Why is UN Security Council struggling to pass a resolution on corona pandemic?

The corona pandemic has exposed the institutional paralyses in the UN Security Council. This comes at a time when the world is desperately in the need of a coordinated response to the crisis.

Time and again, its most crucial mandate has been reiterated as “maintaining international peace and security” and yet the question of the mandate of UN Security Council keeps coming up for debate.

As closed-door meetings are not an option these days, UN Security Council decided to hold a virtual session on 9th April after much delay to discuss the corona pandemic. Not that efforts have not been made earlier to hold a discussion on the pandemic, but the geo-political rivalry between Washington and Beijing has cornered an issue of existential proportions.

trump and UNSC

President Trump has been adamant on his condition that any resolution on the pandemic should, in very clear terms, mention that the virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The intention is to malign China’s international reputation and hold it solely responsible for a disaster of such scale. This move is very well in sync with Trump’s earlier approach of accusing China of not playing a fair game, be it trade or a pandemic.

Chinese leadership, which is already in a mode of damage control is strictlyagainst any such step. In order to counter the accusations, Beijing’s diplomats have argued that corona pandemic is an issue of global public health and therefore, does not fall under the mandate of the UN Security Council. Moreover, to prevent US from dominating the language of the resolution, China is trying hard to push in its own statement that praises its efforts in containing the virus.

While it still remains to be seen whether or not the geo-political rivalry between US and China will allow a meaningful resolution to be passed on the pandemic, the question regarding the mandate of the UN Security Council has been answered openly by the current Council President who stated that the corona pandemic does fall under the UN Security Council’s mandate.

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