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NEW UNITED NATIONS REFORMS MUST FAVOUR THE GLOBAL SOUTH

ABBEY MAKOE

THE rise of the Majority World, or global south, in world politics has triggered pertinent issues in relation to the archaic nature and form of the UN system.

And, Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres summed it absolutely spot-on when he recently delivered a frank appraisal of the UN in this day and age.

“We cannot solve 21st century problems with 20th century tools,” he said. The UN system has been grossly undermined by the stranglehold of the Western-led unipolar international world order.

The UN Charter effected at the end of WW11 in 1945 sought to create a world that would never again experience the devastation of international such as the one they world had just gone through. They sought and sworn to the principles of multilateralism, acknowledging that international cooperation was the best vehicle to maintain a peaceful co-existence. More than 75 years later, the international community is on the precipice of a return to the ghastly times of unilateralism.

The West has all but hijacked the UN system that was crafted as a blueprint to global peace and security. They have done this through their so-called rules-based world order where they are the player and referee at the same time.

There are many strategic building blocks and buffer zones established to protect the US-led Western hegemony in geopolitics.

They include the G7, the EU and NATO, among others. Global organizations such as the WTO, World Bank and International Monetary Fund function in tandem with the respective national interest of the wealthy and domineering global north states.

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At the UN Security Council (UNSC), five permanent members possess veto power. These are the US, UK, France, Russia and China. I raise this particular point for the mere fact of its significance: The UNSC’s resolutions are binding, unlike those of the UN General Assembly, where more than 180 countries enjoy freedom of expression that lacks concomitant authority akin to the security council.

The veto power is an extra-ordinary tool in the hands of the few. It was fathomed back in the day when most countries of the global south were colonies of their global north counterparts such as the UK, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

This lopsided arrangement that favours the few at the expense of the majority continue to reign supreme at the headquarters of the UN and this unfair allocation of power and authority manifests itself across all sectors of the global society.

It is no wonder that as times have moved on and many former colonies have attained their independence and demand equality at the table of world nations, questions over the obsolete make-up of the UN system ring ever so louder.

Examples of the abuse of the veto power privilege have perhaps been demonstrated by the US more than any other state. The last such abuse, in my view, was Washington’s recent blockade of the adoption of resolution to accept Palestine into full membership of the UN.

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Out of the 15 votes in the UNSC, the US’s was the only dissenting voice. Yet the will of the majority could not be implemented because one hugely powerful member dictated thus in the most shamelessly sectarian manner.

There appears no longer any opposition for the need to reform the UN system. The question that a divided international community is grappling with is “how?”

Africa, Latin America and Asia want a representation among the permanent members of the UNSC. Europe and the West, perennial domineering forces in the UN system and exponents of unilateralism, remain subtly keen to maintain the status quo where their dominance could change shape and form but remain nonetheless a block of superpowers.

For instance, the UK, France and the US are keen to have their G7 colleagues – Germany and Japan – to become members of the reformed UNSC.

Alas! The West want retain their global dominance at all costs. The presence of Russia and China in the UNSC has somehow assisted in the neutralization of the impact of Western hegemony in the global governance system. But that is not, and cannot be enough. The Majority World is described thus for the sheer numeral representation of the world population.

According to the World Population Clock – Worldometer – the world population currently stands at 8.1 billion. And World Economics reports that “the global south is home to over 6 billion people with an average life expectancy of 68 years”.

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Therefore, in true democratic fashion as championed by the West, the global south ought to have greater and larger numerical representation that reflects the population that they represent.

Change is inevitable. The former colonies have become equal with their former colonial masters. This fact is far-reaching implications for the definition of the UN Charter that refers to a community of nations – equal before international law. The UN boss needs to make it his mission to facilitate this change of great significance. That would be his grand legacy.

*Abbey Makoe is Publisher & Editor-in-Chief: Global South Media Network

By The African Mirror

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