Like so many things in it year of the pandemic, the celebration of United Nations 75th anniversary has been forced to be a austere affair and, for the first time in its history, practically virtual. It’s not just the coronavirusHowever, the reason for restraint in the events that, with heads of State participating from a distance, are held at the headquarters in New York this Monday, the starting point for the General Assembly debate and high-level meetings that, almost exclusively telematically (with only one ambassador per country physically in the Assembly chamber), start on Tuesday. The organization established in 1945 at the San Francisco Conference after two world wars has reached the milestone birthday under the lights of undeniable achievements, but also under two dark shades: the of the inefficiency and, worse, that of the irrelevancia.
It serves to exemplify the situation the statement that the 193 member countriess have agreed to adopt to mark the anniversary. The text was only achieved after long and heavy negotiations, after battles over the language used to address issues such as necessary and unlikely reform of a Security Council anchored in a format that does not respond to a world completely different from that of 1945, the Paris climate agreement o go human rights. It ended up being, in the words of a diplomat, “a good reflection of the terrain of least common denominator what’s in the organization. “Or as CUNY professor Peter Weiss has defined it more bluntly in Efe,”four pages of topics“.
Disunity in the face of the pandemic
The pandemic has revealed, precisely, the UN difficulties to face a planetary crisis, a weakness which is also painfully evident to the climate emergency. It took months for the Security Council to endorse the call for a global ceasefire that he Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, already made in March and will renew this week. With each country subjected to the economic pressures that accompany the covid-19, there are only commitments to contribute a quarter of the 10 billion dollars that the Portuguese set as a goal for emergency aid to those most in need.
In a world where by the end of the year it is estimated that there will be 250 million people affected by extreme hunger, the first four pandemic famines they already threaten Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And the inability to coordinate efforts between countries has weighed down a response that could have been more effective, something that is now being urgently corrected, especially in the face of the threat of the second wave and in the work with the vaccine, which Guterres has recalled must be “a global public good“,” affordable and available to everyone “.
In everything others beat challenges facing the UN at this 75th anniversary moment: from open conflicts such as those of Yemen, Syria and Libya by multiplying by two the number of forcibly displaced in the last decade to 80 million worldwide, going through the budget problems and financing or a gray horizon for 17 Sustainable Development Goals, where not only 12 go retarded but in some cases it is even receding, including, dangerously, in gender issues.
In nothing helps, above all, the increasing onslaught of a wave of nationalisms unleashed and a departure from multilateralism whose maximum exponent is the United States of Donald Trump, to top it all now immersed in a new cold war with China that feels outside the UN but also inside the organization. And while Trump, who has finally decided to intervene also by video this year, leads a withdrawal (from the World Health Organization, the Paris Agreement, the Human Rights Council, the agency that helps Palestinian refugees, in a crusade against the International Criminal Court or questioning the contributions of 9.500 million that make Washington the main financier of the organization) Beijing try to take advantage to advance in leadership positions.