The reforms under consideration for the global organisation are not adequate for meeting the challenges posed by a “creaking and crumbling” world order confronting a furious pace of change, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin has told the General Assembly.
“If we are to not remain prisoners of historical destiny for all times to come, if we are to keep pace with fast-moving threats we face, we need to go beyond piecemeal changes,” he said at the debate on the annual report on the work of the UN on Tuesday.
He warned that if the UN waited for “dramatic crises” to force it to confront the challenges, “we do so at the cost of deepening the crisis of relevance and performance of the United Nations in particular, as well as the legitimacy and effectiveness of multilateralism in general”.
“Can we, in all honesty, say that the reforms that we are contemplating will make us fit for purpose to address the challenges posed by the furious pace of technological advances in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, geo-engineering, directed energy systems, and additive manufacturing,” he asked.
The common spaces of the oceans and the outer space that no nation controls but all depend on or cyberspace are examples “of these frontier areas where we remain out of depth in multilateral terms,” he said.
For example, there are 22,000 man-made objects orbiting the earth but nations are not able to assess their impact or figure out how to manage them, he said.
Even as the world faced these futuristic challenges on top of the more immediate ones like the environment, the threats of nuclear escalation, armed conflict, massive refugee crisis, terrorism and endemic poverty, multilateralism seems to be in retreat and the spirit of global partnership appears muted, he said.
He said that collective action “to proactively strive for peace, justice and order” was needed and India was ready to work with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN members in “finding a pathway to a more lasting peace and prosperity for all”.