Tales from the Edict 35 - A Difficult Birth
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
The UN solar Assembly came into existence on January 1st, 2030. The preceding 18 months had been spent wrangling among remaining partner countries of the ISS, prospective new partners and the on notice US. Despite a myriad of objections, funding doubts and the difficulties in formulating a new overarching mission for an as yet hypothetical Intergovernmental Organisation (IGO), the UN Solar Assembly, led by the British delegation, formally came into being with the goodwill of all member states of the UN.
By handing over the ‘keys’ for the ISS to the UN (this took place with little fanfare for obvious reasons in April 2030), the US effectively made the space station a gift to all 195 widely recognised nations in the world with equivalent access rights — although the US would continue to embargo Chinese and North Korean technical involvement well into the following decade. As a major contributor to the UN, America continued to wield influence over the ISS, but this became more a political issue for successive administrations than a technical one since the ISS was now over thirty years old. To rest of the world, the foundation of the UN Solar Assembly and the handing over of the ISS represented the start of a new era of collegiate space exploration and was universally headline news.
Within a month it was all but forgotten as the world economic system continued to teeter of the edge of a financial abyss. Currencies and then countries went to the wall. Giant economies stopped functioning; ships were stranded on the high seas, planes remained grounded wherever they were; trade dried up. Two weeks was all it took for supermarkets to run out of produce, workers went without pay, pensions were not paid. The higher up the social ladder, the further the fall. Some countries like France simply stopped functioning, save for emergency systems. In places people continued to do the work essential to the running of society, but in others there was militancy, demands that someone sort the problems out, protest, violence.
The UN, dependent as it was on the consent and support of governments, found itself without leadership. The organisation as it was, had always been at best neutral in a bipolar world. At worst, it was the plaything of bureaucrats and dilettante politicians, a sandbox where a nation and its people could play-act on a bigger stage. But now, a great many of the same amateur politicians and professional administrative staff were having to work real world problems as their countries succumbed to economic woes.
With twenty-four member states suffering total economic collapse including all twelve South American sovereign states, the UN was beyond effective functioning. All the major economic powers were either embattled or gearing up to aid allies and foes alike. In the dark weeks and months of 2030, it fell to CANZUKI to keep the ISS on station. India provided the launch capabilities and on May 11th a GSLV Mk III launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre with a Kamadhenu (Hindi meaning ‘cow of plenty’) supply capsule. On board were supplies to maintain the current five-member crew for a 12-month period. It would be a year before the next mission docked with ISS and a member of the UN Solar assembly formally set foot on the new UN outpost.