22 June 2018

United Nations Secretary-General at Valdai Club

June 21st, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres attended a meeting held in the framework of the Valdai Club and devoted to the current trends in international relations. MGIMO’s Vice-Rector for Graduate and International Programs, Andrey Baykov and the Head of the Laboratory of International Trends Analysis Andrey Sushentsov participated in the discussions.

The guests mulled over a myriad of topics, including the challenges of global governance in the context of tensions between Russia and the West, the difficulties arising in the work of the UN Security Council, the non-respect of international interaction mechanisms. Unlike during the Cold War, we are not in a situation with two blocs led by two states, which have rallied other countries, but facing a new era during which many states act independently and unpredictably, among them Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The control mechanisms used during the Cold War are no longer effective and new problems are emerging such as global terrorism, climate change, refugee flows and cyber threats. These challenges require countries to join efforts and adhere to multilateral institutions.

In response to Andrey Sushentsov’s question about the effectiveness of the UN nowadays, Antonio Guterres noted that in the absence of a balance of power, multilateral institutions lose their effectiveness and that is why the current situation must be overcome. In turn, Andrey Baykov asked about the qualities necessary to have a successful career in the United Nations system and the Secretary-General underlined the need to remedy the gender gap within the organization and increase the proportion of diplomats from non-Western countries.

Despite the challenges currently faced by the organization, Antonio Guterres expressed optimism regarding the future of the UN, noting that the world is currently in a transition period and that chaos is not a «new normal» but a situation that can be overcome through multilateral cooperation.

— See the MGIMO web-site for russian version