The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, hailed Britain’s role in his organisation yesterday during an interview on the BBC. For those inclined to nostalgia Mr Guterres’s comments were no doubt appealing. But we shouldn’t be fooled. The UK’s influence in the UN is fading.
“In New York, the decline in UK influence is palpable. It’s partly Brexit, but not only,” said Ian Martin, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Libya 2011-12, told a Chatham House meeting this week. Natalie Samarasinghe of United Nations Association UK, agreed: “At the UN, Asian and African countries now more likely to talk to France. Britain needs to adjust to its role as a middle-ranking power.”
Is the UN fit for purpose?