COVID pandemic provides context for UN’s rebirth, reform: PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi urged all nations, while celebrating 75 years of the UN, to pledge to reform the global multilateral system

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN is an opportunity to assess its role and relevance in today's world. Photo: PTI

Only reformed multilateralism can meet the aspirations of humanity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said. He was addressing the high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) session via a video link on Friday (July 17).

PM Modi said the United Nations was originally born from the furies of the Second World War and the fury of the COVID-19 pandemic provides the context for its ‘rebirth and reform.’ He said the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN was an opportunity to assess its role and relevance in today’s world.

Noting that a lot has changed since its formation, he said the UN now brings together 193 member countries and along with its membership, the expectations from the organisation have also grown.

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At the same time, multilateralism is facing many challenges, he said in the address – his first since India was overwhelmingly elected as a non-permanent member of the powerful Security Council last month.

“India firmly believes that the path to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity is through multilateralism… However, multilateralism needs to represent the reality of the contemporary world.

“Only reformed multilateralism with a reformed United Nations at its centre can meet the aspirations of humanity,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister urged all nations, while celebrating 75 years of the UN, to pledge to reform the global multilateral system.

He also called for enhancing the UN’s relevance, its effectiveness, and to make it the basis of a new type of human-centric globalisation. “The United Nations was originally born from the furies of the Second World War. Today, the fury of the pandemic provides the context for its rebirth and reform. Let us not lose this chance,” he asserted.

Referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, Modi said India has always prided itself as the first responder in the region – a friend in need. “Be it earthquakes, cyclones or any other natural or man-made crisis, India has responded with speed and solidarity. In our joint fight against COVID, we have extended medical and other assistance to over 150 countries.

“We also helped create a SAARC COVID emergency fund in our neighbourhood,” he said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested the resilience of all nations. In India, we have tried to make the fight against the pandemic a peoples movement, by combining the efforts of government and society,” he said.

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