China’s growing influence at the UN
The results revealed that China occupies a dominant position in several critical multilateral bodies, both in terms of personnel and funding.
The most important are the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Food Organization and the agriculture (FAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The links are obvious. ITU sets global telecommunications standards, where Chinese Huawei is a major player. UNIDO was created to encourage industrialization in developing countries, but its importance declined as countries deemed it unnecessary, leaving China in the driver’s seat.
China immediately linked UNIDO to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which UNIDO now endorses.
China’s positioning at ICAO, which sets air navigation and safety standards, ensured that during the pandemic, Taiwan was excluded from all discussions, just as it was with the Organization. World Health Organization (WHO), over which China has a disproportionate influence.
In October 2020, as the world writhed in the pain of Covid-19, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) held triennial elections to select 15 new members.
Despite its appalling human rights record and the human and economic devastation inflicted by Covid around the world, China was elected a member with the lowest number of votes. Now he’s here, with a burst of credibility provided by the UN, according to the study.
Then, on May 4, China was further integrated into the United Nations system. Chinese Vice Minister at the Ministry of Commerce Xiangchen Zhang has been appointed one of four new Deputy Directors General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) along with the United States, France and Costa Rica.
The candidate from India lost.
While the world was preoccupied with opening up China’s domestic market, China has spent years preparing to dominate and leave its mark on the external global system. In fact, it’s been on China’s global agenda since 1992, according to the study.
In 1997, China was a member of 20% of multilateral organizations, up from 12% in 1989, and in 2002, it began to create new ones, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Over the past two decades, since joining the WTO in 2001, China has decided to influence the global multilateral system.
Participation has become more sophisticated over the years. China has carefully chosen groups of agencies to lead, whose work can be nested and linked to its own national agendas such as “ Made in China 2025 ” and the rise of Chinese companies. The multilateral agenda includes the creation of new global standards for technology, which can be led by China and its national champion companies.
These, in turn, are linked to China’s foreign policy strategy led by the Belt and Road Initiative, which has its own expansion plans – the digital Silk Road, the spatial Silk Road. and the Silk Road of health. The growing influence is made possible by the increase in China’s monetary contribution to the UN, both mandatory as a UN member, and more and more voluntary donations. According to this study, they increased by 1096% and 346% respectively from 2010 to 2019.6
The study found that China is present either as chief or deputy in almost all critical international agencies.
China directly heads four of the 15 major United Nations agencies – FAO, UNIDO, ITU, ICAO.
Chinese MPs are present in nine of the 15 agencies – World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), IMO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), WHO and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The study indicates that China influences UN agencies through its proxies. The current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhenoum Ghebreysus was elected with China’s backing in 2017. He is Ethiopia’s former Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs, who is one of the most major beneficiaries of Chinese investments in Africa.
WHO was previously chaired for 10 years by Margaret Chan from Hong Kong. Delayed warnings from the WHO and travel restrictions regarding the pandemic in China are a devastating result globally due to the influence of China.
The study indicates that China also has a network of its nationals, who are career professionals or diplomats, at lower levels of the United Nations system. These officers, who entered the United Nations system laterally, or through the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) program, are expected to be impartial but may not be.
Some agencies are still firmly in the grip of Western powers. For example, the World Bank is with the United States, the IMF with the EU, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) with the United Kingdom and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with France. China has grown here too – it has its people in leadership positions in financial institutions, for example: Shaolin Yang at the World Bank and Tao Zhang at the IMF.
In institutions where China does not occupy any position, such as the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and UN-Habitat, it has signed memorandums of understanding between these UN agencies and its Road Belt and Initiative through relevant national ministries, often leveraging its voluntary funding capacity.
Thus, in effect, China’s foreign policy agenda is endorsed and co-promoted by the UN.
In terms of assessed contributions, at 12 percent of the total, China is the second-largest donor. Its voluntary donations also increased, from $ 51 million in 2010 to $ 172 million in 2019, an increase of 346% in nine years. Together, China becomes the fifth largest donor to the UN. This has implications. The study shows that where China does not run an organization, it almost certainly makes voluntary contributions. Voluntary contributions allow UN fund and program agencies to manage their special projects, as only day-to-day administrative expenses are covered by the UN’s core budget, according to the study.
So when China contributes $ 7.5 million to UNDP, it can influence the way development projects are implemented. China is increasingly involved in the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPO) through a recent $ 1 billion pledge to the United Nations Peace and Development Fund – as the largest donor. This is seen by some as a way for China to keep tabs on its investments in Africa.
Finally, even if Chinese nationals, its government or its ministries are not prominent at the UN, its state-owned enterprises are. The International Seabed Authority, which is> awarded five contracts to Chinese. companies for deep-sea mining of polymetallic nodules, sulphides and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts, according to the study.
san / ksk /