IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 16th Oct 2020
Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.– Denis Waitley
EDITORIAL HUNT #191 :“United Nations and Multilateralism | UPSC”
United Nations and Multilateralism | UPSC
Shyam Saran is a former Foreign Secretary and Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research
The message in the Peace Nobel — multilateralism
That the pandemic could also be impacting the anti-poverty fight is another reason why the world needs full solidarity
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 :2 : 3 : Awards : UN : Multilateralism
The post pandemic world will have no choice but to contend at last with a problem long in the making the awful dilemma of global integration without solidarity. Comment -(GS 3)
- Missing collective approach
- Meaning of Peace Award
- UN @ 75.
- MISSING COLLECTIVE EFFORTS : At a time of global challenges has significantly increased, nation states are less willing to cooperate and collaborate in tackling them.
- LAYMAN EXPECTATIONS : One would have expected that countries with technological and financial capabilities to pool their resources together to work on an effective and affordable anti-virus vaccine.
- PARALLEL EFFORTS : Instead, there are several parallel national efforts under way even as the World Health Organization (WHO) has put together a Covax alliance for the same purpose.
- COMMERCIAL RING : There is a competitive compulsion at work which may be appropriate in economic and commercial domains.
- COLLECTIVE ABILITY : When the lives of people are at stake, active collaboration would have enhanced our collective ability to overcome what has become a public health-cum-economic crisis.
- POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM : But we live in an era when nationalist urges, fuelled by a political opportunism, diminish the appeal of international cooperation.
LOOMING FOOD CRISIS
- PEACE PRIZE 2020 : This year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) is a recognition of its role in combating hunger and malnutrition across the developing world.
- UNDER-FUNDED INSTITUTION : But the WFP’s achievement are modest, not because it is an inefficient institution, but because it is perennially under-funded.
- MESSAGE TO GLOBE : More important is the message which this award is sending to the world — that we need multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity.
- REVERSAL OF POVERTY : It is also a warning that the novel coronavirus pandemic is reversing the substantial gains made in the fight against poverty.
- EMPTY STOMACH : To the 690 million people who go to bed each night on an empty stomach, perhaps another 100 million or more will be added.
- AWAKENING CONSCIENCES : The Nobel Prize to the WFP will hopefully nudge our collective conscience to come together and relieve this looming humanitarian crisis.
THE UN AT 75 IS STILL IMPORTANT
- EPICENTRE : The United Nations is at the centre of multilateral institutions and processes.It is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its founding.
- SHADOWED VISION : While it is a pale shadow of the vision with which it was invested at its founding, nevertheless it has kept alive the notion of international solidarity and cooperation.
- DOMINATION AT UN : If it has become increasingly marginal in mobilising international responses to global challenges, the fault lies with its most powerful member countries.
- RESOURCE ALLOCATION : Powerful countries have deprived the UN of resources.They have resisted efforts to institute long overdue reforms.
- THE POWER EQUATIONS : 75 years on, its structure no longer reflects the changes in power equations that have taken place.
- OUTDATED POLICIES : It is anachronistic that a country such as India continues to be denied permanent membership of the Security Council.
- MULTILATERAL APPROACHES : Its role has become even more important precisely because the salience of global issues have expanded .
- CHILDREN OF SAME PLANET : India firmly believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism.
INSTITUTIONS AND PROBLEMS
- MULTILATERAL NETWORK : There is a network of multilateral institutions, several as part of the UN system. Others are inter-governmental in nature; still others may be non-governmental of a hybrid character.
- EQUITABLE BURDEN SHARING : This network continues to function and deliver benefits to participating states despite the less than propitious international environment.
- COMPETITION : While there are multilateral institutions they have become platforms for contestations among their member states.
- CO-OPERATION : There is recognition of the need to cooperate but this is seen as compulsion rather than desirable.
GLOBALISATION HERE TO STAY
- MAXIMUM SENSITIVITY : Given the scale, urgency and seriousness of the challenges we confront, we need maximal, not minimal, responses.
- DYNAMICS OF NEGOTIATIONS : The dynamics of negotiations and their outcomes would dramatically change if delegations came with a brief to contribute as much as possible within the limitation of resources .
- DENSE INTERCONNECTIONS : This is the international solidarity which a globalised world requires to handle the dense interconnections that bind us.
- NO ESCAPE FROM GLOBALISATION : Globalisation is driven by technology and as long as technology remains the key driver of economic growth, there is no escape from globalisation.
- EXCHANGES : In tackling domestic challenges deeper external engagement is often indispensable.This is certainly true of climate change.
THE THREAD IN CHALLENGES
- THE CONNECT : When one speaks of the rising salience of cross-national issues we must also take into account the inter-connectedness among various challenges.
- SECURITY : Enhancing food security may lead to diminished water and energy security.It may also have collateral impact on health security.
- RAISING YEILDS : Raising crop yields with current agricultural strategies means higher incremental use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.
- HEALTH RISKS : India’s unprotected farmers are exposed to serious health risks as a result and often get bankrupted not due to crop failure but debilitating health costs.
- A RAY OF HOPE : The SDGs are cross-domain but also cross-national in character, and hence demand greater multilateral cooperation in order to succeed.
- FRUSTRATED SUCCESS : This also points to the need for a more democratic world order since lack of cooperation from even a single state may frustrate success in tackling a global challenge.
- COLLABORATIONS : A fresh pandemic may erupt in any remote corner of the world .Prevention cannot be achieved through coercion, only through cooperation.
It is only multilateralism that makes this possible.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | United Nations and Multilateralism | UPSC