding India that represents 17% of the world population)? Instead of France, shouldn’t the European Union play a prominent role now? Over the course of decades, demands have been raised for greater democratisation and transparency in the United Nations.
The UN has proven to be incompetent in tackling the crises plaguing various nations, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, and Lebanon. With the US and Russia playing their own power rivalry over oil and Arab nationalism, the UN’s dormancy in this spectrum has allowed jihad to be perceived as a monster of its own kind. There has also been a situation of near-paralysis at the UNSC on Syria and Ukraine. Observed over various spheres, deserving countries like Japan, India, Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, etc., have no say in the big game. Politics, yet again, gains supremacy in dealing with terrorism as exemplified in China’s veto not to name Masood Azhar in the UN blacklist of terrorists. All 193 member states contribute to the UN’s regular budget and a separate peacekeeping budget, but some countries are chronically behind on their payments. In early November 2014, members owed about $3.5 billion for regular operations and peacekeeping. Furthermore, the fact that the organisation responsible for maintaining international order has never produced a female Secretary-General itself is astounding.
As the UN celebrates its 72nd anniversary this 24th October, it is important to accept the fact that the global organisation has still failed in ensuring a more equitable world order at the economic, diplomatic, social, and political fronts. It did succeed in bringing global civil society together, but it needs to introspect on whether it has achieved its global goals of equity, democracy, and peace. This multilateral world awaits a stronger and bolder United Nations.
Feature Image Credits: CoinDesk