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75 years of the UN

It is actually a good thing that a big anniversary celebration in New York is out of the question anyway because of the Corona pandemic and that the General Assembly, which begins today, only takes place virtually.

The question of “reform or collapse” of the world organization, which was raised on its 50th and first birthday after the end of the global West-East (Un) order, remains in the air. Ten years later, on the 60th anniversary, the General Assembly welcomed a proposal by Secretary General Kofi Annan with 101 reform proposals. But the 194 member states have so far implemented barely ten percent of this.

Reform of the Security Council, which more than 90 percent of UN members have long believed necessary, is not only failing because of the unwillingness of the three major veto powers, the United States, China, and Russia. France and the United Kingdom are also unwilling to restrict their privilege, for example by converting their two national permanent Council seats into seats for the EU, which their members would then exercise in rotation. Moreover, since the beginning of the millennium, four of the five veto powers have significantly weakened the UN and damaged its reputation by its serious breaches and disregard for international law in Iraq, Crimea and the Asian Sea. Added to this are the Security Council’s failure in the Syrian conflict, which has been going on for nine years, and the unwilling and openly anti-UN behaviour of its (yet) most powerful member state, the UNITED States, since the beginning of 2017.

But, for all the understandable oppression of global chaos, the seemingly powerless UN, and its inadequate reforms, its achievements and successes should not be forgotten and overlooked. Without undiplomatic mediation by the UN, more conflicts would have escalated into wars over the past 75 years, possibly even using nuclear weapons. Without the UN humanitarian organisations, hundreds of millions of surviving victims of violent conflicts and natural disasters would not have been cared for. Within the framework of the UN, member states have also agreed on thousands of norms and treaties on human rights and international law, arms control and disarmament, social and labour standards, as well as on health, species, environmental and climate protection. The World Organization, for all its shortcomings, has by no means become superfluous. And no one has yet presented a better and at the same time realistic alternative.