The UN is turning 75 and nobody comes to the party.

Almost nobody.

Because of Corona, the more than 190 heads of state and government will be congratulating at the General Assembly, which began this week, from home via video.

Only Donald Trump, a fighter against multilateralism with the battle cry "America First", wants to perform live in New York.

He of all people, of all things this year.


"We will leave no one behind, we will leave no one behind."

The vow that the UN took for the next few years sounds more helpless than combative in 2020.


The organization of the international community is grappling with a paradox: the next decade will decide whether the world will end up in a permanent ecological and economic state of emergency.

Never in its history has the UN been so much needed as in these times of multiple crises, from corona to climate, from growing injustice to the threat of war.

And at the same time, they have never been so badly damaged financially and politically in their history.

A moth-eaten blue UN flag - this is how the British

Economist

illustrated

the state of the United Nations 75 years after its foundation in an article on the "unhappy birthday".

The USA, still the most powerful member state and the largest contributor, is leading a phalanx of right-wing populist and right-wing extremist governments, for whom multilateralism, including the UN, is a left-liberal world conspiracy.

The Security Council, which, according to the UN Charter, is primarily responsible for maintaining world peace, is currently mostly doing the opposite, with dramatic consequences for the people of Syria and for international humanitarian law.


The UN Secretariat is coming under increasing pressure when it wants to point out abuses in member countries.

In recent years, for example, Saudi Arabia has successfully threatened to cancel funds if the UN Secretary-General should publicly accuse the kingdom of war crimes in the Yemen conflict.

Failed peace missions and an overloaded bureaucracy unwilling to reform have also damaged the company's reputation.


Empty boardrooms and video switches

And now also Corona.

Those who hoped for a healing shock from the pandemic in the spring were quickly mistaken.

Sub-organizations such as the World Food Program (WFP) and the much-scolded World Health Organization (WHO) have achieved an enormous amount in the lockdown.

But everything stayed the same on the big floor.

Diplomats sympathetic to the UN describe empty boardrooms and video switches in frustration.

The quick dialogue in the hallway in case of deadlocked negotiations or the preparatory personal meetings are central instruments of diplomacy that have not been used for months.

Video conferencing has turned out to be a gift for blockers, if only by simply not joining.

And yet the United Nations between Jakarta, Toronto and Stockholm is enjoying unbroken popularity.

More than half, often more than two-thirds of those questioned find the UN good, important and correct, the American Pew Research Center found in surveys in 32 countries in 2019.

Also in the USA.

Apparently people around the world do not identify the light blue UN flag with its episodes of failure, but rather see it as the success story.


Prepared "in the darkest hour" in the middle of World War II, says Achim Steiner, head of the UN development program UNDP, the United Nations had "prevented a third world war or even a nuclear strike since it was founded, significantly supported decolonization and meanwhile 193 member states with ever new common ones Rules and standards, for example to protect people and the environment, kept together. "

In the past 30 years in particular, new concepts for a global common good have been promoted under the umbrella of the UN: The "Sustainable Development Goals" adopted by all member states in 2015;

the hard-won Paris climate protection agreement;

the commitment to intervention in order to prevent the most serious crimes of a state against its civilian population;

Guidelines to protect smallholders from large investors;

a pool of experts who can investigate illegal trade in raw materials, arms smuggling or war crimes anytime, anywhere.