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If not reformed, the UN will be overtaken by other organisations

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India and affecting India’s interests etc


Source: TH

 Direction: The article discusses why the process to reform the UNSC is complex and suggests a way ahead.

 Context: According to India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ruchira Kamboj, organisations such as the G-20 may step up to play a more important role in international affairs if the UN fails to implement reforms in the UN Security Council (UNSC).


  • She stated during India’s December UNSC Presidency on the themes of reformed multilateralism and counterterrorism that the UN reformation is the “most complex process” of the UN system.
  • The item of reform has remained on the agenda of the UNSC for nearly three decades without any substantive progress.
  • Today, the UN has almost 200 member states. But their voices are not being heard and everything is being scripted for them.

Need to reform UNSC:

  • Ineffectiveness: Global issues have been increasingly complex and interconnected, yet UNSC remains ineffective to address these.
  • Underrepresentation: The composition (P5-Permanent 5 members) does not reflect contemporary geopolitical and economic realities and excludes globally important and emerging economies like G4.
  • Powerplay and division among P5: The P5 with veto powers often act in self-interest rather than serving the global interests.



Why is the process complex?

  • Veto powers: Reform of the UN Charter requires all the P-5 to be on board and none of them should veto.
  • Conflict of interest: There are many who aspire to be in a reformed council but there are many who would not like to see those in the council. For example, the tussle between G4 and the coffee club.


India’s 2021-22 stint as a non-permanent member of the UNSC (which ended with the Presidency):

  • India has been vocal in expressing an opinion on difficult issues during the past two years (like the pandemic, and crisis in Ukraine).
  • India’s role in providing vaccines to the least developed countries had been applauded by all.


Way ahead: The possibility of “minilaterals” (like G20, which are more democratic) taking centre stage in global affairs if the UNSC refuses to make any progress.


Conclusion: The reform requires not just the P-5 but also smaller groupings within the UN structure to be engaged in the broader discussion on the reform.


Insta Links:

UNSC Summit: A ground plan for India’s reformed multilateralism


Mains Links:

Q. Compare the significance of IBSA and BRICS in the context of India’s multilateral diplomacy. (UPSC 2012)


Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air’.
  2. The UNCAC is the ever-first legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.
  3. A highlight of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the inclusion of a specific chapter aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners from whom they had been taken illicitly.
  4. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated by its member States to assist in the implementation of both UNCAC and UNTOC.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

    1. 1 and 3 only
    2. 2, 3 and 4 only
    3. 2 and 4 only
    4. 1, 2, 3 and 4


Ans: 3