How to Maintain International Unity on Ukraine (Part II)

by Sarah CliffeKarina Gerlach, Hanny Megally, Faiza Shaheen, Leah Zamore

This piece is the second part to our analysis published in early April on what it would take to maintain international unity on Ukraine. In the first analysis, we noted the large number of countries that abstained from or voted against the resolution suspending Russia’s membership in the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, including nine out of the ten most populous countries in the world.

2022 IMF Spring Meetings Photo: IMF Photo/Allison Shelley (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In this analysis, we identified four reasons why many countries in the Global South are concerned about the West’s approach to Ukraine: their public opinion, which in some countries trends against NATO; anger over double standards; the adverse impact of the war socially and economically; and what is viewed as an over-domineering process of lobbying for support.

Here we focus on what the pro-Ukraine coalition could do to deal with these concerns and in the process restore trust that global interests and perspectives are being addressed. There is a need for a change in the narrative and in diplomatic action to demonstrate that the Western concern for the rule of law and accountability for human rights abuses that has been voiced so strongly for Ukraine applies equally to crises in the rest of the world—a renewed global commitment brought about through realization of the importance of international law and human rights norms, not an exclusive push against one country. These narrative, normative aspects are important. The thrust of this piece, however, is that they should also be underpinned by practical financing measures to provide equitable assistance to the rest of the world to recover from COVID-19 and cushion the economic and social shocks of the Ukraine war.

We describe five measures that the pro-Ukraine Western alliance could take to facilitate access to finance for recovery to the rest of the world, with little impact on their own budgets; alongside ways to finance assistance to Ukraine itself that would minimize the diversion of resources from other countries. Some of the measures discussed are somewhat technical, but the thrust of the argument is political, not developmental. The Global South want to see the North follow through on promised collective action, after two years of disappointment over the global COVID-19 response—including both vaccine nationalism and highly inequitable access to financing—and it will be disastrous in political terms if they see resources being granted to Ukraine that have been withheld from other countries.

[ Read the full analysis: How to Maintain International Unity on Ukraine (Part II) ]

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May 31, 2022