UNSC undermining General Assembly’s authority: India

United Nations, March 20 (IANS) Criticising the Security Council for “undermining” the authority of the General Assembly, India has said that the 193-member body has to assume some of the blame because of its focus on procedures rather than substantive matters.

The prerogative and authority of the 193-member General Assembly, “which is the closest institution to a world parliament,” have been “progressively undermined by the Security Council through its frequent attempts to redefine its scope of competence through wider and permissive interpretations of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security”, K. Nagaraj Naidu, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative, said on Monday.

The Council is “engaging in discussions on issues that clearly fall within the purview of the General Assembly”, he added.

But at the same time, he said, “a part of the blame for this situation must also be taken by the General Assembly and its member states for focusing on procedures rather than addressing the substantive issues”.

He said “the General Assembly must be in the vanguard of global agenda-setting” and “take the lead in setting the global agenda and in restoring the centrality of the UN in formulating multilateral approaches to resolving transnational issues”.

For this, he said, “The political will and commitment of member states are required to reinforce the role and authority of the Assembly as mandated by the UN Charter”.

“A revitalised General Assembly must focus on substantive deliberations rather than spending considerable time and resources on procedural issues,” he added.

He, however, did not give any example of the Assembly’s focus on procedures at the cost of substantive issues during his brief speech at the session on the role and authority of the General Assembly.

An instance of it is the long-stalled negotiations on Council reforms in the General Assembly that have failed to make headway because of opposition from a small minority of members to even adopting a negotiating text to conduct meaningful negotiations.

India has in the past criticised what it it called the “mission creep” of the 15-member Security Council.

Even while it has been unable to deal with the urgent threats to international peace like Syria because the veto powers of the permanent members force it into inaction, the Security Council has started to take up issues like climate change by asserting that they have the potential to impact international peace and security.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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