Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Multilateralism in the new cold warop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : G7 countries

Mains level : Paper 2- Challenges the current form of multilateralism faces and opportunity for India to shape the new multilateralism.


The world is going through turmoil. The new world that will emerge will be different from what we have known. This provides India with some unique opportunities. This article explains the changes that are taking place and gives the outline of the changing order. So, how can India set and shape the global response? And what should be the principles on which the new multilateralism should be based? Read to know…

Opportunity for India to set the global response

  • As chair of the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly – India can set the global response in terms of multilateralism, not just medical issues.
  • How can India set a global response in terms of multilateralism? Consider the following- a rare alignment of stars for agenda-setting.
  • 1) In September, the United Nations General Assembly will discuss the theme, “The Future We Want”.
  • 2) In 2021, India joins the UN Security Council (non-permanent seat).
  • 3) And chairs the BRICS Summit in 2021.
  • 4) Also hosts the G-20 in 2022.
  • New principles for international system: At the online summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, in May, Prime Minister Modi called for new principles for the international system.
  • His new globalisation model based on humanity, fairness and equality has wide support in a more equal world as, for the first time since 1950, everyone is experiencing the same (virus) threat.

Changing global context

  • China is losing influence and the dynamics in its relations with the United States.
  • And Asia again is emerging as the centre of global prosperity.
  • The global governance, economy, scientific research and society are all in need of being re-invented.
  • India should use this opportunity to recover our global thought leadership.

The US-China powerplay and its consequences for multilateralism

  • The clash between China and the U.S. at the just concluded World Health Assembly in May marks the end of the multilateralism of the past 70 years.
  • The donor-recipient relationship between developed and developing countries has ended with China’s pledge of $2-billion.
  • The agenda-setting role of the G7 over UN institutions and global rules has also been effectively challenged by WHO ignoring the reform diktat of the U.S. leading to its withdrawal, and characterisation of the G7 as “outdated”.
  • The U.S. has also implicitly rejected the G20 and UN Security Council, for an expanded G7 “to discuss the future of China”.
  • Important shift in the UN: After World War II, the newly independent states were not consulted when the U.S. imposed global institutions fostering trade, capital and technology dependence.
  • This was done ignoring the socio-economic development of these countries.
  • But social and economic rights have emerged to be as important as political and procedural rights.
  • Against this backdrop, China’s President Xi Jinping deftly endorsed the UN Resolution on equitable access to any new vaccine.

Emergence of Asia and China: Challenges for the US and the West

  • The U.S. faces an uphill task in seeking to lead a new multidimensional institution in the face of China’s re-emergence.
  • The re-emergence of China is based on technology, innovation and trade balancing U.S. military superiority.
  • At the same time, there is a clear trend of declining global trust in free-market liberalism, central to western civilisation.
  • With the West experiencing a shock comparable to the one experienced by Asia, 200 years ago, the superiority of western civilisation is also under question.
  • The novel coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift of global wealth to Asia suggesting an inclusive global order based on principles drawn from ancient Asian civilisations.
  • Colonised Asia played no role in shaping the Industrial Revolution.
  • But, the Digital Revolution will be shaped by different values.
  • It is really this clash that multilateralism has now to resolve.

World is questioning both U.S. and China’s exceptionalism

  • China has come out with alternative governance mechanisms to the U.S.-dominated International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization with its all-encompassing Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The U.S., European Union and Japan are re-evaluating globalisation as it pertains to China and the U.S. is unabashedly “America First”.
  • The world is questioning both U.S. and China’s exceptionalism.
  • For India, the strategic issue is neither adjustment to China’s power nor deference to U.S. leadership.

Opportune moment for India to propose new multilateralism

  • The global vacuum, shift in relative power and its own potential, provides India the capacity to articulate a benign multilateralism.
  • It should include in its fold NAM-Plus that resonates with large parts of the world and brings both BRICS and the G7 into the tent.
  • This new multilateralism should rely on outcomes, not rules, ‘security’ downplayed for ‘comparable levels of wellbeing’ and a new P-5 that is not based on the G7.

India in a important role

  • China, through an opinion piece by its Ambassador in India, has suggested writing “together a new chapter” with “a shared future for mankind”.
  • The U.S. wants a security partnership to contain China.
  • And the Association of Southeast Asian Nations trade bloc — with the U.S. walking out of the negotiations — is keen India joins to balance China.
  • With a new template. India does not have to choose.

Three principles the new system should be based on-

1. Peaceful coexistence

    • First, the Asian Century should be defined in terms of peaceful co-existence, freezing post-colonial sovereignty.
    • Non-interference in the internal affairs of others is a key lesson from the decline of the U.S. and the rise of China.
    • National security now relies on technological superiority in artificial intelligence (AI), cyber and space, and not expensive capital equipment, as India’s military has acknowledged.
    • Instead of massive arms imports, we should use the savings to enhance endogenous capacity.
    • And mould the global digital economy between state-centric (China), firm-centric (the U.S.) and public-centric (India) systems.

2. New principles of trade

  • A global community at comparable levels of well-being requires new principles for trade, for example, rejecting the 25-year-old trade rule creating intellectual property monopolies.
  • Global public goods should include public health, crop research, renewable energy and batteries, even AI as its value comes from shared data.
  • We have the scientific capacity to support these platforms as part of foreign policy.

3.  Civilisational values

  • Ancient civilisational values provide the conceptual underpinning, restructuring both the economic order and societal behaviour for equitable sustainable development.
  • Which is what a climate change impacted world, especially Africa, is seeking.

Consider the question-“The global order is going through serious churn, and it provides India with an opportunity to shape the new multilateralism based on humanity, fairness and equality. Comment.”

Conclusion

In the new cold war, defined by technology and trade not territory, non-alignment is an uncertain option; India should craft a global triumvirate.

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Taiwan makes new push for inclusion in World Health AssemblyIOCR

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World Health Assembly , WHO

Mains level : China-Taiwan tussle


Following its successful containment of coronavirus outbreak, Taiwan has made a new push for inclusion in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

Locate the seas and straits around Taiwan using your Atlas.

What is World Health Assembly (WHA)?

  • The WHA, composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the WHO’s supreme decision-making body.
  • The WHA convenes annually and is responsible for selecting the Director-General, setting goals and priorities, and approving the WHO’s budget and activities.
  • The first meeting of the WHA the WHO’s agency’s governing body, took place on 24 July 1948.
  • Its work began in earnest in 1951 following a significant infusion of financial and technical resources.

Why Taiwan must be included in WHA?

  • Taiwan has been praised over its handling of the pandemic, despite being just a short flight from China where the virus was first detected late last year.
  • Taiwan since then has been in a state of constant readiness to the threat of emerging infectious disease.
  • Hence, its exclusion from the upcoming World Health Assembly would harm the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Issues with Taiwan’s inclusion

  • Taiwan is claimed as part of Chinese territory by Beijing, which has excluded it from the United Nations and its subsidiary organisations.
  • China’s growing influence in the U.N. has made officials wary of crossing it, even while the U.S. has withdrawn from or suspended funding for some of its bodies, including WHO.
  • Beijing’s Communist leadership has increasingly shut Taiwan out of gatherings such as the World Health Assembly as part of a diplomatic and military drive to force Taiwan’s independence-leaning tendencies.

Also read:

[Burning Issue] World Health Organization (WHO) And Coronavirus Handling

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Private: World Health Organization (WHO) And Coronavirus Handlingop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : WHO and its funding

Mains level : Fall of major global institutions amid COVID-19 outbreak


 

Context

  • US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the WHO by declaring he would “hold” their funding, and then said the decision is still under consideration.
  • Trump accused WHO to be China-centric and that it got every aspect of the coronavirus pandemic wrong.
  • The US, however, isn’t the only one criticizing the WHO. Several leaders, columnists, and others have also criticised the WHO’s handling of China — where the virus had originated

A brief history of the WHO

World Health Organization

  • The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
  • It is part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Group.
  • The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as ensuring “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.

Its establishment

  • The WHO was established in 7 April 1948, which is commemorated as World Health Day.
  • The first meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the agency’s governing body, took place on 24 July 1948.
  • The WHO incorporated the assets, personnel, and duties of the League of Nations’ Health Organisation and the Office International d’Hygiène Publique, including the International Classification of Diseases.
  • Its work began in earnest in 1951 following a significant infusion of financial and technical resources.

Composition of WHA

  • The WHA, composed of representatives from all 194 member states, serves as the agency’s supreme decision-making body.
  • The WHA convenes annually and is responsible for selecting the Director-General, setting goals and priorities, and approving the WHO’s budget and activities.
  • The current Director-General is Tedros Adhanom, former Health Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, who began his five-year term on 1 July 2017.

Mandate of the WHO

 

  • The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being.
  • It provides technical assistance to countries, sets international health standards and guidelines, and collects data on global health issues through the World Health Survey.
  • Its flagship publication, the World Health Report, provides expert assessments of global health topics and health statistics on all nations.

Focus areas

  • The WHO has played a leading role in several public health achievements, most notably the eradication of smallpox, the near-eradication of polio, and the development of an Ebola vaccine.
  • Its current priorities include communicable diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, Ebola, malaria and tuberculosis; non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  • It also focuses on a healthy diet, nutrition, and food security; occupational health; and substance abuse.

Achievements

  • Some of the WHO’s biggest achievements came in its early days.
  • In 1958, the erstwhile United Socialist Soviet Republic, or USSR, had proposed a WHO-led smallpox eradication programme. The disease was still endemic by 1966, especially in Africa and Asia.
  • The next year, in 1967, the WHO began its Intensified Eradication Program that focused on mass vaccinations, and it proved to be a huge success.
  • By 1980, small pox was declared as eradicated from the world — the only disease to be classified this way.

Other successes

  • In 1978, the WHO adopted the Declaration of Alma-Ata, calling on “urgent and effective national and international action to develop and implement primary health care throughout the world”.
  • The declaration was considered historic for identifying the role and necessity of primary healthcare in assuring health facilities for all.
  • The WHO has played a central role in global immunisation programmes against polio, measles and tetanus, among others.

Financing of WHO

  • The WHO relies on assessed and voluntary contributions from member states and private donors for funding.
  • It started off with $5 million and 51 member countries — all of whom signed its constitution.
  • Now, it has 194 member countries, with a budget of $4.8 billion.
  • The US is currently the biggest financial contributor to the WHO and has been its active member for many decades.

Handling of novel coronavirus pandemic

  • In December 2019, the WHO’s China office was informed about cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in the Wuhan city of Hubei province.
  • Ever since, the WHO has worked to inform the world about the illness — called the novel coronavirus — and even earned the praise of global health experts initially for its transparent and swift approach.
  • It was the WHO that announced a global emergency due to the spread of the virus and later declared it a pandemic.
  • It is raising $675 million to find a cure and spread awareness about the illness.

Why is WHO under Criticism?

1) Some unanswered questions

  • Questions were raised when WHO director praised China for the speed with which detected the outbreak and its commitment to transparency.
  • China has a history of keeping its data under wraps and it is said to have even concealed the extent of the outbreak during the early stages.
  • The WHO surprisingly maintained that masks only need to be used by those with symptoms, and travel bans are “ineffective” in curbing the spread of the virus.

2) Affinity with China

  • The WHO can certainly be criticized for giving China too much benefit of the doubt at the beginning of this pandemic.
  • The WHO is now being called “Chinese Health Organisation” even as it is at the forefront of fighting its worldwide spread.
  • Despite the criticism, the WHO has pledged to keep fighting against the current pandemic.

3) Delayed response

  • They accuse the WHO of simply reporting virus statistics given to them by the Chinese government, even though we now know China widely underreported and even tried to hide the extent of the virus.
  • For example, in mid-January, the WHO repeated that China said human-to-human transmission of the virus hadn’t been proved.
  • The WHO waited weeks to declare a public health emergency and only declared it a pandemic March 11, later than many countries would have preferred.

4) Trump being Trump

  • The US is trying to deflect the blame away from this catastrophe back onto China.
  • This fight between the US and China, with the world’s leading health organization in the middle, is a distraction.

Some of its failures:

  • It has come under fire in recent years for its heavy bureaucratic framework, which has led to inefficiencies, inertia, and even “over-reactions”.
  • During the 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic, the WHO was accused of overplaying the dangers of the virus and aligning with pharmaceutical interests.
  • As a consequence, member states bought billions of doses of vaccines that ultimately remained unused, leading to wastage of resources and money.
  • The organisation later admitted having failed in communicating about it properly.
  • During the Ebola outbreak in 2013-2015, the WHO failed to sound the alarm over the virus, despite knowing about it. Thousands of lives were lost before the WHO could act.

Why has WHO failed?

  • The WHO’s sprawling structure is an outcome of a vague mandate and global power imbalance.
  • WHO is facing the biggest pandemic in human history. For all the responsibility vested in the WHO, it has little power.
  • Unlike international bodies such as the WTO, the WHO, which is a specialised body of the UN, has no ability to bind or sanction its members.
  • Its annual operating budget, about $2bn in 2019, which is smaller than that of many university hospitals and split among a wide array of public health and research projects.
  • At the same time, the international order on which the WHO relies is fraying, as aggressive nationalism becomes normalized around the world.

Conclusion

  • Whatever the causes of this disaster are, it is clear that the WHO has failed in its duty to raise the alarm in time.
  • This shortfall of WHO is failure indicative of a deeper malaise: the global institutional framework is a pawn in the hands of the great powers, cash-strapped.
  • While the focus has been on what happened between China and the WHO, in epidemiological terms the crisis has moved on.
  • The WHO is battling against a breakdown in international cooperation that is far beyond its capacity to control.
  • States have been turning away from international institutions for a long time. And WHO has relied on the often unspoken norms of international collaboration that underlie it.

Way forward

  • The new world order is on the way. The spread of concepts like “before corona” and “after corona” will become commonplace.
  • The global institutional architecture of the 1940s cannot help humanity face the challenges of the 2020s.
  • India as a nation has an important say for fundamental reforms in the UN System, including the WHO to make it more transparent, competent, and accountable.
  • Nothing less than a new social contract between states and the international system can serve the purpose.

 




Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

UN PeacekeepingIOCR

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UN Peacekeeping

Mains level : Importance of the UN Peacekeeping


  • India has told the UN Security Council that peacekeeping currently is in a “no-man’s land” and called for next generation of reforms in peacekeeping based on incentivisation, innovation and institutionalization.

UN Peacekeeping

  • Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace.
  • It is distinguished from peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peace enforcement although the UN does acknowledge that all activities are “mutually reinforcing” and that overlap between them is frequent in practice.
  • Peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas and assist ex-combatants in implementing the peace agreements they may have signed.
  • UN peacekeepers often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.

Need for reforms

  • UN peacekeeping is a unique innovation of multilateralism to respond to threats to international peace and security.
  • However, at the current stage, peacekeeping is in a “no-man’s land, between trying to keep the peace in fragile environments and trying to enforce the maintenance of peace, where there is none to keep.
  • Responses to new security environments require a willingness to adapt abilities to meet emerging realities.

Need of hour: Institutionalization

  • The institutionalization of an approach where all key actors, especially Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), are associated in a consistent and predictable manner in the decision-making matrix has been now discussed for decades.
  • However, in practice, there is not effective improvement of the cooperation between TCCs, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
  • It necessary to move from pursuit of activism of individual member states to collective action by this Council to institutionalize this effort.

Incentivizing women

  • India also called for further incentivising women peacekeepers.
  • As of July 31, women peacekeepers constituted 6 per cent. There are 5,243 female peacekeepers, out of a total of 86,687 peacekeepers.
  • In 26 years, member countries have increased the share of women by 5 per cent. At this rate, it may not be possible to meet even minimum targets.
  • There need to be special incentives for women peacekeepers and priority deployment of all women- unit pledges. Otherwise, the targets will remain just targets.

Innovation

  • Innovation in capacity building of peacekeepers needs to be a priority, if nations are to move away from a culture of caveats that bedevils peacekeeping into a segmented activity.
  • Innovative options such as co-deployment of peacekeepers from different countries engenders a genuine spirit of partnership for peace and needs to be promoted.
  • Further, there is need for expansion of online initiatives to develop capacities of future commanders and managers so that they lead by example and raise awareness of UN standards.
Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

[pib] UN Convention on International Settlement AgreementsPIB

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Singapore Convention

Mains level : ADR mechanisms


  • The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA) resulting from mediation by the India.

About UNISA

  • The UN gen. assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation on 20th December 2018.
  • It is referred to as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” (the Convention).
  • The Convention provides a uniform and efficient framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements.
  • It is akin to the framework that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958) (the “New York Convention”) which provides for arbitral awards.
  • The Singapore Convention defines two additional grounds upon which a court may, on its own motion, refuse to grant relief.
  • Those grounds relate to the fact that a dispute would not be capable of settlement by mediation or would be contrary to public policy.
  • The provisions of the ‘Convention’ are in line with India’s domestic laws and the efforts made to strengthen Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms.

Benefit

  • Signing of the Convention will boost the confidence of the investors.
  • It shall provide a positive signal to foreign investors about India’s commitment to adhere to international practice on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Back2Basics

Initiatives to promote ADR Mechanisms in India

  • In order to encourage international commercial arbitration in India, to evolve a comprehensive ecosystem of arbitration the GoI is establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) as a statutory body.
  • The Commercial Courts Act, 2015, has been further amended and legislative exercise to further amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, is currently underway.
  • These initiatives are being taken with a view to encourage the settlement of commercial disputes, domestic and international, in India through ADR Mechanism of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation.
  • A new Chapter (IIIA) has been inserted in the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, for mandatory pre-institution mediation and settlement in certain category of cases.
Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

[op-ed of the day] At the UNSC, a three-point agendaMains Onlyop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC

Mains level : India's agenda at UNSC


Note- Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. Aspirants should try to cover at least this editorial on a daily basis to have command over most important issues in news. It will help in enhancing and enriching the content in mains answers. Please do not miss at any cost.

CONTEXT

  • India’s singular objective as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22 should be to help build a stable and secure external environment.
  • In doing so, India will promote its own people’s prosperity, regional and global security and growth, and a rule-based world order. It could emerge a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.

Changing state of world

1.Dislocation in West Asia –

  • India finds itself in a troubled region between West and East Asia, a region bristling with insurgencies, terrorism, human and narcotics trafficking, and great power rivalries.
  • The Gulf is in turmoil.
  • Though the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Daesh) has been defeated, Iraq and Syria are not going to be the same as before.
  • Surviving and dispersed Daesh foot soldiers are likely preparing new adventures, many in their countries of origin.

2. Asia

  • The turbulence in West Asia is echoed in North and South Asia, a consequence of the nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Afghanistan’s slow but unmistakable unravelling from the support, sustenance and sanctuary provided in its contiguity to groups such as the Haqqani network, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda.
  • Other problems in Asia include strategic mistrust or misperception, unresolved borders and territorial disputes, the absence of a pan-Asia security architecture, and competition over energy and strategic minerals.

Fear, populism, polarisation, and ultra-nationalism have become the basis of politics in many countries.

No wonder that five years ago, when Henry Kissinger completed his latest work, World Order, he found the world to be in a greater state of disorder than at any time since the end of World War II.

Record of UN

  • Even so, the world is in a better place today than when the UN was first established.
  • The record on maintaining international peace and security, one of the prime functions of the UNSC, has been positive, with or without the UN.
  • The world has been distracted from its other shared goals, especially international social and economic cooperation.

What should India aim to do?

There is no need for India to fritter away diplomatic goodwill in seeking an elusive permanent seat in the UNSC.

 Increase its financial contribution – India will have to increase its financial contribution, as the apportionment of UN expenses for each of the P-5 countries is significantly larger than that for India.

Even Germany and Japan today contribute many times more than India.

Although India has been a leading provider of peacekeepers, its assessed contribution to UN peacekeeping operations is minuscule.

Promoting well-balanced, common solutions – At a time when there is a deficit of international leadership on global issues, especially on security, migrant movement, poverty, and climate change, India has an opportunity to promote well-balanced, common solutions.

Agenda as a member of UNSC

1.‘Responsibility to Protect

First, as a member of the UNSC, India must help guide the Council away from the perils of invoking the principles of humanitarian interventionism or ‘Responsibility to Protect’.

Given the fragile and complex international system, which can become even more unpredictable and conflictual, India should work towards a rules-based global order. Sustainable development and promoting peoples’ welfare should become its new drivers.

2.Sanctions –

Second, India should push to ensure that the UNSC Sanctions Committee targets all those individuals and entities warranting sanctions. Multilateral action by the UNSC has not been possible because of narrowly defined national interest.

3.Rational internationalism – 

  • Having good relations with all the great powers, India must lead the way by pursuing inclusion, the rule of law, constitutionalism, and rational internationalism. 
  • A harmonised response is the sine qua non for dealing with global problems of climate change, disarmament, terrorism, trade, and development. India could take on larger burdens to maintain global public goods and build new regional public goods.
  • For example, India should take the lead in activating the UNSC’s Military Staff Committee, which was never set into motion following the UN’s inception. Without it, the UNSC’s collective security and conflict-resolution roles will continue to remain limited.

Looking at polycentrism

  • A rules-based international order helps rather than hinders India, and embracing the multilateral ethic is the best way forward.
  • India will be a rich country in the future and will acquire greater military muscle, but its people will remain relatively poor.
  • India is a great nation, but not a great power.
  • Apolarity, unipolarity, a duopoly of powers or contending super-powers — none of these suit India.
  • India has a strong motive to embrace polycentrism, which is anathema to hegemonic powers intent on carving out their exclusive spheres of influence.

Conclusion

Finally, India cannot stride the global stage with confidence in the absence of stable relations with its neighbours. Besides whatever else is done within the UN and the UNSC, India must lift its game in South Asia and its larger neighbourhood. Exclusive reliance on India’s brilliant team of officers at its New York mission is not going to be enough.

Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

India’s non-permanent membership of UNSCIOCR

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC

Mains level : India's bid for UNSC's permanent membership


  • India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council has been endorsed unanimously by the Asia Pacific group, which comprises 55 countries, including Pakistan.

How is a non-permanent member nominated?

  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of a total of 10, for a two-year term.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions thus: five for African and Asian countries; one for Eastern European countries; two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; two for Western European and other countries.
  • Of the five seats for Africa and Asia, three are for Africa and two for Asia; there is an informal understanding between the two groups to reserve one for an Arab country.
  • The Africa and Asia Pacific group takes turns every two years to put up an Arab candidate.
  • The 55-member Asia-Pacific Group gets to nominate one of its members for the June 2020 elections to a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

Why it’s special?

  • The endorsement means that India has a “clean slate” candidature – that is there is no other contestant from the group – for the elections that will be held for five non-permanent members next year, for the 2021-22 terms.
  • The development is particularly significant given that Pakistan and China, both countries with which India has had diplomatic challenges at the UN, supported the move.
  • Afghanistan, a potential contender, withdrew its nomination to accommodate India’s candidacy based on the “long-standing, close and friendly relations” between the two countries.

India and UNSC

  • India has already held a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for seven terms: 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.
  • It has been keen to hold the seat in 2021-22 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022.

Back2Basics

United Nations Security Council

  • The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.
  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

Masood Azhar’s listed as a designated terrorist by the UN Security CouncilMains Onlyop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Way forward to ensure UNSC's labelling of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.


CONTEXT

Masood Azhar’s listing as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council at long last closes an important chapter in India’s quest to bring the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief to justice.

Background

  • He eluded the designation for 20 years, despite his release in 1999 in exchange for hostages after the IC-814 hijack, and his leadership of the JeM as it carried out dozens of deadly attacks in India, including the Parliament attack of 2001, and more recent ones like the Pathankot airbase attack in 2016 and the Pulwama police convoy bombing this year.
  • China’s opposition to the listing has long been a thorn in India’s side, given the toll Azhar and the JeM have exacted, and Beijing’s veto of the listing three times between 2009 and 2017 had driven a wedge in India-China relations.
  • Despite the frustration over China’s last hold on a proposal moved by the U.S., the U.K., and France just weeks after Pulwama, the government has done well to approach Beijing with what the Ministry of External Affairs called “patience and persistence”.

Disappointments

  • No mention of Mr. Azhar’s role –There is much disappointment, however, over the final listing released by the Security Council, with no mention of Mr. Azhar’s role in any of the attacks against India, or directing the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Pulwama reference dropped – A specific reference to Pulwama, which was in the original proposal, was also dropped, presumably to effect China’s change of mind on the issue.
  • Pakistan’s claims of a victory in this are hardly credible; Masood Azhar is one of about twenty 1267-sanctioned terrorists who have Pakistani nationality, and more are based there, which is hardly a situation that gives it cause for pride.
  • It is necessary to recognise that India’s efforts and those of its partners in the Security Council have been rewarded with a UNSC designation at its 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. The focus must now move to ensuring its full implementation in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Track record

  • Pakistan’s actions against others on the 1267 list have been far from effective, and in many cases obstructionist.
  • Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba chief, roams free, addresses rallies, and runs a political party and several NGOs without any government restrictions.
  • LeT’s operations commander Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi was granted bail some years ago despite the UNSC sanctions mandating that funds and assets to the sanctioned individuals must be frozen.

Way forward

  • It will take constant focus from New Delhi, and a push from the global community, to ensure that Masood Azhar is not just starved of funds, arms and ammunition as mandated, but that he is prosecuted in Pakistan for the acts of terror he is responsible for.
  • Azhar and his JeM must lose all capacity to carry out attacks, particularly across the border.
  • Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force will also be watching Pakistan’s next moves closely, ahead of a decision, that could come as early as in June, on whether to “blacklist” Pakistan or keep it on the “greylist”.
  • Both financial and political pressure should be maintained on Islamabad to bring the hard-fought designation of Masood Azhar to its logical conclusion.

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