IS, Ebola, regional conflicts posed challenges for UN
Violence reared its ugly head again in the Middle East where conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014 killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including children.
Conflict in global hotspots of Syria, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Iraq and South Sudan at times both united and divided the UN but the world body was unanimous in condemning the senseless acts of terror perpetrated by the deadly terror groups like ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front.
The year saw headway on action by nations on tackling climate change and at a high-level meeting in Lima, governments put in place the building blocks for a meaningful, universal climate change agreement in Paris next year.
Countries agreed on a draft negotiating text to serve as the basis for the next round of negotiations beginning in February in Geneva and provided clarity on the mitigation and other commitments to be included in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions.
India hailed the outcome of the climate summit, saying the deal addresses concerns of the developing countries and gives them enough space to grow and take appropriate nationally determined steps to combat global warming.
Linking climate change, development and responsible energy consumption, Modi, in his maiden address to the UNGA in September proposed commemorating an International Day of Yoga as he underscored the “invaluable gift” of the ancient Indian tradition that “embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well being.”
Less than three months after Modi initiated the idea, the 193-member General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted an India- led resolution to declare June 21 every year as ‘International Day of Yoga’, recognising that “yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being,” an echo of Modi’s remarks.
Not only was the resolution drafted, tabled and adopted at lightening fast speed, but 177 nations in the UN body came on board with India as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any General Assembly resolution.
India’s message for well-being and harmony through Yoga came as nations confronted upheavel caused by groups like the ISIS that continued to terrorise populations while committing atrocities.
The UN Security Council reiterated its pledge to counter the global terrorist threat by unanimously adopting a statement calling on Member States to increase cooperation in their efforts to address the perils posed by foreign terrorist fighters around the world.
According to UN, the number of foreign fighters in the Syria and Iraq conflicts alone has grown to over 15,000 from more than 80 countries.