Editor’s note: To mark the 50th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China reestablishing its legal seat at the UN, Wu Hailong, chairman of the China Association for Public Diplomacy, said in his commentary that the world should support the international organization led by the UN. Several other experts exchanged views on the opportunities and challenges facing the United Nations and global governance at a recent forum in Beijing.
Over the past 70 years or so, the United Nations and its agencies, as well as other multilateral organizations, have made tremendous efforts to promote world peace and development, and despite its failure to fully meet the expectations of people on on certain issues, the UN still has the power the broadest representation of countries, and enjoys extensive authority and influence.
However, in a rapidly changing world and a complex international situation, the United Nations is facing unprecedented challenges.
First, ignoring the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, some countries have attempted to undermine the fundamental norms governing international relations by forming cliques, practicing pseudo-multilateralism, triggering ideological confrontation and trying to suppress other countries using sanctions.
In UN meetings and debates, they have resorted to double standards while trying to impose their own values ââand rules on other countries by claiming that they are universal values ââand rules, often sought moral elevation and lectured, criticized or attacked other countries, and openly interfered in their internal affairs. They see the UN as a private club meant to serve their national interests, and use it when it suits them and ignore it when they realize that it will not serve their interests.
These blatant acts have seriously undermined mutual trust and cooperation among UN member states, and weakened the authority of the global body and its ability to rule the world.
Second, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a serious threat to the lives, health and economic activities of people around the world. The new coronavirus has already infected more than 240 million people and killed more than 4.89 million worldwide.
The World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has launched COVAX to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world, but the global “immunization deficit” is still very large, the distribution of vaccines n This is not fair and the vaccine shortage in many developing and least developed countries has not been addressed. In addition, the continued mutation of the virus has created new challenges for countries’ prevention and control measures.
Sadly, in the midst of all of this, some countries have tried to shift their responsibilities to others, undermining the global fight against the pandemic.
Third, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the global economy, especially developing economies, causing unemployment to rise, income decline and poverty to rise. And the impacts of the pandemic and human factors have made global industrial and supply chains fragile and unstable.
In order to overcome their economic difficulties, some countries have printed huge quantities of banknotes thus transferring some of their economic problems to other countries. Some have desperately tried to decouple their science and technology sector from that of other countries, seriously hampering the development of science and technology around the world. As such, it may not be possible for many countries to meet the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to address development challenges.
Fourth, extreme weather events caused by climate change have become more frequent and more destructive. If global temperatures continue to rise, due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, extreme weather events can occur even more frequently, causing greater damage. And if countries don’t soon cut back on fossil fuel use to limit rising temperatures to less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, the world could face catastrophic consequences.
And fifth, the role of the UN has weakened due to the factors mentioned above, but the UN is also suffering from overstaffing, low efficiency, slow action and weak execution. . In a rapidly changing world, humanity is faced with many new problems, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the United Nations to adapt and / or address the new problems.
It is therefore not surprising that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the recently concluded 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly that if “effective multilateralism” does not exist. ‘is not practiced, humanity will be in grave danger, and stressed that the world needs a “UN 2.0” to reinvent the values ââon which it was founded.
To meet these challenges, it is imperative that the international community maintains the United Nations-centered world order based on international law and the norms governing international relations.
All countries must respect and treat each other on an equal footing, and oppose powers that place their interests above common global interests and impose sanctions on other countries. And the international community should make concerted efforts to prevent conflicts between countries, ensure that all countries choose the political system and development path that best suits their national conditions, and respect diversity.
Equally important, all UN member states should fulfill their obligations under the UN Charter and support the UN to play a leading role in addressing new global challenges. The United Nations, for its part, should strengthen its capacity building, deepen reforms, improve its level of efficiency and defend justice for the benefit of all member states.
As for containing the pandemic, the international community must take measures to minimize the risk of cross-border infections and ensure equitable distribution of vaccines throughout the world so that developing countries and least developed countries can immunize their populations.
In addition, to foster the recovery of the global economy, all countries should refrain from using economic and financial policies and tools to extricate themselves from the situation at the expense of others, maintain the stability of industrial chains and global supply, eliminate all forms of protectionism and promote regional trade and investment liberalization.
And to fight climate change, they should set clear targets to peak carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and follow a green and low-carbon development path.
The author is president of the Chinese Association of Public Diplomacy.
Opinions do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.