United Nations: India has said it shares the “collective angst” of countries of the Global South that they have no voice at the UN Security Council high-table on core issues concerning them, as it joined nations in stressing that a representative UNSC is required to deal with the proliferation of global crises.
Several aspects of the United Nations system urgently require reform. Among these, the reform of the UN Security Council was identified as a critical and immediate priority, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said.
"In spite of that collective call, we have had no results to show so far. Why?” Kamboj asked.
Addressing the annual UN General Assembly Plenary Thursday on ‘Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council', Kamboj said "as a member of the Global South, we share its collective angst that on issues of core concern to the South, we have no voice at the high table.” She noted that 164 member states have joined in calling for a concrete text to serve as the foundation for negotiations on UNSC reform.
“This resounding support emphasises that any further delay in Security Council reform exacerbates its representational deficit. Representation, which stands as the unassailable prerequisite for both legitimacy and effectiveness,” Kamboj said.
At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN.
The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any resolution.
Kamboj voiced concern that 15 years since the inception of the Inter Governmental Negotiations on UNSC reforms, the dialogue between member states remains “largely confined to exchanging statements, speaking at, rather than with each other." "No negotiating text. No time frame. And no defined end goal. We turn up each, year make statements and go back to the drawing board," Kamboj said.
Further, she said the argument of consensus is pushed by the naysayers.
“That even before we begin text-based negotiations we must all agree on everything. Surely, we cannot have a more extreme case of putting the cart before the horse,” Kamboj said.
Germany, speaking on behalf of the Group of Four nations of Brazil, India, Japan and itself, said the urgency of reform cannot be overstated.
The current composition of the Security Council fails to reflect the contemporary geopolitical realities and does not provide the effectiveness to address current global challenges.
“It is no surprise, that, time and again, we have witnessed the Security Council unable to live up to expectations in addressing some of the most serious threats to international peace and security in a timely and effective manner,” the G4 nations said.
“These days, we are faced with a proliferation of crises that dramatically impact international peace and security. More than ever, we need a representative and well-functioning Security Council to fulfil its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. To make progress towards that goal is our responsibility,” the G4 nations added.
France voiced support for G4 nations to be permanent members of a reformed UNSC.
French envoy at the UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere asserted that Paris wants the Council to be more representative of today's world, in a way that further strengthens its authority, legitimacy and effectiveness.
“France supports the candidacy of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan as permanent members. We would also like to see a stronger presence of African countries, including among the permanent members. The remaining seats will have to be allocated so as to achieve equitable geographical representation,” he said.
The French envoy added that to preserve its executive and operational nature, an enlarged Council could have up to 25 members, including new permanent and non-permanent members.
Kamboj pointed out that under India's presidency of the G20, a significant stride was made by securing Africa a permanent seat at the table, "proving that with political determination, change is indeed achievable.
“This example serves as a compelling call to action: we must resolutely align the Council with its charter mandate to represent the interests of all member states. Such alignment is crucial for adeptly navigating the intricate global challenges and conflicts we face today,” she said.
The G4 nations underlined that the upcoming Summit of the Future is an opportunity to achieve concrete results on the issue of Security Council reform.
Kamboj cautioned that if nations fail to address this longstanding cause in the UN’s roadmap during its Summit of the Future, “it would signify our failure to fulfil a pivotal commitment to ourselves and the Organization’s roadmap.” President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis said that the Security Council is “dangerously falling short” of its mandate as the primary custodian for the maintenance of international peace and security.
“Violence and war continue to spread in regions across the world, while the United Nations seems paralyzed due largely to the divisions in the Security Council,” Francis said.
He noted that while some of the current global challenges could not have been envisioned eight decades ago, “those that we did foresee are blazing onto the geopolitical landscape – with new and deeply worrying ferocity.” “May I caution this august house that stasis can be as formidable a foe as chaos. We cannot usefully perpetuate positions that – while familiar – fail to bring us closer together,” he said.
Francis urged Member States to grasp the opportunity that the Summit of the Future, to be held in September 2024, will present to break through ingrained positions and to promote Security Council reform through practical steps that support effectiveness and moreover, represent the full diversity of geographies.
The UN has termed the Summit of the Future, to be held in September next year, as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments including to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Charter, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives.