UN reform been left open-ended, without set timeline: concept note by India ahead of signature reformed multilateralism meeting in UNSC
United Nations: Asserting that UN reform has been left open-ended without a set timeline and the Security Council far from reflects true diversity, a concept note by India here said new global challenges such as terrorism, radicalism, pandemics, disruptive role of non-State actors and intensifying geopolitical competition call for a robust multilateral response and nimble platform to ensure peace.
India, the current President of the 15-nation UN Security Council, will hold signature events on reformed multilateralism and counter-terrorism that will be chaired by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on December 14 and 15.
The first signature event will be a ministerial-level open debate of the Security Council on ‘New orientation for reformed multilateralism’ under the item ‘Maintenance of international peace and security’.
The concept note by India on the topic has been issued ahead of the meeting and India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj has asked that it be circulated as a document of the Security Council.
“The world is not the same as it was 77 years ago. The 193 States Members of the United Nations are more than triple the 55 Member States that it had in 1945. However, the composition of the Security Council, responsible for global peace and security, was last fixed in 1965 and is far from reflecting the true diversity of the wider membership of the United Nations,” the concept note, seen by PTI, said.
It added that new global challenges have emerged during the past seven decades, such as terrorism, radicalism, pandemics, threats from new and emerging technologies, growing asymmetric threats, the disruptive role of non-State actors and intensifying geopolitical competition.
“All of these challenges call for a robust multilateral response. The new orientation for reformed multilateralism envisages reforms in all three pillars of the current multilateral architecture – peace and security, development and human rights – with the United Nations at its centre,” the concept note said.
It points out that while there are time-bound targets for key areas, such as Sustainable Development Goals, “the reform of the United Nations itself has been left open-ended, without a set timeline.”
The note also voiced concern that the lack of a common negotiating text is hampering progress even as there have been several proposals from Member States and groups of States on a framework for reforms.
“Similarly, the global development architecture outside the United Nations is equally distorted, and intense efforts would be required to enhance the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems.
Such efforts would be critical to ensuring sustainable development, including strong, sustained, balanced, inclusive and equitable economic growth for all,” it said.
The concept note by India states that multidimensional crises facing the world today demand a “representative multilateral architecture” that is reflective of contemporary global realities and is well equipped to meet the emerging challenges.
“The rapidly shifting global security landscape, the persistence of traditional security challenges and the emergence of new and complicated challenges all demand a clear, pragmatic, nimble and effective platform for collaboration to ensure sustainable peace. The need of the hour, clearly, is to promote responsible and inclusive solutions to international peace and security,” it said.
It underlined that these would require early reform of the United Nations, with comprehensive reform of the Security Council at its core.
It would require early reforms in accordance with the commitment made by the leaders of the world in 2005, and subsequently reiterated in 2020, to “instil new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council”; addressing widespread concern at the inadequacy of the existing multilateral institutions to deliver results or meet new challenges and providing a multilateral architecture that not only responds effectively to current challenges but also stays fit for purpose by preparing for and responding promptly to challenges that may arise in the future.
The note also refers to remarks by UN Secretary General Antonio at a Security Council meeting in August this year in which he had said that today’s collective security system is being “tested like never before”.
“Our world is riven by geopolitical divides, conflicts and instability, from military coups to inter-State conflicts, invasions and wars that stretch on year after year. Lingering differences between the world’s great Powers – including in the Council – continue to limit our ability to respond collectively. The tools that have kept us from catastrophic world war are more important than ever, but they must be fit for today’s rapidly deteriorating international peace and security environment,” Guterres had said.
Guterres and President of the General Assembly Csaba Korösi will brief the open debate this week, which is intended to encourage Member States to carry forward this “important conversation on providing a new orientation for multilateralism, and to share their ideas on how best to move forward in a time-bound manner.”
India on December 1 assumed the monthly rotating Presidency of the Security Council, the second time after August 2021 that India is presiding over the Council during its two year tenure as elected UNSC member.
India, whose 2021-2022 term on the Council ends December 31, has been at the forefront of efforts calling for urgent reform of the Security Council, which has remained deeply divisive in dealing with current challenges.
India has asserted that the Council, in its current form, does not reflect today’s geo-political realities and its credibility is at risk if nations such developing powers like India do not have a permanent seat at the horse-shoe table.