In the absence of long-due reform and expansion of its permanent and non-permanent members, the UN Security Council remains “dysfunctional” as it no longer reflects contemporary realities and confronts a crisis of “legitimacy and credibility”, India today said. In his address to the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council, Indian Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said there is no greater example of institutional inertia that resists constructive adaptation than the inability to translate discussions into a text for negotiations. This is despite 10 years of so-called intergovernmental negotiations authorised by the General Assembly and the continuous annual consideration of the agenda item here since 1993, he said. On the inordinate delay in reforming the UN Security Council, Akbaruddin told members of the General Assembly, that there is “no more vivid reflection” of deepening crisis of multilateralism than the “dysfunctional Security Council”, which no longer reflects contemporary realities and hence confronts a crisis of legitimacy and credibility.
“When proliferating transnational threats, deepening economic interdependence, worsening environmental degradation – all call for effective multilateral action – we have fallen short of a substantive response on an issue as important as reform of the Security Council,” he said.
“This is a sign that the ageing pillars of the established multilateral order are creaking and crumbling all around us, unable to meet the need for change,” Akbaruddin said.
Referring to the agenda of discussion of the UN Security Council reform, the top Indian diplomat said this is indicative of the “lack of even incremental change in our approach to issues of importance”, oblivious of the pace of change all around. “As multilateral diplomats, we are used to punishing processes, but never has a process itself become a punishment, as in this case,” he rued.
“If this is the ‘new normal’, it does not bode well for multilateralism. Never have the normative foundations of multilateral cooperation shown up to be weaker than in this instance,” he said.
Akbaruddin said if existing multilateral institutions are muddling along holding meetings and issuing reports which are not even minor stabs at improvement at the margins, if the gap is growing between the demand for global governance and the shortage of responses provided by existing multilateral institutions, then one needs to ponder if what “we are witnessing are symptoms of a recession” of multilateralism.