Lack of ability to tackle Ukraine war reflects UNSC’s ‘dysfunctional’ system: UNGA president; pitches for reforms
New Delhi: The “dysfunctional” system of the UN Security Council has been reflected in the “absurd” situation arising out of one of its permanent members attacking Ukraine and the global body’s failure to address it, UN General Assembly President Csaba Korosi said on Monday.
In an address at a think-tank, Korosi called for urgent reform of the UNSC to reflect the changing balance of global power and economic heft of various countries and criticised the slow process that was started around 17 years back to bring the changes.
India has been strongly demanding permanent membership in the UNSC considering the size of its population and role in international affairs. The current permanent members of the UNSC are China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.
Addressing a group of diplomats, strategic affairs experts and academicians at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), the UNGA president also wondered why there is still no agreement on a text to take forward the reform process.
“Does it have a time frame? No, I think it does not. Does it have a negotiated text, no it does not…Have you ever seen a negotiated process that has no text to negotiate? Have you ever seen a negotiating process that has no clear-cut timeframe for when to deliver,” he asked.
“Why the member states cannot do it? Because the interests are very much divided, and for some, it is more preferable to see the current dysfunctional stage than to embark on a reform,” he said.
The Hungarian diplomat, who is currently serving as the President of the 77th United Nations General Assembly, commended India’s call during its recent membership of the UN Security Council, for peace in Ukraine and its humanitarian aid for people hit by the conflict.
Korosi said the war in Ukraine has caused untold suffering, displacements and “unleashed” an energy and food crisis across the globe.
The president of the UN General Assembly, on a three-day visit to India also lauded New Delhi for sending medical aid and Covid-19 vaccines to a large number of countries to help them deal with the pandemic.
Korosi also complimented India for the safe evacuation of its citizens from Ukraine after Russia started its invasion of that country in February last year.
On the reform of the UN Security Council, the UNGA President urged the member states to make compromises and consider even making partial agreements under a step-by-step approach to reform of the UNSC. “Otherwise it will be very very difficult.”
Korosi identified the Ukraine war and lack of agreement on a text for taking forward the reform process.
“There are two major problems that we are facing. One was brought up by the war in Ukraine. The Security Council was created in 1945 to be the prime responsible organ for catering to international peace and security, to make sure that there would be no more wars,” he said.
The aim of the UNSC was to avert war and large-scale destruction, and, therefore, extraordinary powers have been placed into the hands of the Council, he said.
“What if the Security Council members, one of them, a permanent member that has those extraordinary powers including the Veto power, is the one attacking its neighbour? It created a situation where the Security Council is incapable of addressing this issue,” Korosi said.
“Since the very beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Security Council has not been able to take any decision on the war on Ukraine. So it is an absurd situation which is describing the dysfunction of the Council,” he said.
The UNGA president millions of people who were expecting the UN to deliver were frustrated by the UNSC’s approach towards the Ukraine crisis.
“If millions of people were expecting the Security Council to make sure that wars would not be repeated, they would be frustrated. I can understand that,” he said.
Korosi said the composition and the working method of the UNSC were based on the situation in 1945-46 following the Second World War.
“Since then, much has changed. The world economy has changed, the balance of power in the world has changed.. so it is absolutely understandable that the countries and the leaders of the world are more and more impatiently demanding that the Security Council should be reformed,” he said.
The UNGA president said the reform process can be taken forward if the member states want.
“It is up to the member states to come up with some kind of shared understanding. Some kind of compromise. I very strongly asked the member states to think very hard. Do you want to spend another 17 years on a process or do you want to see results as soon as possible.” he said.
“If they like to go for the second (option), they will have to make compromises, they will have to make agreements. Maybe partial agreements. Maybe a step-by-step approach. Otherwise, it will be very very difficult,” she said.