Following huge tensions in the UN Security Council in particular regarding the Syrian war, the diplomats of 15 member states have convened today Friday for a weekend of informal talks in a country house in southern Sweden. The General Secretary António Guterres will also be in attendance. Just how important is the work of the United Nations these days?
The United Nations is crippled
In view of the numerous global crises the daily Upsala Nya Tidning looks pessimistically at the meeting that is being held at the estate of the highly popular late UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld:
“The Syrian war has created a rift between the superpowers greater than any that has existed since the Cold War. Since the war in Syria started in 2011 Russia has vetoed twelve resolutions - often together with China. The council is almost totally crippled. ... The EU needs a new Hammarskjöld. Right now Putin, Erdoğan and other authoritarian leaders have seized the initiative while the UN is struggling with accusations of abuse and corruption. Hammarskjöld's spirit will be in Backåkra this weekend. But it is highly doubtful that any of those present will sense it or be influenced by it.”
Indispensable in spite of everything
Despite all its shortcomings the United Nations still plays an important role in the world, Sydsvenskan insists:
“Refugees from around the world can rely on the UNHCR. UN organizations like the WHO do invaluable work. The development of a global climate agreement was laborious and time-consuming but it is hard to imagine that such a thing could have been achieved at all without the UN. And there are plenty more such examples. It makes a difference that the UN exists. It is tragic that people barely notice this difference, but that is the fault of the members rather than the organisation.”