UN facing hard choices and difficult decisions, with world’s nations waiting to exhale!

WITHIN hours of attending the glitzy national send-off for Britain’s dearly-departed Queen Elizabeth II in London, leaders flew off to New York for the 77th United Nations General Assembly, the first for new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss as Britain wakes up to the fact that life continues, as sure as day follows night.

But Britain is not alone.

Europe is all wrapped up in unprecedented weather and Climate Change crises, alongside post-COVID and Ukraine War realities that have led to clashing and opposite effects and expectations in many cases, with one war going nowhere, and another underway, both in Eastern Europe, and another shaping up in Asia, around Taiwan.

Same in the USA, where inflation and recession are similarly sparking as much concern as across the Atlantic, just over two months before mid-term elections that’ll be the usual yardstick for measuring public reaction to the first half of the Biden presidency, and Democrats and Republicans are again going head-to-head, with no holds barred and all holes unplugged, to see which can drown the other on November 4.

Here too, the world is anxiously waiting to exhale, to see whether Donald Trump will overcome his many legal troubles and become a presidential contender in 2024.

But if the 2020 and 2021 UN General Assemblies were overwhelmed by concern about COVID-19 and the worsening of Climate Change and economic storms caused by Supply Chain-related blues, this year’s comes at a time when the entire world is in full transition from old days and ways to more New Norms than came with ‘COVID’, or the supply-chain problems that have driven prices of all imports up, and the energy prices that have doubled, trebled and quadrupled in non-oil producing countries, as well as those oil-and-gas economies with production historically tailored only or mainly for export.

In 2022, unipolarity is increasingly replacing and threatening age-old systems of cooperation between nations and across political frontiers, concepts of exceptionalism and indispensability trumping global cooperation when most needed, as the richest nations continue to look more inward and stop reaching out to the needy majority; and while the movers and shakers of world affairs take the gauntlets to each other, the rest of the world continues to only witness.

Now, more than ever, the real picture of the difference between the global Haves and Have Nots is laid bare everywhere for all to see, as the trickle-down approach to economic development is proving, as always, that the objective of the rich is usually to get richer and not necessarily to channel riches down to communities and people in societies where Free Market competition is encouraged, no longer only by rags-to-riches stories, but also by the revolving rich-getting-richer ones that see the title of ‘World’s Richest Man’ changing hands in the same small circle each time, while the richest one per cent gets fewer, and poverty accelerates everywhere for all the rest.

Now more than ever, too, the nations of the world need to come to grips with facing the common and different but growing negative realities staring Planet Earth in the face, which together create added challenges necessitating added urgency to the search for and finding of solutions.

Like with traditional medicine and chemical tablets, the taste of getting better isn’t always pleasant, but what counts is the end result, hence why governments and people facing hard times must make hard choices and take difficult decisions — and those that can should care for those that can’t.

Traditional North-South ties are today evoking memories of past East-West tensions, while nuclear armies are gearing up for military adventures that can wipe out Humankind by simple error, or miscalculation.

And while 14 former British and European colonies in today’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can’t even get a response from the United Kingdom (UK) or the European Union (EU) to their 2013 joint appeal for talks with member states concerned about Reparations for Slavery and Native Genocide 500 years after Columbus opened the way for European conquests, in less than eight months the world’s richest nations have coughed-up over US$100 Billion for continuing the war in Ukraine, which has already cost too many lives on both sides; so many that neither is offering verifiable numbers.

But tens of thousands of families on both sides know, and are counting the real costs of the war dead, while billions the world over are feeling and suffering from the collateral damage of sanctions and shortages, costs and losses, as entire populations feel the new burdens in different ways.

It is against this background that Caribbean and Commonwealth leaders attending the 2022 General Assembly meeting must ensure their resolutions and declarations not only add more problems to the UN’s never-ending ‘To-Do List’, but also accelerate efforts to find ways and means to implement agreements, deliver on pledges and promises, and walk the talk behind their useful speeches.

UN General Assemblies need to become more of assemblies of nations recounting successes than identifying global failures, with diplomacy taking on a new role of responding more quickly with fruitful actions than annually or always repeating statements of intent or regret with new words.

But, as per usual, it all depends on the political will of each and every leader addressing the assembly — and their respective governments – to be counted among those who’ll go down in world history as among those who tabled the problems, identified the challenges, and took concerted actions to address them in ways people not only feel, but also understand.

Like The Commonwealth, the UN is also on the cusp of change, and much of what is said and done in New York this time will have implications for its continuing relevance as the world’s biggest and most reputable multinational entity with the best means of harnessing all minds to face and overcome the common problems confronting Humanity, natural or caused by humans.

It’s all in the leaders’ hands.

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