While the United Nations has made a number of achievements in the field of norm-setting, fostering development, protection of children and refugees, it has not been able to address challenges to peace and security adequately. In order to make the UN an effective body, experts called for wide ranging reforms, among other things, in the composition of Security Council, veto power, promotion of democracy, adequate funding by the developed countries and rules of procedure.
These views were expressed at the one-day conference on the `Future of United Nations’ that was organised by O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU). Former high officials of the United Nations, eminent career diplomats, policy makers, and academics deliberated on the strategies required to make UN an effective body.
In his inaugural address, Former Chef de Cabinet to the UN Secretary General, Mr. Virendra Dayal emphasized that UN must address many challenges faced by the world including, among others, the forced displacement, hunger, inequality, trade disputes, increasing debt burden and danger to media freedom. Referring to the loss of lives in the ongoing conflict in Syria, he stressed the need for people being able to live without fear and having a fair chance of justice to ensure the prosperity in the world.
Dr Sukehiro Hasegawa, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Timor-Leste delivered his keynote address on “Meiji Revolution: What can India and Japan do for the Future of the UN?” He said: “India’s fight for independence as well as Gandhi’s philosophy of peace and welfare of humankind spread across the world. Similarly, the Meiji revolution paved the way for peace and prosperity in Japan. The two countries can utilize this rich historical heritage and act in harmony in the UN in the future”.
In his welcome address, Prof (Dr) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, JGU said, “To reach a better future in terms of achieving goals like world peace, enforcement of international justice and human rights, the most pressing problems need to be addressed by collective humanity. In a world marked by lack of trust and high level of scepticism among the youth, the crisis needs to be addressed and solved consciously.”
Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School & Executive Director, Centre for the Study of UN said: “The speed of technological innovations, mega data and bio-engineering can change all expectations about future. The history of the UN has demonstrated that in fact there are two possible futures – the future that people want, desire, and strive to achieve, or the ‘future of dreams’ and the ‘future of feasibility’, as to what nation states are able to negotiate and implement” he said.
The later sessions saw panel discussions on multilateralism under challenge by distinguished speakers like Dr S. M. Sharei, Executive Director of the Centre for UN Constitutional Research in Belgium; Sreeram Chaulia, Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs, Ramin Jahanbegloo and Shiv Visvanathan, Vice Deans, Jindal Global Law School.
This was followed by thematic sessions on assessing the UN’s past, and on reforming its future, featuring eminent figures like Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan, Former Permanent Representative of India to the UN in Geneva and New York, Mr. Dilip Sinha, Former Permanent Representative of India to the UN, Ms. Neelam Sabharwal, Former Ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Professor C.S.R Murthy and Dr. Archana Negi from the Jawaharlal Nehru University.