Bigger challenges lie ahead as UN completes 73 years

Delhi, India Oct 24, 2018, 12.01 PM(IST) Written By: Jyotika Teckchandani

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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UN General Secretary António Guterres has admitted that the global institution is facing severe financial crisis and has appealed the member states to pay their dues.

The United Nations has wrapped its seventy-three years of existence with more challenges to face in the coming decade. 

Since 1991, when the US launched its moment of unilateralism, the UN is facing a serious legitimacy and credibility crisis. In the midst of series of the US-led unilateral actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Russia’s military inaction in Syria, Israeli ’s military incursion in Palestine etc, serious questions have begun to rise in the international quarters on the political relevance of United Nations.
 
Moreover, as the US is increasingly finding United Nations an obstacle to implant its unilateral vision, it has started casting doubt on the relevance of UN and has even questioned the usefulness of US's monitory contribution to the UN institutions. 

To undermine the effectiveness of UN, the US, of late, driven by narrow US first policy, has slashed 285 million dollars to UN  budget. Furthermore, it has withdrawn from two crucial UN body: the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission and UNESCO, in addition, to cut all the funds to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) for Palestinian Refugees, which led UNRWA to close down its educational and health institution in Gaza. The US cut down $200 million of economic aid to the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Under the UN charter, the US was responsible for 22 per cent of the body’s annual operating budget, or around $1.2 billion in 2017-18, and 28.5 per cent of the cost of peacekeeping operations, estimated at $6.8 billion over the same period.

UN General Secretary António Guterres has admitted that the global institution is facing severe financial crisis and has appealed the member states to contribute their dues. The US is the biggest defaulter in paying its membership due, even though it pays the largest sum.

Besides the financial woes, the UN is facing the challenges of democratisation of its governing and decision-making structure. The democratisation of UN is on agenda since the disintegration of Soviet Union. A large number of post colonial societies including India is demanding revamping the UN and other global structure of governance. In view of slow progress on this front, the emerging economies of the globe such as India, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Germany etc have started voicing their disappointment over the great power politics.

Though seventy-three years of its existence have indicated significant weaknesses and failures in fulfilling its purposes, the UN with all its specialised agencies and development funds has extended its scope of action and remains the only international organisation with the universal membership. This relative failure of UN, particularly in the political domain, is partly structural: its functioning is subject to the political imperatives of national interest of its member states.

Today, on United Nations Day, we as world citizens should determine to leave no one behind and work towards creating a more equal world as UN General Secretary is urging the men and women of the UN, and those they serve, to "never give up" tackling the world's many challenges.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Jyotika Teckchandani

Jyotika Teckchandani teaches at Amity Institute of Social Sciences, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh. Her expertise includes Gender, International Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis, Indian and West Asian Politics.