NEW DELHI: The UN General Assembly is being forced to hold its annual General Assembly virtually this year by the coronavirus pandemic. But, that hasn’t stopped global leaders from sparring in their online addresses. Secretary General António Guterres has even cautioned the U.S. and China not to “split the globe in a Great Fracture” between” the two largest economies.” In his recorded speech on day one, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for “reformed multilateralism” for a UN that “faces a crisis of confidence.” So, while the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary, is it just a talking shop, a place for global verbal duels? How can it be freed as a hostage from the veto-wielding Permanent-5 members of the UN Security Council? What are its major achievements and failures? Isn’t it time to implement reform and how can that be done in the face of entrenched, vested interests? What should be on India’s agenda when it takes its two-year non-permanent seat in the UNSC in January 2021? This week on ‘Talking Point’, Erik Solheim, former UN Under Secretary General and ex-Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme and Asoke Mukerji, India’s Former Permanent Representative at the UN and author of ‘India and the United Nations: a Photo Journey 1945-2015’ bring their experience and insights within the world body to highlight its problems and solutions. They’re in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor and UN Dag Hammarskjöld Fellow, Amitabh P. Revi.
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