It is incomprehensible that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has held its Fifth Consultation on Our Common Agenda (Fifth Consultation) on 10 March at the same time as 2.597 million Ukrainians, men, women and children, have been forced to flee their country which is being reduced to rubble following Russia’s invasion on 24 February.
Our Common Agenda is an 85 page Report prepared by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in 2021 following the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations when:
“Member States agreed that our challenges are interconnected, across borders and all other divides. These challenges can only be addressed by an equally interconnected response, through reinvigorated multilateralism and the United Nations at the centre of our efforts. Member States asked me to report back with recommendations to advance our common agenda. This report is my response.”
This utopian talkfest discussing Guterres’ personal ego trip into fantasyland should have been postponed – using the precious time gained to formulate and recommend concrete action that can be taken by the UNGA against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - which mandates the UNGA.
“to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace”
The UNGA and its Secretary-General are living in a dream world - whilst the real world is drifting dangerously towards World War III as US President Joe Biden warned on 12 March.
In the midst of this worst turmoil in Europe since World War II – Guterres had the temerity to tell the Fifth Consultation:
“A multi-faceted war is raging in the heart of Europe, in violation of the United Nations Charter.
"We need a serious effort to improve global governance, manage risks and safeguard the global commons and global public goods.
"This is not only about the United Nations, or any other institution.
"It is about working together to solve our biggest problems, through existing structures if they are fit for purpose, and new or reinvigorated frameworks where needed.
"Failure to do so increases the likelihood that our children, or their children, are forced to rebuild the international order in the aftermath of catastrophe.
"I have therefore asked my High-Level Advisory Board on Global Public Goods to provide us with concrete recommendations for improved global governance.“
In Our Common Agenda – the Secretary-General had issued a call to identify and review the governance of global public goods (GPGs) and the global commons (GCs). Guterres announced the formation of a High-Level Advisory Board (HLAB) to develop an independent report in support of this objective. The report would reflect substantive research into GPGs and GC’s ahead of the 2023 Summit of the Future.
GPGs are goods whose benefits cross borders and are global in scope. For example, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions that will slow global warming.
GCs describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found - the earth's shared natural resources, such as the high oceans, the atmosphere and outer space and the Antarctic.
The UNGA and Secretary-General Guterres have their heads and feet in the clouds pursuing Nirvana – whilst Ukraine goes up in smoke before their very eyes and they continue to do absolutely nothing to isolate Russia as an international pariah and hold Russia accountable for flagrantly violating the UN Charter.
In his closing remarks to the Fifth Consultation Guterres arrogantly asserted:
“We cannot afford to be distracted or deterred from our essential work by the current crisis.”
Guterres and the UNGA will go down on history's blacklist for that statement. They will definitely receive no plaudits for this insensitive and highly offensive statement from the 44 million Ukrainian citizens whose lives have become a living hell.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.