15 JULY 2010
|G-20, G-7, G-8, G-2. U.N. TAKES BACKSEAT, GRINNING!
Isn't the worldwide financial crisis crucial to international development? Does it not affect poverty, education, and human development? Does it not
have a direct impact on the practical implementation of the much-touted but hardly implemented Millennium Development Goals? Does it not have a direct
bearing on international peace and security?
During a recent G-20 meeting in Washington, D.C. to pursue possible responses, key U.N. member states were reported to be proposing or opposing,
agreeing or disagreeing to specific proposals, approaches and ideas.
Except the U.N., the only official comprehensive framework of international relations, whose objectives as stated in its Charter, are the
maintenance of peace and security and promotion of economic and social development!
True, if you looked carefully at the official photo of the participants, you could spot the distinguished U.N. Secretary General at the
back row, grinning. His cheerfulness would normally give us hope that he felt satisfied that he played some role, had some impact on the important
gathering. The same would apply to the first meeting of that group in London last year. One could also spot somewhere the head of the International
Monetary Fund lurking somewhere, unsure whether he would wish to stay in Washington or go back to run for President in France.
The question is not personal, however. Whether it is G-20 or G-8 or G-7 or even G-2 (as some may consider G-20 as really driven by 2 countries!),
there is no serious substantive U.N. role, nor any visible collective U.N. presence.
In defending its limited role on political issues, several U.N. theorists rightly pointed out that, except for peacekeeping, which is more a
Security Council domain, the majority of U.N. budget is devoted to economic and social development ventures. From the IBRD (World Bank) Group
established after the Bretton Woods Agreement, to U.N. Development Programme plus over 30 agencies and funds, to a whole department at the U.N.
Secretariat, are formally and elaborately entrusted with related questions. Where are they?
Certainly not grinning all the way to the bank!