Global Policy Forum

G-4 Nations put Joint Bid for Security Council Expansion


India, Japan, Brazil and Germany--- known as the ‘Group of Four’ has put in a joint bid to the United Nations General Assembly, proposing that the Security Council be expanded for both permanent and non-permanent members, as well as a permanent African Seat. Security Council reform continues to be a divisive topic of discussion at the United Nations, and the new bid will reignite the debate in the coming weeks. The motion steers clear of the more controversial areas of the UN reform debate – namely the use of the veto – but is likely to garner severe criticism from the “United for Consensus” group (lead by Italy, Argentina, Colombia, Canada and Pakistan) who wish to block any new permanent member seats. 

by Indrani Bagchi,

Times of India

January 26, 2012 

India, Japan, Brazil andGermany chose the Indian Republic Day to launch a fresh offensive in the UN for expansion of the Security Council. The G-4, as they are better known, for the first time, put a joint bid for the UN Security Council during a closed plenary session at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, which is headed by Zahir Tanin, the UN ambassador from Afghanistan. 

In a strongly worded statement, the G-4 countries said, "This Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, taking into consideration the contributions made by countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the need for increased representation of developing countries in both categories. On numerous occasions, we have reconfirmed our view that Africa should be represented in the permanent membership in an enlarged Council." 

The plenary, which began with the G-4 statement, faced instant opposition from China. China, which has opposed the G-4 bid, and is the guardian angel for the opposers, United for Consensus (earlier known as the Coffee Club). The Chinese delegate called the resolution "divisive" while opposing it. 

The G-4 initiative had lately seemed to have run out of steam, with other considerations triumphing over Security Council reform. But the joint offensive, said sources, is a sign that the energy is back. 

While refusing to talk about the most touchy of subjects, veto power, the G-4 statement focuses on changing the "working methods" of the UN Security Council, as well as the membership. "Our proposal is straightforward. It focuses on two aspects of Security Council reform, on which, according to our outreach, large majorities exist among member states: firstly, that expansion in membership should be in both categories, permanent and non-permanent, and secondly, that the working methods of the Council should be improved. Nothing more, nothing less." 

The four countries observed that there had been limited success to the process till date. Taking the bull by the horns, the G-4 said their initiative was short and realistic. Defending their initiative, the G-4 said, "We believe that our proposal can generate the momentum needed to kick-start real negotiations. Some call this 'piecemeal' or 'cherry-picking'. We call it a realistic and results-driven approach. Let us agree on what most member states agree on and let us then tackle the other issues." 

In the coming weeks, there will be four other resolutions that will be put on the table. A vote is not expected for several days and a lot of heated discussions are about the liven up UN debates.


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