On October 8 at 15:30 Moscow time (GMT + 3), the Valdai Discussion Club held an online discussion, titled “How Do We See the UN in the 21st Century?”
The UN did not approach its 75th anniversary in the best shape. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly complicated its work, and also caused a new wave of accusations of inefficiency against the global organization and its specialized agencies. Discussions about the fate of the UN and the need to reform it have continued since the end of the Cold War. Many international studies are devoted to this issue. The two most recent fundamental works of the Valdai Discussion Club's team of authors – the special report “Staying Sane in a Crumbling World”, released in May, and the annual report “The Utopia of a Diverse World: How History Goes On”, which is being prepared for publication, also address this problem.
The Valdai Club emphasizes that the activities of the UN, despite the flaws in the organization, are of undisputable value for the international community. Under the current conditions, there are no alternatives to the UN, and it is not possible to create them. If the world fails to preserve this institution, transition to a fierce international struggle is inevitable. A special responsibility for preventing such a scenario lies with the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In his video address to the UN General Assembly in September this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed to the need to reform the UN Security Council, but only while maintaining the veto right for the permanent members of the body. According to him, this right of the five nuclear powers “remains indicative of the actual military and political balance” and “prevents unilateral actions.”
What is the main task of the UN today? What reforms does the organization need? How feasible are these reforms? Could there be an alternative to the UN? Has the UN passed the pandemic test? The participants in the expert discussion answered these and other questions.
Timofey Bordachev, Programne Director of the Valdai Discussion Club
Jean Marie Guéhenno, UN Deputy Secretary General (2000-2008)
Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club