The United Nations and the North-South Partnership: Connecting the Past to the Future

Ramesh Thakur

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    As part of the special issue on The United Nations at Seventy-Five: Looking Back to Look Forward, this essay connects the past of the United Nations to its future from the perspective of the Global South. When the UN was created, most developing countries were colonies that played no role in writing the rules and designing the architecture of the post-1945 UN-centric global multilateral order. Today, countries in the Global South command a majority of the UN membership, but still mostly function as norm takers and are severely underrepresented in the UN Security Council-which functions as the geopolitical cockpit- A nd also in the senior ranks of the UN system, in the key posts in the Secretariat, and in the UN's funds and agencies. Gradually, however, these countries are using their numerical strength to give voice to their distinctive preferences, priorities, and values. This essay provides a broad-brush sketch of the changing nature of the North-South partnership on the UN's four overarching normative mandates of security, development, environment, and human rights. It includes a brief comment on the coronavirus pandemic within the framework of its main narrative of the continuing need for a UN-centric North-South partnership.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)305-317
    Number of pages13
    JournalEthics and International Affairs
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


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