Credibility of UN Security Council under spotlight during world health crisis

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The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) will hold a session on the novel coronavirus on Thursday, amid rising questions over its credibility at times of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

The session marks their first meeting on how the pandemic could affect international security. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief the 15 members in a closed-door virtual meeting, the council’s current president, the Dominican Republic, announced Monday evening. Germany and eight other elected council members requested the meeting, according to information seen by the German Press Agency (DPA). Diplomats said China, in particular, seemed to be skeptical about a meeting, citing fears that countries might point fingers at Beijing.

The council has garnered criticism for so far failing to reach a common position on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on international security. Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told The New York Times that the already divided UNSC had “completely disappeared” in the crisis. U.N. chief Guterres, who has described the pandemic as the greatest challenge since World War II, recently expressed his displeasure at the slow pace of global action.

The current structure of the UNSC has long been criticized by some world leaders, stressing that the fate of the world cannot depend on just five states, referring to the veto power of the five permanent member states of the UNSC. The leaders have also urged that significant reforms be made to make the international body more effective to resolve world crises. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the U.N. in an annual summit, saying that the current structure of the organization is an obstacle to resolving ongoing problems around the world. In his speech, Erdoğan said, “The world is bigger than five,” together with other leaders who criticized the outdated structure of the UNSC.

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