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Tyranny of veto power must end

Jul 31,2019 - Last updated at Jul 31,2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has recently added her voice to the chorus of voices calling for reforming the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after having failed to address the growing menace of trade wars between nations compounded by the arbitrary use of economic sanctions against countries whose policies appear objectionable or hostile to some capitals.

To be sure, it is not only the WTO that is overdue for reform, as the UN itself and its organs, including the Security Council, badly need reforms as well. Other UN specialised agencies and organs, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also await revisits with a view to make them more cost-effective and productive in the real sense of the word. The World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Development Programme to name but a few also require urgent reforms.

These reforms call for an ambitious and comprehensive action plan that is based on an international consensus, something which is not easy to realise. It is a Herculean task to even begin thinking about reforming all international bodies, but a start must be made, beginning with the UN itself to set an example for all other international bodies to follow suit.

It is no secret that the UN has lost much of its credibility and effectiveness in addressing international and regional conflicts, and is now held with contempt by many states. As long as the UN, the "mother" of all other international mechanisms, is dysfunctional and irrelevant, all other international organs would suffer the same fate.

The process of revamping international organisations must begin with the UN itself to set an example for all other subsidiaries to do the same.

It is a well-known fact that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council must agree to conduct any such reforms, beginning with the Security Council itself. Until now, this much remains a tall order and beyond reach.

That is why reforming all international mechanisms remains a dream rather than a reality as long as the big five powers enjoy their veto power. This tyranny must end one day and the sooner the better!

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