The international gathering of hundreds of Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chancellors, Premiers and Heads of Governments of the countries in the world for the annual United nations summit is always a momentous occasion; but more so, since this great institution is celebrating its 70th anniversary of existence.
Lest we forget, the UN was born out of the remnants of World War II under the auspices of the then League of Nations. This important organization was and is just as significant as it was then as it is now. It was established by the collective will of the Allied powers to navigate the post-war peace-process for the nations of the earth away from the bitter waters of another full-scale global war involving the use of atomic bombs by one nation against the other.
To its credit, the UN has stuck to its core mandate in preventing such a re-occurrence, but its mission’s success rate in defusing conflicts between warring factions within states has been limited over the period. The nimbleness in dealing with new global threats including but not limited to rogue nations, international terror groups, cyber and chemical warfare, conflict minerals, children ‘soldiers’, human trafficking, sex slaves, slavery, humanitarian aid to disaster affected regions and the mitigation of poverty among the world’s population-has suffered setbacks due to its “top bottom” bureaucratic structure.
The ability need to deploy and deliver on-the- go humanitarian assistance through genuine channels on the ground which would immediately alleviate those persons directly impacted by the adverse effects of war or natural disasters must be an area of reform for the UN.
Upon serious introspection, there needs to be also reforms in its methodologies, systems, mechanisms and governance to properly address the economic and political realities of some of the globes biggest challenges affecting the people of every nation, every tribe and every language.
Underachievement of stated goals cannot be the norm; but rather the exception. The passing of one baton of “Millennium goals” to Sustainable goals” must be accomplished with rigor. The 21st century global citizen demands a new level of transparency, accountability and integrity from such organizations to deliver its targets. To do what it says and standby what it does.
No longer is the global citizen disconnected from what happens on any of the 7 continents- but is now a social media activist- effecting the outcome and assessing the information at their fingertips anywhere- anytime, reacting and acting through tweets instagram, facebook and videos.
There no doubt there has to be a renewed energy in overcoming the obstacles facing nation states but connecting and solving in real time, the basic everyday problems of the peoples of the world. The UN role must be more all embracing rather than exclusive.
It must be made clear; there are never easy answers to hard problems of humanity, but there are always practical solutions which can help alleviate and avoid difficult circumstances. Time does not recognize human loss as a result of conflict, disease, famine, drought, poverty; man does. It is therefore, humanity’s duty to reform with the times in order to curtail the losses under its control.
The World, in recent times, has seen such avoidable losses of human life in conflicts raging in Israel, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali, Ukraine to name a few.
The role of the UN as the central peace-keeper in attempting to resolve some of these conflicts has also resulted in a much more expansive agenda- to help find answers to the European migration crisis vis-a vis the humanitarian aspect in providing continuous aid to the ‘refugees’, settling of border disputes with India and Pakistan, Colombia, Guyana and Venezuela, North and South Korea, Russia and Japan, China and its South sea neighbors.
High also on its agenda would be to solve the ‘power vacuum’ in Lebanon, the conclusion of the agreement for the unity government in Libya and the peaceful transition of power in Syria, the return of the legitimate government of Yemen and the full implementation of UN resolution 2216; the continued role of enforcing the peace and implementation of the peace agreements, namely in South Sudan, Ukraine and the assistance in the conclusion of numerous other peace agreements; namely between Colombia and the FARC rebels. The tackling of terrorist groups such as ISIS, , Boko Haram, Al-shabab and others cannot be discounted in the crucial talks during the next few days between countries.
The UN has made its mark on global world affairs like no other global body-its corruption and impunity organization in Guatemala must be commended and has to be replicated in other jurisdictions, but technical and logistical efforts also have to be extended in countries who are grabbling under the scourge of violent murders such as El Salvador, Honduras and places such as Mexico.
The global international community has had its share of successes in key areas which have made a fundamental difference to the other member states. Indeed the USA together with the other contracting states (P5 +1) and Iran has sought to do exactly what the UN’s charter envisioned, to avoid a nuclear ‘event’ by reducing the ability of Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb.
The ‘thaw’ in relations between Cuba and USA and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries has and will improve the economic livelihood of millions of ordinary Cubans. For the first time the African continent witnessed the democratic and peaceful transition of an elected leader in Nigeria, Six African leaders brought what would have been a descent into internal conflict in Burkina Faso to a peaceful and amicable resolution, the Special Court of the African Chambers tried for the first time a leader convicted of war crimes on their own soil.
The Nepal region adopted a Constitution for its people to bring that country into the realm of the rule of law; also Myanmar after many years is about to enter into their own elections. Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador successfully assisted in moving Colombia and Venezuela to re-opening its borders with each other and surely there are many more instances of good- will between neighboring states.
The maxim is true: “we don’t live in a perfect world”, but we can strive for perfection in solving the world’s problems, as we enter a new era of people-centered policies that benefit them, not personal and selfish ambitions because it is, also a true saying that the UN is “too big to fail”-literally!