Left Menu
Development News Edition

World leaders to mark United Nations at 75 as pandemic challenges organization

World leaders will come together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the deadly coronavirus pandemic challenges the effectiveness and solidarity of the 193-member world body. As COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year, began to spread around the world, forcing millions of people to shelter at home and dealing a devastating economic blow, countries turned inward and diplomats say the United Nations struggled to assert itself.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 21-09-2020 09:45 IST | Created: 21-09-2020 09:31 IST
World leaders to mark United Nations at 75 as pandemic challenges organization
Representative Image Image Credit: Flickr

World leaders will come together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the deadly coronavirus pandemic challenges the effectiveness and solidarity of the 193-member world body.

As COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year, began to spread around the world, forcing millions of people to shelter at home and dealing a devastating economic blow, countries turned inward and diplomats say the United Nations struggled to assert itself. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Reuters that the pandemic has exposed the world's fragilities. He plans to tell world leaders on Monday that they need to work together at a time when there is a surplus of multilateral challenges and deficit of solutions.

The 15-member Security Council took months to back a call by Guterres for a global ceasefire - to allow countries to focus on fighting COVID-19 - due to bickering between the world's biggest powers: China and the United States. The 193-member General Assembly only adopted an omnibus resolution on a "comprehensive and coordinated response" to the pandemic earlier this month and it was not by consensus. The United States and Israel voted no.

A $10.3 billion U.N. appeal to fund fighting the pandemic in vulnerable and low-income countries is only a quarter funded. Guterres now has taken a lead in pushing to make sure any vaccine for the coronavirus is made available to everyone globally. A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the General Assembly should have acted months ago, but "we were all hampered by, and hit, by the COVID-19."

'MOMENTS OF DISAPPOINTMENT' The United Nations headquarters is in New York, which was hit hard by the coronavirus. U.N. member states had to decide how to work virtually, which they did for several months before resuming some in-person meetings recently.

"We all suffered from the fact that we couldn't meet ... A lot of attention was paid to process more than substance unfortunately," said the European diplomat. "I wouldn't put the blame on the U.N. as an organization, it's the member states that have to be more assertive and positive." A U.N. report released on Monday found that six out of ten people believe the United Nations has made the world a better place, but looking ahead three-quarters see the world body as essential in tackling global challenges.

"However, at the same time, over half still see the U.N. as remote from their lives and say they don't know much about it," the report said. The one-day special event on Monday comes ahead of the annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations, which starts on Tuesday with no presidents or prime ministers physically present in New York. All statements have been pre-recorded and will be broadcast in the General Assembly hall.

The United Nations was created when countries came together after World War Two to prevent another such conflict. While there has not been World War Three, leaders will adopt a statement on Monday acknowledging "moments of disappointment." "Our world is not yet the world that our founders envisaged 75 years ago. It is plagued by growing inequality, poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, terrorism, insecurity, climate change and pandemics," the statement says.

"All this calls for greater action, not less," it says.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Kuwait retail co-ops remove French products over Prophet cartoon

Kuwaits retail co-ops have pulled French products in boycott over the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a French school class on freedom of expression whose teacher was then beheaded by a Chechen teenager.In Saudi Arabia, the Arab ...

Stokes and Sanju were sensational: Smith

Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith described the partnership between Ben Stokes and Sanju Samson as sensational and said the eight-wicket win over Mumbai Indians was just the kind of result they needed to get their IPL campaign back on tr...

Graft case: Govt official sent to three-day police custody

An SDO of the Jal Shakti Department, who was held in a graft case, was sent to three-day police custody by a court here, an official said on Sunday. SDO Kamal Kumar Sharma was allegedly caught taking a bribe of Rs 19,000 from a contractor i...

Thousands protest as Belarus leader faces resignation demands

Tens of thousands of protesters in Belarus swarmed the streets of the capital on Sunday, pressing for the resignation of the countrys authoritarian leader in what human rights activists described as the largest anti-government rally since l...

Give Feedback