It’s time for the Red Berets-THE HINDU-09-04-2020
Its responsibility is to monitor threats to public health and inform and advise the member states. The fight against COVID-19 has to be on a war footing. The only UN body which has the training for assembling fighting forces for emergencies is the Department of Peace Operations.
It should hold an emergency meeting and authorise the UN Secretary General to put together a force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The mandate of the Charter should be interpreted to emphasise that this is the greatest threat to international peace and security. Member states should be requested to send not only troops, but also police, health workers and equipment. Instead of competing with each other for leadership of the post-COVID-19 world, let them help create a post-COVID-19 world.
So far COVID-19 has spread in relatively prosperous regions of the world, which have stable infrastructure and health systems. Most Chapter VII resolutions determine the existence of a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression in accordance with Article 39, and make a decision explicitly under Chapter VII. A UNSC Resolution is considered to be ‘a Chapter VII resolution’ if it makes an explicit determination that the situation under consideration constitutes a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression, and/or explicitly/ implicitly states that the UNSC is acting under Chapter VII in the adoption of some or all operative paragraphs.
Chapter VII resolutions are very rarely isolated measures. Often the first response to a crisis is a resolution demanding the crisis be ended. This is later followed by an actual resolution detailing the measures required to secure compliance with the first resolution. Sometimes dozens of resolutions are passed over time to modify and extend the mandate of the first Chapter VII resolution.
Several resolutions are in circulation, but none under Chapter VII. The first step will be to pass a resolution to take action to end the crisis and authorise the Secretary General to request member states to make personnel available. Meanwhile, another resolution must spell out the modalities of the operation. The UN’s relevance will be established and there will be concrete action taken to end the pandemic.