United Nations, Dec 24: The UN's paralysis on its momentous challenge in decades with a permanent member of the Security Council invading a neighbour will be the dominant factor in 2023 and it will also bring the focus on reforming it.
The Ukraine war has emerged as a catalyst for calls to change both the UN as well as the international institutions created after World War II, and there will be renewed efforts next year in that direction even if changes don't happen next year.
As the long-simmering disenchantment with the functioning of the Council seemed ready to boil over, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "The possibility of enlarging the Security Council is now seriously on the table."
At the high-level week inaugurating the current General Assembly session leaders of more than 70 countries demanded reforms and it was reinforced at the debate in the Council called by India this month on "New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism".
While Council reform will move up in the various agendas at the UN in 2023, realistically it will be nowhere near to achieving it, although may move closer to adopting negotiating text, the main hurdle to progress.
The Ukraine war and its cruel manifestations at the meal plates, petrol pumps and electricity meters around the world, as well as the inflation and the threats of recession, will dominate the discourse at the UN -- and universally.
Guterres said that he does not see an early end to the war, but perhaps later in 2023.
The UN is seeking to ameliorate the most serious consequence outside the theatre of war, the looming famine, through its one success this year: The Black Sea deal involving Russia, Ukraine and Turkey to allow food grains to travel out of the two countries in the conflict to the rest of the world.
And it will try to replicate it for agriculture and energy.
Pushed to the brink of the economic precipice -- and over it in some cases -- by the war that exacerbated the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic several countries are facing a crisis that will echo in the UN and at international aid and financial institutions.
The war itself has driven the polarisation between the West and Russia and its allies at the UN several notches up.