United Nations – Reforms and UNSC and other measures

Recently, Indian Permanent Representative to United Nations Ruchira Khamboj took a dig at the Intergovernmental Negotiations Framework (IGN) and said that IGN could continue for another 75 years without reaching any consensus. Moreover, India stands out that the United Nations Security Council lacks inclusivity, so UNSC reforms are required.

Representation to UNSC has been a critical contestation at the forum of the General Assembly for decades. The Permanent Five (P5) – United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China were inducted as permanent members after world war 2 as they were victorious as allied powers. Therefore, All the required information regarding the critical issues of the UN especially UNSC will be covered in this article.

Intergovernmental Negotiations Framework (IGN)

Intergovernmental negotiations framework (IGN)

It is a group of nation-states working within the United Nations to further reform the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Moreover, the first segments of IGN meetings are now being webcasts. It promoted transparency and trust among the stakeholders. Also, it allows the public to follow the discussions. It is a very vital step in this regard.

It has its own dedicated website for wider discussions and updates. Also, two new innovative ideas have been introduced by the co-chairs. The ideas are Annual meetings between the Chair of the Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and the IGN Co-Chairs as well as “Taxel Talks,” an open-house discussion on United Nations Security Council reform.

United Nations (UN) was the successor of the League of Nations. when world war 1 ended it resulted in the new world order initiated by American President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Point speech. Wilson wanted to prevent further wars and restore peace with American hegemony. Thus, the US and other European counterparts established the League of Nations.

History of United Nations (UN)

After world war 1, the Treaty of Versailles was also signed where the war compensation was levied upon the German state. Consequently, it was considered discriminatory against Germany as Germany was not part of the negotiations regarding the treaty. Hence, the Treaty of Versailles was broken by Adolf Hitler, the chancellor of Germany which led to the outbreak of World War 2.

During the early phase of world war 2, It was the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan etc.) led by Hitler were emerging as dominant forces. Germany captured Austria, Poland, areas of France, Czechoslovakia, and even parts of Russia. Also, they invaded Britain and a fierce battle was fought between the Air forces of Britain and Germany.

Meanwhile, Germany signed a peace treaty with the Russian Empire. However, Russia was afraid of the expansionist policies of Hitler and Germany was apprehensive about the Russian attack. Taking the leap forward, Hitler attacked the Russian state leading to a war on all fronts for Germany. It was fighting a war with three major European powers (Russian Empire, Great Britain and France) on all fronts.

Emergence of United Nations (UN)

Facing war on all sides, Hitler’s army started losing hope despite all their efforts. There was continuous bombing of cities like London and Berlin. Moreover, leaders like Winston Churchill and Mussolini started giving war cries to their population. In the end, Germany and the Axis powers were defeated in the war. Hitler committed suicide by shooting himself in the head and Mussolini was assassinated by the rebels of the Italian state.

On the other hand, Japan was the major Asian power taking part in the war. It has already overrun the entire far east. It has even defeated Russia and China. However, Japan undertook a mammoth task of attacking the pearl harbour which was situated in the United States of America. It is still acclaimed as the most horrific incident in the history of the United States.

The United States of America which was still not part of world war 2 now got agitated and announced a severe retaliation against the Japanese Forces. The US responded with the dropping of Atom Bombs named ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’ on two major cities of Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The after-effects of the atomic bombs could be still felt by the consequent generations of those cities. Even, Some experts questioned the necessity of dropping the atomic bomb in world war 2.

The dropping of the atomic bombs ended world war 2 and the victory of the Allied powers (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China etc.). After this, the United Nations was established in 1945 to avoid further wars and maintain peace and stability in the world. Even, the Brettenwood Conference was held in the same regard which led to the emergence of the Brettenwood twins called the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Structure of UN

The term United Nations was coined by American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The UN Conference (1945) was held in San Francisco, where the representative of 50 member nations signed the UN Charter. The United Nations is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York City (US). The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.

UN General Assembly (UNGA)

The office of the UNGA headquartered in Newyork has representation from 193 nations of the world making it the only body with universal representation from the world. The president of the UNGA is elected every year by a majority vote. The current president of the UNGA is Csaba Kőrösi from Hungary. He was previously the Director of Environmental Sustainability in the Office of the President of Hungary.

The decisions on important matters such as peace and stability, security, admission of new members, and budgetary allocation are taken by the two-thirds majority of the UNGA. However, decisions on other matters are taken by a simple majority vote.

UN Security Council (UNSC)

The main responsibility of the Security COuncil is to maintain International peace and security. It is based on the doctrine of collective security. Collective security is a situation where all the member states launch an aggressive and all-out military action against an aggressor state if the aggressor has attacked any member state. This system was heavily criticised for American intervention in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon etc.

The UNSC has five permanent members – United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China and ten non-permanent members elected for a two-year term by UNGA on a regional basis. In January 2022, the UNSC inserted five new non-permanent members (Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates) because Estonia, Niger, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam finished their terms. The Republic of India entered as a non-permanent member eight times in 2021 and will be for two years that is 2021 and 2022.

Moreover, the permanent members of the UNSC possess veto power to halt any decision of the UNSC. The Veto power was given to the winners of World War 2 (Allied Powers). A veto vote is not a positive vote but rather a negative vote. It restrains any resolution of the UNSC from passing even if it has secured a clear majority of the member states. Thus, permanent members of the UNSC have disproportionate power in UNSC due to veto.

UNSC reforms

When the League of Nations was formed, prominent states like US and Japan refused to join it as they considered the League of Nations not catering for their interest. Surprisingly, a resolution was passed in the US (which was the proponent of the League of Nations) against joining the League of Nations. Subsequently, the League of Nations failed to prevent the second world war.

When the United Nations was formed, a proposal was made for the permanent representation of the Allied powers and a consequent veto vote to them so that they could be persuaded to remain part of the UNSC. This was done to ensure the cooperation of these states in world peace and security. However, now the tables have turned and new members like India, Japan, Brazil, Germany, African Union have appeared on the global stage as significant balancers.

The External Affairs Minister Mr Jaishankar and Defense Minister Mr Rajnath Singh have multiple times repatriated the need for UNSC reforms so that there could be equal and fair representation from around the globe. Currently, there is no representation from Latin America, Africa and South Asia. India has put forth their demand to be a permanent member of the UNSC. Thus, India is continuously seeking UNSC reforms.

There have been various groups made for the purpose of the same. The forefront of the same is the G4 consisting of India, Germany, Brazil and Japan. These are the major economies of the world and have extensive defence budgets. Moreover, they contribute extensively to the UN Budget and the UN peacekeeping forces. Recently, the UK has affirmed its position to grant permanent membership to the G4.

The African Union and L69 group (mainly of developing countries) are also in favour of UNSC reforms. Also, Uniting for consensus group (UfC) also known as the ‘Coffee Club’, The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Arab League are also proposing UNSC reforms. However, India stands as one of the major and deserving contenders among all of them.

Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 

It is mainly for implementing economic and social plans which are agreed mutually by the 54 member states.

Trusteeship Council

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

It was established by the UN Charter. It is the highest court of Appeals in the UN. Moreover, Its decisions are binding but enforced by UNSC only.

Secretariat

It is carry out the day-to-day functions of the UN.

 

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