Fury of Covid-19 provides context for rebirth and reform of the UN: PM Modi3 min read . Updated: 17 Jul 2020, 09:42 PM IST
'While celebrating 75 years of UN, let us pledge to reform global multilateral system,' says PM Modi at Ecosoc session
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday made a fresh pitch to the international community to reform multilateral institutions like the UN to make it more representative of the current world order.
In a speech to the UN Economic and Social Council’s 2020 High Level segment on the subject of “Multilateralism after COVID 19: what kind of UN do we need at the 75th anniversary?" Modi said India firmly believed that the “path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism."
“Multilateralism needs to represent the reality of the contemporary world. Only reformed multilateralism with a reformed UN as its centre can meet the aspirations of humanity. Today while celebrating 75 years of the UN, let us pledge to reform the global multilateral system to enhance its relevance to improve its effectiveness and to make it the basis of a new type of human centric globalization," Modi said in a 14 minute speech made via video link.
The comments come against the backdrop of multilateralism coming under increasing stress with countries of the world growing more nationalistic in recent years. The US has announced that it is pulling out of bodies like the World Health Organisation after criticizing it for its less than accurate assessment of the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. The US has also been stymieing the working of institutions like the World Trade Organisation. Tensions between the US and China over a host of issues including quarrels over the origin of the covid-19 pandemic had resulted in the UN Security Council being unable to come out with a statement on the pandemic.
Recalling that the UN was born after World War 2 to cope with its aftereffects, Modi said: “Today the fury of the pandemic provides the context for its (UN’s) rebirth and reform. Let us not lose this chance."
Pointing out that India had been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council “at this very important time," Modi said: “With our deep commitment to maintaining global harmony to improving socio-economic equity and to preserving natures balance India will play its role in full support of the UN agenda."
India has been seeking a place in a revamped UNSC for years – alongwith Brazil Germany and Japan. But disagreement among the UNSC permanent members as well as their reluctance to share their veto power with new members in the reformed UNSC has been a major impediment. Then there are other countries like Italy and Pakistan who are opposed to the permanent membership of Germany and India.
Reformed multilateralism has been a recurrent theme in recent speeches of prime minister Modi. In May while addressing the Non-Aligned Movement’s virtual meet on the covid-19 crisis, Modi said the outbreak had exposed the limitations of the current global order and, after the pandemic, the world would need a new template of globalisation based on fairness and equality.
Intervening at the “Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit" convened by Saudi Arabia in March, to discuss the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, Modi had urged the G-20 group of developed and developing countries to rework its definition of globalization which would focus on the collective interests of all rather than balance the competing individual interests of a few. Modi had also highlighted the need for reforming and empowering international organizations like the World Health Organisation to deal with pandemics like covid-19 so that it was effective in assisting countries and developing and prescribing health protocols.
India was elected as non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council for a two-year term last month, winning 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. Along with India, Ireland, Mexico and Norway also won the Security Council elections held Wednesday. India will sit in the UN’s decision making body for two years starting 1 January, along with the five permanent members China, France, Russia, UK and the US as well as non-permanent members Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam.