UNO: Abbreviation or Institution

Most of us remember our first introduction to UNO as an abbreviation.  In the early years of schooling the most remembered abbreviation that raised majority of hands in morning assemblies. Time passed by. Awareness grew alongside age. History acquainted us with the origin and progress of the landmark developments that shaped up the making of the world affairs. Encountering the familiar abbreviation – UNO – as a global organisation in upper grades added more general knowledge about its mission and mandate. As the contemporary world affairs are entrapped by conflicts and chaos, one struggles to reconfigure and reconsider what United Nations Organisations (UNO) in reality stands for. A simple abbreviation or a significant institution!

Arithmetically each country enjoys one vote to project egalitarian notion of membership, but the actual power is totally enjoyed by the mighty few. The tugging and pulling by the members in this grand global hall is nothing new as emerging powers vie for a berth in it. The grand floor of UN General Assembly is completely fragmented as member nations swing their alliances fine tuned by their economic and political interests. The narrow national interests of few countries are putting the aspirations and expectations of majority of other nations at stake. The collective ventures are superseded by selective opportunistic switchovers bulldozing the humanitarian consideration that acted as bedrock of this global institution.

The overloaded lexicon of charters, conventions, declarations, treaties, summits, conferences, MDGs, SDGs stuffing the annual speeches and statements are redundant and rhetorical. Though some minuscule attempts aimed at fostering collaboration and cooperation infuse hope and optimism. The hand shake exhibitions lack the muscles to set the world affairs in right order. The seating arrangement of member nations in general assembly is alphabetically ordered. The democratic ideals have been dumped to this trivial tactics deceptively. In rest of the matters it is power and not the presence that rules the roost.   

Legacy of wars lives on. The nomenclature undergoes change. The war vocabulary reincarnates itself in different versions. From world wars to proxy wars, cold wars, trade wars, diplomatic wars and now cyber wars – the list encompasses continuously changed contours of war hysterics.

Security Council – the sanctioning arm of the organisation dominated by the power punch of five permanent members play hide and seek to avoid criticism involving their role in orchestrating proxy wars. The good boy bad boy labelling to invent pretexts for invasion is a redundant rule. Regime heads like Saddam Hussain and Muamar Gaddafi were projected and persecuted as bad boys as the West feared their dummy weapons of mass destruction posed threat to global peace. Bashar Al-Asad enjoyed patronage of Russian President Viladmir Putin whose heinous crimes of killing thousands of civilians has reduced beautiful country of Syria into a graveyard.

The customary annual general body meeting voicing out at global challenges is nothing new. As a world platform, UNO offers a stage for world leaders to assemble together to debate and discuss the serious and sensitive world affairs.  The soaring speeches made at the annual events echo loudly across media corridors for some time and eventually evaporate in thin air without any follow up leave aside any concrete action.  Resolutions rain like periodical showers with little precipitation to crop up any significant changes in the ground realities. 

The world is no more a happier and safer place to live in. The so called sovereign states find themselves susceptible to the vulnerabilities crafted and conspired by other world powers. This insecurity propels the mushrooming of mistrust and animosity. And at the end of the day forces the governments to invest hefty percentage of their resource to stock up war armoury and ammunition to safeguard their territories. But all this is done at the behest of depriving common masses- the poor from the very basic amenities of survival. The anticipated, unseen and the unknown dangers are draining the income of the countries seducing them with perpetual and chronic economic paralysis.

As long as the permanent five members of Security Council (P5) decide selection of Secretary General – the top official of UNO, imagining impartiality is nothing short of any illusion. Moreover the financial dependence on member countries especially the powerful ones for funding organisational expenses reduces its role as persuasive rather than strict and prescriptive. Who will take countries to task violating International Humanitarian Law? Is there any scope for UNO to function as a real global authority to settle world issues and emancipate itself from present paralysed advisory role? 

People very well remember the names of UN General Secretaries Kofi Anan, Ban Ki Moon, Antonio Guterres as a matter of general knowledge only. There is a dire urgency that the institution must be known for its achievements and contributions towards world peace and progress. The perception needs a paradigm shift from merely being an abbreviation to more being an institution.