The coalition of the world:United Nations

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    In News 

    The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), António Guterres, made a candid assessment of global governance and highlighted  some challenges.

    About United Nations

    • The UN was formed following the devastating World War II, with the aim of preventing future global-scale conflicts.
      • The precursor to the United Nations was the League of Nations, which was established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles “to promote international cooperation and to achieve peace and security.
    • The representatives of 50 governments met in San Francisco on 25 April 1945, to draft what would become the UN Charter. 
    • Composition:
      • The 5 main organs of the UN are:
        • the General Assembly,
        • the Security Council,
        • the Economic and Social Council,
        • the International Court of Justice,
        • the UN Secretariat.
        • the Trusteeship Council,
          • the Trusteeship Council, suspended operations on 1 November 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory.
    • Functions:
      • In accordance with the Charter, the organisation’s objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. 
    • The United Nations claims to be the one place where all the world’s nations can discuss common problems and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity.

    Challenges in Present scenario 

    • the “world is in big trouble”, “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction”, even the “G20 is in the trap of geopolitical divides”. 
      • The gridlock does not flow from bilateral relations but from the way international cooperation is being re-defined.
    • Multilateralism is under challenge even by its proponent, with the United States opting for partnerships, with the most important areas being the worst affected.
    • The G7 Summit, held in 2022, endorsed the goals of a cooperative international Climate Club to accelerate climate action outside the UN. 
    • The dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO without the quorum of its members has rendered the institution dysfunctional
    • Despite the G7 having accepted the need for transfer of funds at Rio in 1992, because of their role in creating the climate crisis, the promise made in 2009 to provide at least $100 billion per year in climate finance remains unfulfilled.
    • China has opted for a rival set of multilateral institutions. 
    • More significant than the clash of institutions reflecting the deepening divide between the Atlantic powers and the Russia-China combine is the diffusion of wealth, technology and power. 
      • The ‘rest’, despite threats, are now capable of not taking sides and are looking for leadership within the United Nations, for what the UNSG characterised as a “coalition of the world”.

    Developments

    • Just as the ‘Rio principles’ continue to guide climate change, vasudhaiva kutumbakam, or ‘world as one family’, focusing on comparable levels of wellbeing can be the core of a set of universal socio-economic principles for a dialogue between the states.
    • To the current global consensus around equitable sustainable development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has added a clearer societal purpose to flesh out a universal civilisational principle. 
      • He emphasised ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ seeing climate change as a societal process and combating it devoid of trade-offs characteristic of the Climate Treaty. 
      • He has also offered India’s payments and linked digital ID technology without IPR restrictions. 
    • Redefining ‘common concerns’ in terms of felt needs of the majority rather than interests and concerns of the powerful will shift the focus of a much slimmed down United Nations squarely to human wellbeing, and not as an add-on.

    Way Ahead 

    • Now, 75 years later, rising conflict situations suggest it is time to go back to first principles of the UN Charter.
    • “In a splintering world, we need to create mechanisms of dialogue to heal divides” and “only by acting as one, we can nurture fragile shoots of hope” for a “coalition of the world”. This is a call for fresh thinking.
    • India’s Presidency of the Group of 20, UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2022, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2023 when major powers are not even talking to each other and India alone, now the fifth largest economy, is interacting with each of them, presents a historic opportunity for reinventing the United Nations.

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] What is the relevance of the United Nations in the present scenario?Why is there a  need for reinventing and reform?Discuss