India on Tuesday accused the United Nations Security Council of “progressively” undermining the authority of the General Assembly on matters that constitute a threat to international peace and security. The General Assembly was partly to blame for this as it focused more on procedures than on addressing important issues, said Ambassador K Nagaraj Naidu, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN.
“The primacy of the General Assembly flows from the universality of its membership and the principle of sovereign equality of all its members,” Naidu said at an ad-hoc working group on the ‘Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly’. “The ownership of Assembly’s deliberations and decisions are reflected in the widest possible participation of the full membership of the UN which is unmatched by any other organ.”
However, there is a general feeling that the Security Council has progressively undermined the authority of the General Assembly through its attempts to redefine its scope of competence. The council has been doing this by opening up the interpretations of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security and by engaging in discussions on issues falling within the purview of the General Assembly, he said.
The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the UN and the only one in which all member states, 193 of them, have equal representation. The Security Council, with 15 members, is mainly responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Under the UN Charter, all member states are obligated to comply with decisions taken by the Security Council.
Naidu said it is vital that the main organs of the UN work in synergy with one another, while respecting their respective mandates given by the UN Charter.
“The General Assembly must be in the vanguard of global agenda-setting and lead the multilateral process for finding solutions to the challenges faced by the world,” 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.”
Naidu also called upon the Assembly to focus more on substantive discussions rather than spending time and resources on procedural issues. “The General Assembly, which is the closest institution to a world parliament, must take the lead in setting the global agenda and in restoring the centrality of the United Nations in formulating multilateral approaches to resolving transnational issues,” he said.