The United Nations is struggling to maintain its importance in a world characterized by power shifts and rising tensions. Although the world organization and its former Secretary-General played a crucial role in securing milestones such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, many challenges remain. Conflicts, terrorism, forced migration and state fragility remain perpetually on the Security Council agenda, with Syria being a constant reminder of the inability of the organ to act decisively. The UN also suffers from charges of inefficiency and costliness in a time where multilateralism seems less and less popular, and threats of funding cuts loom over the organization. Moreover, its peacekeeping troops operate in the shadow of abuse charges and it is unclear who guards the guardians. Many questions arise at a time when trust in the UN seems to be declining: Can the UN maintain its relevance? What are the main challenges of the organization? What is the role, if any, of the newly selected Secretary-General Guterres? Can responsible leadership change the course? The aim of the seminar is twofold; on the one hand it seeks to discuss the current situation and challenges of the UN, on the other hand it seeks to take the discussion further by discussing the role of leadership in the world organization.
Efraim Gómez, Deputy Director-General, Head of the UN Policy Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Swedish Government
Jan Klabbers, Martti Ahtisaari Academy Professor, Deputy Director, Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki
Comments: Katja Creutz, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Chair: Mika Aaltola, Programme Director, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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