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9/28/2017 4:30:11 PM

UN reform: There still big hurdles ?

“Focusing on People – Striving for Peace and a Decent life for All on a Sustainable Planet”

Miroslav Lajcak (middle), Antonio Guterres (left) at the opening session of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly (Photo: UN)

That is the spirit of the UN General Assembly’s 72nd session taking place September 19-25 in New York. The session had a good start with 130/193 countries signing the 10- point declaration, in support of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ comprehensive reform plan.

“Our world is in trouble…’’

"Our world is in trouble," Guterres warned during the opening session of the 72nd session of the Security Council, emphasizing that “people are hurting and angry’’.

Insecurity is rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading and the climate change. While the global economy was becoming more integrated, the sense of global community was disintegrating, with societies fragmented and political discourse polarized.  “Trust within and among countries is being driven down by those who demonize and divide,” he stressed.  “We are a world in pieces.”

All of the above challenges require the United Nations to operate more effectively. To this end, the United Nations needs to be fully reformed, commensurate with the position of the largest multilateral organization in the world, with good cause to act and maintain international balance.

The leaders of 130 countries in the world, including major countries such as the United States, Germany, France, India and Japan, have supported the 10-point statement. The United States stressed the necessary to empower the Secretary-General of the United Nations and reduce the bureaucracy that has hampered the organization's enormous potential.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not attend, but expressed support for the UN Security Council reform to reflect the real power distribution around the world in the 21st century. Japan also declared "full support for the UN reform effort," but stressed the reform of the Security Council as well.

India strongly supports the UN reform effort and says it should include the expansion of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council to keep up with changes in the world.

Reform proposals

In his first speech to the United Nations, US President Donald Trump clearly stated that he favors the 10-point statement of the Secretary General Guterres, especially the reform of the UN Secretariat. Meanwhile, French President Macron stressed many to multilateralism, cooperation between countries.

The United Nations reform was proposed in September 2000, and in September 2003, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan decided to establish a Research Group and recommend measures responding to the challenges of peace and security, as well as the UN reform.

On May 26, 2005, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the UN’s establishment, Kofi Annan called on leaders of member states to make strong and serious decisions to reform the world’s largest international organization.

Next, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also determined that reforming the UN was one of the key tasks and challenges of his term. By the beginning of 2017, UN Secretary-General Guterres continues to emphasize that "the United Nations needs to reform to protect its enlightened values."

Now, Mr. Guterres also give specific content: UN must reduce administrative procedures, focus on people; be quick, flexible and efficient; pay more attention to the implementation process; shorten time for planning. US President Donald Trump emphasized a UN regaining the trust of people around the world.

On the other hand, the United Nations needs reforms in the areas of gender equality in the apparatus; strengthen anti-terrorism structures; Stop the wrongdoing in peacekeepers. Guterres urged nations to work together to promote a comprehensive and bold reform agenda to increase the effectiveness of the United Nations.

There are still great barriers...

Russia, a nuclear power and permanent member of the Security Council, does not support American proposals for UN reform because it is a step toward a unipolar world manipulated by the US while UN’s role is minimized.

“We are not ready to support or declare to be involved in this process”, the Russian representative stated.

Speaking at the sidelines of the meeting, Russian representative Slutsky said “Russia’s foreign policy states that we support the maintance of the UN’s undisputed role which has proved for decades that it can not be replaced.’’

Earlier on Sept. 18, at the United Nations headquarters, US President Trump presided over a high-level event discussing UN reform, with the participation of regular delegations from the United States, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Thailand.

At the forum, US President Trump specifically emphasized national sovereignty. He called on the world to oppose any threat to sovereignty in many countries and regions. "We have to respect the law, respect the borders, respect the future, and engage in peace," he said.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron asserted: "Multilateralism is the most effective way to face global challenges." France affirmed that Russia is a partner and that countries need to coordinate with Moscow. He also stressed the importance of coordinating action with Russia on the issue of Syria.

Thus, after 70 years of existence and development, besides achievements, the UN is also appearing many inadequate factors in terms of organizational structure, mechanism and mode of operation. It is no longer able to cope with the "serious challenges" that the international community is struggling to overcome.

However, the barriers still remain great, especially disagreements over  views and orientation of UN reform, including disagreements among the permanent members of the Security Council. Thus, academics and public opinion have suggested that the effectiveness of the 10-point statement of the 72nd General Assembly is still a question to be answered.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron asserted: "Multilateralism is the most effective way to face global challenges." France affirmed that Russia is a partner and that countries need to coordinate with Moscow. He also stressed the importance of coordinating action with Russia on the issue of Syria.

Thus, after 70 years of existence and development, besides achievements, the UN is also appearing many inadequate problems in terms of organizational structure, mechanism and mode of operation. It is no longer able to cope with the "serious challenges" that the international community is struggling to overcome.

However, the barriers still remain great, especially disagreements over  views and orientation of UN reform, including disagreements among the permanent members of the Security Council. Thus, academics and public opinion have supposed that the effectiveness of the 10-point statement of the 72nd General Assembly is still a question to be answered./.

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