Wang Yizhou: How does the United Nations become stronger?

original title: ideal fullness reality bone sense how the United Nations become stronger?

source: morning news

interview guest:

Wang yizhou, distinguished professor boyar, Peking University, vice President of China institute of international relations

chief reporter & NBSP;   Gu Wenjun < / p >

on October 17, the international day for the eradication of poverty, the UN secretary-general said 115 million people will fall into poverty this year as a result of covid-19. The day before world Food Day, QU Dongyu, director-general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, said that only through a major transformation of the agricultural and food system can we build a world without hunger. On Tuesday, the International Day for Disaster Reduction, Guterres stressed that overcoming systemic risks requires international cooperation. It is hard to imagine how many people would have paid attention to the situation of people in different parts of the world and the common destiny of all mankind without the appeal and efforts of the United Nations. The United Nations therefore bears a noble mission. But the higher the ideals, the more the reality. How can we reform to make the United Nations stronger?

the essence of reform

consultant: usefulness and uselessness are still the criteria by which many people judge the existence of the United Nations, as if it were a product of idealism. In 2006, then-secretary General Kofi Annan proposed to reform the United Nations and build a stronger world organization. Why is there no improvement in the sound of reform?

wang yizhou: the starting point of the reform is to keep pace with The Times, enhance its global effectiveness as the largest multilateral mechanism, improve its representativeness, and better meet the needs of the international community, especially the developing countries. When the United Nations was founded, it had only 51 member states with the purpose of maintaining world peace and preventing world wars. Its early reform or organization was also mainly based on this general goal, for which it carried out a lot of exploration on post-war reconstruction. By the 1950s and 1960s, the shadow of the war had basically passed. With the recovery of western economies and the rise of consumerism, the degree of human waste and loss of the earth’s resources was worrying. The international community gradually formed the consensus that growth has limits, heritage is Shared and sustainable development is pursued. At the end of the cold war, separatism, terrorism and extremism emerged one after another. The United Nations advocated mutual learning among civilizations, exchanges and dialogue, and set up some new mechanisms to this end. Since the beginning of the new century, discussions on personnel, decision-making and financial rights have increased. The NUMBER of UN member states has reached nearly 200, while the number of Security Council members is still 15. The large branches of the UN system are still the basic framework of the late 1940s. In recent years, climate change has drawn great attention from the United Nations. Since the Copenhagen Conference, especially after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations has designed systems for cost-sharing and technology transfer. Crisis breeds reform. The number one challenge for the United Nations at this stage is the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, we need to do a good job in crisis early warning and control, coordinate with other countries and the international community to jointly respond, and make reforms in vaccine distribution, patent right transfer, financial assistance and other aspects. With the changes of times and environment, the reform direction of the United Nations is not invariable. Instead, it keeps discovering problems, meeting challenges and moving forward with loads on its shoulders. To evaluate the reform of the United Nations, we need to take a historical, dialectical and developmental perspective. Far from being the “bad thing”, as some US politicians have called it, the United Nations is an indispensable cornerstone, a platform and a centripetal force in the international community. We should adopt a tit-for-tat attitude towards the so-called uselessness of the United Nations.

and the embarrassment of

adviser: for 75 years, the threat of world war has ceased to exist, but local wars and conflicts are still inevitable, such as the military conflict in the Caucasus in the past half month, which has caused a humanitarian disaster. How does the United Nations play a role in these peacekeeping areas? What are the main obstacles?

wang yizhou: one of the great security challenges is the will of great powers. The major powers often divide their spheres of influence, boycotting, vetoing or blocking UN peacekeeping operations. UN peacekeeping operations are also largely outside the backyard of the major powers. The Nagorno-Karabakh region in the south Caucasus is typically Russia’s backyard. Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics on both sides of the conflict, still have millions of people living in Russia. As for the current conflict, although the UN Secretary-General is speaking out every day and the CSCE, China and other non-regional powers are also calling for a ceasefire, as long as Russia does not commit itself, does not send military observers and does not play a monitoring role in maintaining the ceasefire, it will be very difficult for the UN to get involved. The same is true in America’s backyard, where the UN can do little more than offer humanitarian aid and appeals for conflicts in Haiti, Cuba or Central America, but is powerless to mediate. Moreover, the greater the boundary between the great powers and the division of their spheres of influence, the more often the United Nations is reduced to a mere facade of post-war peace-keeping or general disaster relief and post-war reconstruction. As we all know, the United Nations has no standing army and no Arsenal. Its military resources are provided by the big powers. If the big powers give warning, the United Nations has to be very careful. Even if there is no fear of big powers, there are often shortages of troops, weapons and expenses for UN peacekeeping operations. In the arrears of various UN systems, the United States accounts for three-quarters of the arrears, and some major countries also act or delay payment in peacekeeping operations according to their own needs. The challenge for the United Nations in the new century is how to have adequate financial capacity. The establishment of a permanent fund or recurrent costs similar to a head’s fee is an important direction of its reform, particularly in the area of security, and should not be financed on a case-by-case basis.

the difficulty of development

consultant: the long-term backwardness of underdeveloped regions has always been the topic of the general assembly meeting. Many major countries have their own plans in this regard. For example, China has launched the “One Belt And One Road” program, the United States has set up a bank in Latin America, and Japan has special assistance in southeast Asia. How are efforts at the UN level different and what needs to be improved?

wang yizhou: as you said, when it comes to promoting global development, all the major powers are doing things commensurate with their strength and status, but no single country or regional organization has the moral authority of the United Nations. Reform has never stopped. Qu Dongyu, director-general of FAO, has put forward many valuable ideas to achieve the goal of zero global famine. The United Nations has established cooperation with a number of non-governmental organizations to solve the problem of drinking water. The Gates Foundation, a key supporter of the United Nations, has been experimenting with innovations in Africa and South Asia to reduce inequalities in health and development. Before the outbreak, nearly 800 million people around the world were in a basic survival crisis of inadequate food, clothing and drinking water, which was greatly exacerbated by the epidemic. However, countries are still more likely to sweep snow off their doorstep, and supplies such as food and masks are difficult to deliver because of the epidemic. In a world that has considerable capacity to do much better than it does now, the reality is that global information-sharing and concerted efforts are halted by isolated actions by individual powers. Vaccines are said to be available soon, but no one can predict how long they will last or who will provide them. “Good scar forget the pain” is human nature, but also the global common problem. The Ebola epidemic hit West Africa hard, but as the virus vanished, the vaccine that had been in the works collapsed. Coincidentally, after the SARS epidemic, the relevant investment in our country was also interrupted, and many researchers were forced to turn their attention to general health care issues. Speaking about the reform, WHO Director-General Tan Desai said that in the future, we will continue to carry out targeted follow-up research and comprehensive analysis of various historical outbreaks, so as to cope with more global public outbreaks now and in the future.

the condition of civilization

adviser: you mentioned just now that another priority of the UN after the cold war was to promote mutual learning among civilizations, which is very similar to the “harmonious world” proposed by China earlier. In the 20 years since the “clash of civilizations” was rampant, has the United Nations done anything substantive?

wang yizhou: I remember when I was secretary general, I put a lot of effort into promoting exchanges and dialogue among different civilizations. As a black man, he had worked at the United Nations for many years and felt the incomprehension between people of different colors, languages and ethnic groups. In the 1990s, the West emerged with the “clash of civilisations”, a negative theory that different civilisations could not co-exist and would eventually confront each other. This theory has caused great alarm in the United Nations and, in my opinion, has been the most debated topic at the United Nations for nearly 30 years. Although most of the heads of state criticized and criticized, but between civilizations suspicion occurred from time to time. The gap between civilizations is not a narrowly defined issue of war and peace, nor is it a development issue that can be solved by economic trade. The crisis of identity now tends to intensify. America’s current identity politics has become a different kind of narrowly defined identity. Mr Trump does not talk about white supremacy, but when others condemn it, he is always on the other side. European exclusivity, though rare at the leadership level, is widespread in politics and in the private sector, with fights between different ethnic groups leading to street killings and mosque or church massacres. In such a divided world, it is a great challenge for the United Nations to act as the glue that allows civilizations to seek common ground while reserving differences and prevents the escalation of confrontation. During Annan’s tenure, a number of dialogues were arranged and a commission of Experts was set up. Some former dignitaries were appointed as advisers. Former Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen was also invited and China joined the dialogue process under the coordination of the United Nations. It is more difficult to promote mutual understanding than in the past, especially because the specific nature of the epidemic has led to the increase of physical barriers, different cultures have different information codes, and it is difficult to achieve the subtle effects of face-to-face communication across the screen.

real game

consultant: as a rule of law, the more persistent and complex a large organization is, the more bureaucratic inertia becomes apparent. To be more effective, we must promote institutional building and redistribute power. But why is the reform of the Security Council so difficult?

wang yizhu: as far as I can remember, security council reform has been on the agenda since the mid-1990s, and I have been invited to attend relevant meetings at home and abroad. At the time, there was no g4 (India, Brazil, Germany, Japan) that wanted to join the permanent council, but the expansion of the security Council was already hotly debated. The four countries are very active in international affairs and look very competitive in the region. They have reasons to be permanent or quasi-permanent members. However, there are other considerations in evaluating Japan’s eligibility for the permanent council. For example, Japan’s admission to the permanent Council was firmly opposed by South Korea, and China was also very reluctant to join the permanent Council. The biggest objection to India’s bid comes from Pakistan, a country with a population of more than 100 million and the Muslim world’s only nuclear power. Germany is supposed to be the most prestigious and powerful country in Europe, but Italy just won’t buy it. Brazil’s biggest opponent is Argentina, which is at loggerheads with Brazil. The trouble is that the big African countries, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa, do not give in to each other. In the same way, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, ILO – the most influential branches – face this very real game when it comes to power change and structural adjustment. Despite the obvious difficulties, there is still a long way to go in reforming the UN.

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