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United Nations Matters – Former Australian PM

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NEW YORK – Amid the growing criticism of the United Nations, the sloth-stained world body, has undergone a transformation.

It has transformed from being a dynamic force that extinguishes fires around the world into a bloated and ineffective bureaucracy, there are also many who argue that it is better to have an imperfect UN than none at all.

Something along those lines, the tone was heard at the International Peace Institute in New York where the former Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, told a large audience that the UN matters and proffered his views to justify this perception. He explained however, that the world body will continue to be vital and fundamental to global stability.

Cautioning that “we must not take the existence of the UN for granted,” he emphasized that “the UN matters as a function of global order, but also because we can rediscover the principle of multilateralism”.

Those familiar with the complexities of the UN system are also struck by the behaviour of many states that increasingly try to work around rather than with the UN. However, Rudd, a fluent Mandarin speaker who is also the President of the New York-based Asia Society Policy Institute, maintained that the “UN is as strong as its member states want it to be”.

He made the matter-of-fact observation about the UN’s inability to stop the horrific tragedy and the mass atrocities in Syria and elsewhere, as well its ineffectual response to the refugee crisis, describing them as “just recent illustrations of its failures”.

The former Australian Prime Minister cited the widely hailed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September 2015 as an important roadmap for the organization’s work over the next 15 years. “The SDGs raised expectations,” he said. “We need to ensure their implementation, not the delivery of a failed report card.”

Rudd, an eloquent speaker displaying traits of a dynamic personality, had eyed for a nomination for the post of the UN’s secretary general before the selection process began but could not join in the race because his nomination was not proposed by the Australian Government.

The next secretary-general, who will assume office in January 2017, will need to actively ensure that the goals’ 179 targets in the areas of economic, environmental and social development are met, he said. Consequently, it will be a new “global compact between civil society and the UN” that would ensure they are fully monitored and implemented.

Rudd concluded that a more inclusive UN would be better suited to achieve the bold aims it has set for itself in the 2030 Agenda. – BERNAMA

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