IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 29th Sep 2020

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #161 :“UN Reforms and Multilateralism | UPSC

UN Reforms and Multilateralism | UPSC

D.P. Srivastava
UN Reforms and Multilateralism | UPSC

D.P. Srivastava is former Ambassador to Iran.


UN and the retreat from multilateralism


The UN’s capacity to face diverse challenges depends upon nations acting collectively

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : India and Institutions


The countries will be retreating from Multilateralism post COVID-19 . How will this effect the working of United Nations and the developing countries -(GS 2)


  • UN Diamond Jubliee
  • Changes in Multilateralism
  • Hurdles in UN.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on UN reforms and India’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping, at the 75th session of the UNGA on September 26, 2020

  • DIAMOND JUBILEE : The United Nations commemorated its 75th anniversary on September 21, 2020 by adopting a Declaration.
  • BILATERALISM : The anniversary comes at a time when the world is witnessing a retreat from multilateralism.

In his address to the UN on September 22, the UN Secretary-General called the pandemic “the fifth horseman”.

  • UNPREDICTABLE : Pandemic has also brought in its wake the deepest recession the world has seen since the 1930s.
  • SDG GOALS : This has made it more difficult to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the UN had adopted.
  • MISSING TARGETS : The Secretary-General said the world is “careening off track” in achieving the SDGs.



  • IMPORTANT STAKEHOLDERS : The U.S. is not alone in withdrawing from multilateralism. Brexit has shown that nationalism remains strong in Europe.
  • UNITED EUROPE : Multilateralism has delivered a blow to the idea of Europe, united and whole.
  • POSITION OF THE U.S : French President Emmanuel Macron remarked in his speech at the UNGA, the U.S., which created the international system as we know today, is no longer willing to be its “guarantor of last resort”.
  • NEO-PROTECTIONISM : U.S. President Donald Trump stressed “America First” in his speech, and suggested that others too should put their countries first.
  • CHINESE ROLE :  China has stepped in to take advantage of the West’s retreat from multilateralism.

Its flagship Belt and Road Initiative consists of a series of bilateral credit agreements with recipient countries with no mechanism for multilateral consultation or oversight.

  • CONSENSUS AT COUNCIL : The rift between the permanent members of the Security Council has already started affecting the work of the UN Security Council.
  • US ALLEGATIONS : Chinese have set the stage for the spread of COVID-19. The World Health Organization also failed to provide early warnings.
  • CHINESE CLAIMS : President Xi’s speech sought to project the fight against COVID-19 as a matter of collective responsibility of the international community. 


  • UNGA REPORT : The UN Secretary-General’s report on the work of the organisation highlights some of the achievements and challenges the world body faces.

Over 40 UN political missions and peacekeeping operations engage 95,000 troops, police, and civil personnel.

  • UN PEACEKEEPING BUDGET : It is a little over $8 billion, is a small fraction of the $1.9 trillion military expenditure governments made in 2019.
  • LACKS RESOURCES : Yet UN peacekeeping mission suffers from a paucity of resources.
  • OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS : There was an outstanding assessed contribution of $1.7 billion for peacekeeping activities by the end of the financial year.
  • GENERAL BUDGET : Similarly, there was an outstanding $711 million in the assessed contribution for the general budget.

Most of the humanitarian assistance, developmental work, and budgets of the specialised agencies are based on voluntary contributions.

  • PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS : There are calls for increasing public-private partnerships. This is not a satisfactory arrangement.
  • CLIMATE PLEDGES : President Trump mentioned that China’s emissions are nearly twice of those of the U.S., and the U.S. has reduced its carbon emissions by more than any country in the world.

President Xi said that after peaking emissions by 2030, China will achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

  • FRANCE : President Macron said that he was determined to see the EU agree on a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

      IASbhai Windup: 

What does the UN bring to the developing countries? It gives them greater political space.

  • SUPPORTING REFORMS : We need to support reform not only to expand the permanent members’ category of the Security Council but also to revitalise the role of the General Assembly.
  • THE RETREAT : Retreating from multilateralism would undermine the UN’s capacity to face diverse challenges.
  • We should never forget:

The UN provides ‘public goods’ in terms of peace and development often in remote parts of the world.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | UN Reforms and Multilateralism | UPSC


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