Pakistan has made a pertinent case at the United Nations General Assembly as it reminded the member states that the world is far from being serene, and challenges of environment and pandemic are an ugly reality. The setting in of new power dynamics, especially the return of the world towards bipolarity, and the deliberately ignored arms race are other factors that will keep billions of people on tenterhooks. There can’t be an exception to this synopsis.
Apparently, this is why these views coincided with the remarks of the UNGA President, who also called for an emphasis on building a culture of coexistence. The 76th session of the world body, which resumed this week, has come at a time when the world is once again slipping into a renewed wave of infectious variants, posing the danger of a worst economic recession.
It is, however, a welcome development that there is a realisation towards attending to climate change and the ensuing rise in pandemic cases. It seems the next few years shall remain bogged down with these two irresistible issues that are, indeed, faceless enemies of our times. Thus, provision of universal vaccination is a must and that too in an apolitical environment. This calls for reiterating the UN’s 2030 Agenda to ensure sustainable and inclusive recovery.
But the limelight observation came from Pakistan as its permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Munir Akram, reminded that deliberations in the General Assembly “cannot be divorced from the real world”. The bitter fact is that the hard-earned consensus on disarmament is eroding, and major powers are in a race for repositioning themselves at the cost of world security. The balance sheet is more chaos and confusion, as territorial, political and self-determination issues remain far from resolved.
The essence and utility of the UNGA was ‘Uniting for Peace’, and this is what remains the unattained agenda of the world body. This necessitates all member states to go back to the basics of the UN Charter, and carve out a better place to live in. While the last many decades were consumed by wars and terrorism, the years to come pose existential challenges in the form of climate and disease concerns.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2022.