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Number Seven Thousand Five Hundred and Sixteen - 27 February 2024
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Five Hundred and Sixteen - 27 February 2024 - Page 1

Guterres’ bold confession

By Nozar Shafiei
Tehran University professor
United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has once again owned up to the shortcomings of the global organization in carrying out its responsibilities of maintaining peace and stability. Guterres explicitly has pointed out that the lack of unity within the UN Security Council during the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts has undermined the council’s authority and the overall effectiveness of the United Nations. Guterres sees the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in September as a chance to put forward reforms within the world body.
The call for restructuring the United Nations has been ongoing since the end of the Cold War. The fundamental question raised back then was whether the challenges of the post-Cold War era would mirror past challenges or introduce new threats. Former secretary general Kofi Annan appointed a high-level panel to delve into the issue, and its findings highlighted the urgent need for UN reforms tailored to address contemporary and future global challenges. Key concerns emphasized by the panel included climate change, terrorism, civil conflicts, and human rights abuses.
Despite numerous proposals for reforms, progress has been hindered due to the requirement for approval by the UN Security Council as per the UN Charter. The veto power wielded by the permanent members of the Security Council has been a major obstacle to implementing these reforms.
The same powers that resisted UN reforms now pose significant threats to the international community through their acts. Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict and NATO’s support led by the United States have escalated tensions. These major Western powers backing Israel in the Gaza war have effectively obstructed UN interventions and cease-fire initiatives.
The world operates within a framework where state-centric relations are predominant, with great powers dictating global dynamics. Issues such as identity, human rights, and gender have become contentious due to the state-centric nature of international relations, sidelining the role of nations and non-governmental bodies.
To effectively address emerging global challenges and threats, reforms within the United Nations are imperative. Guterres stands out as a courageous secretary general, challenging the dominance of major powers and rallying global public opinion toward reform efforts.
The United Nations itself must prioritize the urgency of reforms and actively include it on the agenda. Guterres and reform advocates have until September to underscore the necessity of reforms, engaging public opinion and non-governmental entities. Any resistance from major powers against reforms may provoke public backlash. Therefore, Guterres’ candid acknowledgment of the UN’s shortcomings and the call for reforms should be seen as a positive sign, paving the way for a revamped structure in line with current global realities to ensure peace and security worldwide.

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