Many who actively advocate for expansion of the UN Security Council's membership argue that an increase in the number of members will remedy the democratic and representative deficit from which the Council suffers. In October 2010, Canada will once again stand for election to a two-year term as non-permanent member of the Security Council. This article represents the Canadian viewpoint as it explores the need for the nation's increased role in the Council.
Former UN Assistant Secretary General, Denis Halliday, argues that the UN has become a body of unrealistic expectations. The five veto powers corrupt the UN charter by acting out of the interests of states rather than "we the peoples". Halliday suggests that regional permanent seats in the Security Council would entail less corruption of international law and the UN Charter. He believes that the rights of the worlds poorest would be properly addressed for the first time if all regions were presented. (Global Research)
This Center for UN Reform Education
article reviews Security Council reform proposals from 1991-2008. The article notes that UN member states such as Italy and Pakistan cite the need for consensus to stall the reform process, and prevent regional rivals from gaining seats at the Council. Furthermore, previous efforts to increase the openness of the Council have backfired, as permanent members move the decision-making process to informal closed meeting rooms adjacent to the Security Council chambers.
This Dag Hammarskjold Foundation
article suggests a Regional/Economic Proposal (REP) for UN Security Council (SC) reform. According to the REP, SC members represent a geographic region, and have a minimum of 4 million people or a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of at least US$40 billion. In the voting process, SC members must have regional support from countries with 60 percent of the member's population and GDP. The author believes that the P5 will probably not accept the REP proposal because it diminishes their power within the Security Council.
This article focuses on two different debates of Security Council (SC) reform. The quantitative theory wants equal representation of different regions in the SC. The qualitative theory, however, believes that countries who contribute the most to maintaining international peace and security should be permanent members of the SC. The author supports the quantitative theory because it promotes greater regional involvement instead of the interests of a single country. (Dag Hammarskjold Foundation)
This Dag Hammarskjold Foundation
article discusses various proposals for Security Council (SC) expansion, including the possibility of expanding the SC to generate a more equally distributed regional representation. The General Assembly has rejected recent reform proposals. The SC's permanent members argue that enlarging the council would "have a negative effect on the ability of the body to undertake rapid and effective action to maintain peace and security."
by the Center for UN Reform Education
outlines the positions of various UN member states on issues relating to Council reform, including regional seats, veto reform, and preferences for timing of intergovernmental negotiations.
In 1993, UN members including Japan and Germany helped to establish a General Assembly Working Group on Security Council reform, but members of this Working Group cannot agree on various issues such as expansion of the permanent members. In February 2009, further negotiations will take place, but as in the past, the divergent interests of UN members are likely to stand in the way of any reform agreement.(Center for UN Reform Education)
The transitional approach to Security Council reform means that UN members would agree on basic reforms and adapt these agreements later on at a conference. Countries have not been able to decide on the timeframe for a review conference or on the proposals for the transitional reform approach because New Zealand, Germany and others fear that the initial basic reforms would become permanent. (Center for UN Reform Education)
China refused to endorse India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council at a recent BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) meeting in Yekaterinburg, Russia. China remains concerned about India's economic, technological and military advances and is trumping New Delhi's quest for global stature by blocking India in the Council. India's dashed hope for Chinese support proved to be nothing more than a political illusion, which may have negative consequences in the economic and military relations between both nations. (Indo-Asian News Service)
Germany has tabled a proposal at the UN General Assembly to expand the Security Council from 15 to 22 members. The increase would create a new seat for countries from Latin America, the Caribbean, Western and Eastern Europe, and two seats each for representatives from Africa and Asia. The proposal, however, does not address how long each country would hold a seat, or the contentious issue of veto power. Any enlargement of the Council would require the amendment of the UN Charter. (ReformtheUN.org)
Member states have agreed that the UN Security Council must become more representative, efficient and transparent to be seen as more legitimate, yet a number disagree on how this reform should occur. Among various proposals from countries, the GA appointed facilitators to conduct consultations about the Council's reform. The facilitators main point consists of adding a mandatory review clause, which demands that after a couple of years, the Council has to review its reform. (UN Chronicle)
The UN General Assembly continues to debate Security Council reform. The African group has requested two permanent seats, with all rights including veto power. Angolan Ambassador Ismael. Gaspar-Martins expressed the "continent's position" requesting a more inclusive, transparent and democratic Council. So far, only China and Britain support the African pledge. (Final Call)
The majority of UN members agree on expanding the Security Council's membership, to make it more representative and equitable. However the members diverge on how that expansion should happen. They also express concern that the enlargement will diminish the Council's effectiveness. Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram stated that Council reform should include all countries, should be based on broad multilateral proposals, and should require consensus support. (Associated Press - Pakistan)
France and Britain favor India, as one of the G-4 candidates for a new permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In their speech, both countries requested a more representative and consequently credible and effective Council. While Russia abstained from coment, Japan and China placed greater importance on having new permanent members from African countries. Before backing any candidacy, the US recommended a "set of criteria" for the aspiring candidates, such as a commitment to human rights. Ironically, critics have often criticized China and the US, both permanent members, for human rights violations. (NDTV)
During a UN General Assembly (GA) meeting on Security Council Reform, Cuba called for a more democratic, representative, responsible and effective Council. Cuba's Ambassador Rodrigo Malmiera argues that the Council suffers from a lack of representation from developing countries. The Council does not represent the world's contemporary realities, raising questions about its legitimacy representative and procedures. Malmiera called for greater involvement of non-permanent members in the Council's agenda, as well as membership reform. He also expressed apprehension about the Council's jurisdiction and working methods, such as the selection of Council agenda items. (Prensa Latina)
Russia, one of the five permanent members with veto power, declared at a General Assembly meeting that Security Council reform discussions should preserve the "foundations" of the United Nations. According to Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN Representative, the Council should only expand if it can also become more effective. Even though Churkin expressed a willingness to work with non-Council members, in order to continue further peacekeeping improvements, his speech did not seem to favor the Council's enlargement. (Itar-Tass)
European think-tank Skeptika claims that under new European Union (EU) treaty provisions, the UK and France must cede their UN Security Council seats to the EU on issues where the EU takes a common position. The UK Foreign Office rejects this possibility, claiming that the "UN Charter does not allow international organizations like the EU to hold a seat on the Security Council." (Daily Mail)
Professor Joseph E. Schwartzberg suggests weighted regional representation as a way to reform the membership of the Security Council. His proposal consists of twelve regional seats including four individual states (the US, China, India and Japan) and eight regional groupings. These seats would be based on a weighted vote based on a formula including the country's population and contribution to the UN budget. Schwartzberg argues that the weighted voting system would bring a fairer and more workable allocation of power in the UN as well as a more legitimate world body.
The UN General Assembly issued a report on Security Council reform, proposing that UN member states consider a temporary expansion of Security Council membership. All previous attempts at reform have failed for lack of agreement on size and composition of an expanded Council, due to national and regional rivalries. The report says that reform should increase opportunities for countries to serve as members on the Council and should increase involvement with the Council's work whilst not serving. (Associated Press)
Despite Member States promising to redouble their efforts to achieve reform of the UN Security Council, agreement remains elusive. Differing reform proposals and regional rivalries again frustrated the UN General Assembly's work at reaching a consensus. While most proposals focus on increasing Council membership, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Jordan, Singapore and Liechtenstein have joined in recommending modifying Council procedures and working methods to make decision making more open and clear. (Associated Press)
The UN General Assembly has "brushed aside both US and Western criticisms" and elected China, Russia, Cuba to the new Human Rights Council. But the author states the Council election resulted in a good "representative sampling" of governments with varying commitments to human rights. Some observers believe the Council election gives a good indication of how a vote for permanent seats on the Security Council would fare, but others criticize this reasoning, stating that voters can differentiate between candidacy for a permanent seat and candidacy for a short-term seat on the Council. At any rate, "the race for permanent seats is over, finished and dead." (Inter Press Service)
Japan may not table a new resolution pushing to expand Security Council membership to 21 members by September 2006 given the lack of support, particularly among permanent members. Although the US supports Japan's bid for a permanent seat, Washington opposes expansion of the Council's membership. As a Japanese official puts it, "only scant percent of chance exists for Security Council reform." (Japan Economic Newswire)
In an effort to gain a permanent seat and end a deadlock over Security Council expansion, Japan discussed a proposal with the US and China to add six members to the world body. According to Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, the plan is a compromise between the US preference to add four countries to the Council and the wishes of Brazil, India and Germany - Japan's former G4 allies - to include 10 new members. (Bloomberg)
A non-profit policy research organization called Center for UN Reform Education has put forward an alternative model to the many proposals introduced in the past on Security Council expansion. The plan, called Model X, enlarges the Council to 20 members by adding five four-year renewable term seats - as opposed to the 9 or 11 new members previously proposed. Also, Model X groups the member states in a way that Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas and the Pacific would each have five seats, thereby ensuring more balanced representation from each continental region. So far, the Council's great powers have stalled any attempts towards Security Council reform.
Japan plans to boost its military presence in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, in the hopes of securing US support for a permanent seat on the Security Council. Tokyo's hostile neighbor, veto-wielding China, believes Japan's past occupation of China disqualifies Tokyo of a permanent seat and is determined to frustrate Japan's ambitions. (Aljazeera)
Following a move by Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Senegal in December 2005, three of the Group of Four (G-4) - Germany, India, and Brazil - have re-introduced to the General Assembly their draft resolution aimed at expanding the Security Council. Japan, the fourth G-4 country, decided not to join the initiative this time. Both texts are similar to those tabled in July 2005. By reintroducing their draft resolutions, the two groups of countries hope to revive the debate on Security Council reform. (Xinhuanet)
While Japan continues to lobby for expansion of the Security Council, Tokyo opted not to support the move by the Group of Four (G-4) to retable the previously unsuccessful draft resolution. Japan hopes instead to explore other possible options that may gain broader support. One of Japan's central aims will be to address the concerns of the US and China, who have opposed the G4 resolution and whose support will be necessary for any such resolution to succeed. (News 24)
In response to draft resolutions tabled by the G-4 and the African Union, Uniting for Consensus has tabled its alternative proposal. The draft resolution proposes adding 10 non-permanent members immediately eligible for re-election to the Security Council, leaving formalities of re-election and rotation to regional groups.
Also responding to the G-4 resolution, the African Union has tabled its proposal calling for 11 additional members on the Security Council, with Africa gaining two permanent seats and five non-permanent seats. The AU also recommends that new permanent members gain all existing privileges - including veto power.
James Paul and Céline Nahory argue that adding more permanent members to the Security Council would enlarge a discredited oligarchy rather than build for a democratic future. They also oppose the addition of elected members, arguing that an expanded Council would be too large to function effectively and not substantially more representative. Instead, they propose a process of stronger regional representation as a future-oriented approach that can develop in stages and without the headache of Charter change. (Global Policy Forum)
Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have tabled their draft “framework” resolution calling for Security Council enlargement to 25 members, including six additional permanent seats. In a desperate attempt to secure permanent membership, the Group of Four (G-4) had accepted to forego their right of veto for at least 15 years. The less contentious proposals on the Council’s working methods have more of a chance to succeed than membership expansion plans. Also see previous versions of June 8
and May 13
Opposing new permanent members – and Germany in particular – Italy proposes to add 10 permanent regional seats that each group would manage independently with its own principles and mechanisms to ensure regional representation rather than a national occupation of their seats.
In the Green Model, United for Consensus proposes to expand the Security Council with an additional 10 elected seats. All 20 elected members would serve in the Council for two year terms and be eligible for re-election.
The Blue Model foresees longer-term seats while at the same time adding regular two-year elected seats to the current ones. Longer-term seats would be elected for three or four years and might run for re-election.
In his report on UN reform, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan only touches very briefly upon Security Council reform, and does not recommend specific action on this vital aspect of UN reform. Annan urges member states to consider both models A and B, as outlined by the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, and calls on states to reach a decision on Security Council enlargement before the summit in September 2005. (United Nations)
In this paper, the Group of Like-Minded Countries states its common position on Security Council reform. Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Algeria, Italy, Spain, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea have united in support of "Model B, with appropriate improvements" as outlined in the High Level Panel's Report on Threats, Challenges and Change. The group hopes to find support among other UN member states for the model that suggests adding only elected, non-permanent members to the Council. It argues that "Model B is democratic and more flexible, providing for fairer and equitable representation and accountability."
Disputes over permanent membership once again blocked UN member states from reaching consensus on Security Council reform. While the five permanent members consider the debate closed, ambassadors from countries seeking permanent seats said they might bring the issue to a vote in the General Assembly. (Voice of America)
US Ambassador John Bolton will not support the attempts of Germany, Brazil and India to enlarge the Security Council, arguing that boosting the number of seats to 25 would make the world body less effective. But Bolton reiterated the US commitment to Japan's bid for permanent Security Council membership, as it represents a "major international economic player." (Associated Press)
Japan shows increasing signs of displeasure with the UN since failing to get a permanent seat on the Security Council at the Millennium+5 Summit. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi claims his government faces growing pressure from the Japanese population to scale back its dues to the UN because citizens no longer believe the country is getting its money's worth. UN officials warned Japan that withholding dues would only delay UN reform and alienate other member states. Japan pays 19.5 percent of the annual UN budget of $1.8 billion, second only to the United States, whose contributions amount to 22 percent when paid in full. (Associated Press)
According to David Malone, a former Canadian UN ambassador, Security Council reform failed at the UN summit because "most countries adopted a fairly self-interested position on the subject." French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said that he hoped that the African countries and the G-4 could reach an agreement by the end of the year. But asked if Council reform was dead in the foreseeable future, Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram said: "It's on life support." (Reuters)
The African Union (AU) prepares to meet in London the first week of September to find a last minute common position on the rival proposal put forward by the Group of Four (G-4). This article looks into the possibility that the AU will split and that the majority of African states will side with the G-4 to present a joint draft resolution in the General Assembly before the High Level summit. (Telegraph, India)
African experts agree that the African Union's (AU) unwavering stance on Security Council reform is "tragic," in that it will keep the AU from being a powerful lobbying force for issues of development and poverty eradication at the Millennium+5 Summit. The AU has firmly stood by the demand for permanent veto-power seats on the Security Council. Moreover, the AU's lack of an "opt-out clause" makes it impossible "for individual African countries to act alone without being seen to be breaking ranks or dissenting." (BuaNews)
The African Union's decision to reject a compromise with the Group of Four on Security Council expansion and instead "stick to its guns" on the demand for veto power "has set the stage for a showdown in which [Africa] looks certain to end the loser," says the Financial Gazette. Discussing the multifaceted opposition to potential new members and their privileges, this author raises questions over the Council's existing power structure and the possibility of eliminating the veto completely in the future.
Acknowledging the deadlock over Security Council expansion, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has extended the target deadline from September to December 2005 for member states to reach an agreement. Annan says he would like to see a provision in the summit's outcome document committing states to decide on Security Council reform by the end of the year. (Reuters)
The African Union has formally rejected the option of compromising with the Group of Four on Security Council expansion proposals. Ninety percent of the 53-member group voted to stick to the AU's original plan, which allots two permanent veto-wielding African seats on the Council. A compromise was one of the G-4's last hopes to gain enough support in the 191-member General Assembly for their resolution, and the AU's "rejection may scuttle years of work toward expanding the Security Council," claims the Associated Press.
Although the United States and China have both openly opposed the Group of Four resolution on Security Council expansion for different reasons, the two countries have agreed to formally work together to block the G4 plan from approval in the General Assembly. China's Ambassador Wang Guangya says the main objective is to find a different expansion plan that is not "divisive," and he notes that the countries will work parallel but not together because "we have different friends in different parts of the world." (Associated Press)
The African Union may no longer speak with a unified voice on Security Council expansion. Nigeria announced that the AU reached an accord with the Group of Four by abandoning veto power as a requirement for new permanent members and agreeing to a total of four instead of five African seats on the Council. But Egypt, claiming that Nigeria "tried to subjugate the African position" to better its own chances of gaining a Council seat, denies that a compromise was reached and instead warns of a potential "fracture in the African position." (Daily Trust)
If the resolution of the Group of Four on Security Council expansion fails, G-4 member Japan says Tokyo may feel "domestic pressure" to cut its contributions to the United Nations. Japan is the second-highest payer to the UN, behind the US, and a drop in the country's regular assessments could deepen the current UN financial crisis. (Reuters)
In a statement
to the General Assembly, Italian Ambassador Marcello Spatafora accused G-4 governments of using aid money to blackmail poor countries into supporting the G-4 bid for Security Council permanent seats. Expressing outrage at the "improper and unethical behavior," Spatafora asked the GA to start a formal investigation on the matter. This "rare public attack by one European Union member against another" serves as an indicator of rising tensions and rising stakes over Council reform. (Associated Press
The obsession of a few UN member states over gaining permanent seats on the Security Council "is now threatening to stymie desperately-needed UN reforms," says AlterNet. Discussing rivalries and other complications with current enlargement proposals, this author warns that "the Council is already top-heavy toward the industrialized world," and adding members would only make the Council less efficient.
African Union ministers "hold the key" to the Group of Four's bid for Security Council permanent seats, yet the Deutsche Welle points out that AU support still may not ensure a mandatory two-thirds victory if the G-4 calls for a vote on its resolution in the General Assembly. Despite German and Japanese offers to increase foreign aid in return for support, the necessary votes have proved elusive and the debate over Council expansion will likely drag on past September 2005.
The 12 state group Uniting for Consensus has introduced its proposal for Security Council reform to the General Assembly, despite tense divisions in the General Assembly. The US opposes all current proposals for Council expansion. Washington believes adding members would dilute its power and render the Council ineffective. But many believe reform should overcome US "arm-twisting" and create a more representative world body. (Los Angeles Times)
The African Union, which tabled its resolution on Security Council expansion in the General Assembly on July 14, may be willing to give up its demand for veto power in order to at least get two permanent seats on the Council, reports the Associated Press. AU President Oluyemi Adeniji expresses optimism that the AU and the Group of Four can come to a compromise and call for a vote before the month's end, but permanent members China and the US would oppose the resolution.
Century Foundation's Jeffrey Laurenti argues against adding permanent members to the UN Security Council, warning that a larger Council would magnify the "fundamental disconnect between power to decide and responsibility to implement". He says US opposition to the Group of Four resolution effectively ruined the chances for a vote on the proposal -an outcome he favors for different reasons than Washington. Noting that five countries with veto power already caused Council inaction because of national political interests, Laurenti believes that the best reform proposals entail regional representation and elected terms.
The General Assembly debate over the G-4 Security Council expansion resolution stirred high tension and "undiplomatic language", as Secretary General Kofi Annan had to warn representatives "to calm down." The rare intensity of the debate, which has only just begun, demonstrates how far apart UN member states stand on the issue of Security Council expansion and how unlikely it is that one of the current proposals will become a reality. (Reuters)
At the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Japan announced that it would sizably increase its foreign aid budget by $10 billion over a five year period. Japan's current official development assistance rate lies at 0.19% of gross national income, way below the UN's 0.7% target. The decision to increase aid is likely a move to "make the country's presence felt as it seeks to win a permanent seat on the UN Security Council," says Finance24.
The African Union has adopted a new plan for Security Council reform, calling for an 11 member expansion with two permanent and two nonpermanent seats for Africa but stopping short of deciding which countries would lobby for those seats. The AU proposal differs slightly from that of the Group of Four (Germany, Brazil, India and Japan) by proposing an extra nonpermanent seat and veto power for new permanent members. Asking for veto power will likely spell defeat for the AU plan, as current permanent members strongly oppose such a proposal. (Reuters)
Security Council reform should focus on "changes in the decision-making process" rather than membership expansion or veto rights to improve the UN's multilateral nature, say Latin American analysts. Warning against the continued state of the Council as an "oligarchical, undemocratic mechanism lacking in transparency," this Inter Press Service article nevertheless falls victim to the membership debate and mainly argues over the prospect of Brazil as a new permanent Security Council member.
The G4 (Brazil, India, Germany and Japan) have faced considerable opposition from UN member states in their efforts to obtain permanent membership in the Security Council, and must now also overcome differences among themselves over Council reform. India disapproves of the G4's decision to drop veto demands, and Germany and Japan disagree over the amount of international support behind their draft resolution. With all these obstacles, the threat that "the momentum of Council reform could come to a halt" continues. (Yomiuri)
Pursuant to proposed UN reform, the African Union (AU) "has agreed to seek two permanent and five non-permanent seats on the Security Council." However, African foreign ministers have not selected criteria for choosing candidates, and cannot agree which two countries should represent the AU. This deadlock reflects Africa's deep regional differences "largely based around colonial divisions," and threatens the continent's ability to "speak with one voice andâ€¦act together" in the Security Council. (Reuters)
The "G4" – Japan, India, Germany and Brazil – have amended their proposal to expand the Security Council by postponing their veto request for at least 15 years. As Germany's UN Ambassador Gunter Pleuger acknowledged, this "concession" comes as a result of "strong opposition" to the original draft resolution from permanent members of the Security Council. At the moment, only France has agreed to co-sponsor the G4, while Washington has said it "needs more time to study" the revised proposal. Will the veto "concession" be enough to turn current Council opposition around? (Voice of America )
The US, China and Russia are pushing to delay a General Assembly vote on a draft resolution to expand the UN Security Council. The US finds itself "in the uncomfortable position of siding with the Chinese and Russians": as the Los Angeles Times suggests, the three permanent Council members fear a diminution of their power. Nevertheless, Brazil, Germany, India and Japan – the "G4" who drafted the proposed resolution – say that this opposition will "not deter them," and will only hasten the vote.
President of the UN General Assembly Jean Ping highlights the lack of consensus among UN member states on Security Council reform and says the issue has awakened "great passions and fixed attitudes." The G4 resolution – a proposal by Germany, India, Brazil and Japan to grant them additional permanent membership – faces strong opposition from China and the US, and competing reform proposals have come to light. As Jean Ping notes, Council reform may fall through unless "fundamental shifts on the part of some key countries" take place in the next several weeks. (South China Morning Post)
This report looks at the state of the debate on Security Council, analyzing the three proposals that emerged from the High Level Panel's and Kofi Annan's reports. As the Group of Four has circulated a draft resolution to add six permanent seats, United for Consensus put forwards two models (the Green Model and the Blue Model) adding only elected members. Will Washington take a leadership role and push the two groups to find a consensus before heads of states gather for the high level summit in September 2005? (Centre for UN Reform Education)
In June 2005, Brazil, Germany, India and China (the "G4") will ask the General Assembly (GA) to vote on a draft resolution
, which calls for Security Council expansion and gives the G4 permanent membership. The resolution meets strong opposition from China, which called it "dangerous" and has "hinted it would use its veto." According to Chinese UN Ambassador Wang Guangya, this resolution will "split UN membership" and prevent member states from discussing other UN reform issues. Nevertheless, China has indicated that if the GA and the other Security Council permanent members accept the G4 proposal, Beijing "would take into account the feelings of others." (Associated Press
Japan, Germany, India and Brazil will submit a draft resolution to the Security Council proposing a UN Charter amendment, necessary to enable the Council to expand to 24 members. The document foresees an increase in permanent seats from 5 to 11, with two seats for African countries. Two thirds of the 191-member General Assembly needs to vote in favor of the proposal if the aspiring nations want to secure permanent member status. Critics argue that enlargement will not necessarily result in a reformed, more accountable Security Council and warn that the document simply serves the national interest of the six candidates. (Los Angeles Times)
While UN member states discuss adding new permanent seats to the Security Council, African states disagree on which countries should represent the continent as new permanent members. Various factors such as troop contribution records to UN peacekeeping missions, democratic values, African representation, financial contributions to the UN and financial capability will determine the likelihood of obtaining a seat. Candidates include South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal and Libya, each of which faces opposition from fellow African countries. Since the African Union has failed to reach a consensus on African representation in the Council, the campaign "is going to be long, nasty and brutal." (Pambazuka)
Regional rivalry and long-standing disputes between neighboring countries will likely prevent expansion of the Security Council with permanent members. The "Like-Minded Countries Uniting for Consensus" want an addition of elected members only, arguing permanent members should only be added "with the widest possible consensus, which doesn't exist right now." As leaders of the initiative, Italy, Pakistan, South Korea, Mexico and Argentina have clear domestic interests to oppose Germany, India, Japan and Brazil respectively from obtaining a seat on the Council. The existing permanent members' opposition to new permanent seats further diminishes the chances of a change in the permanent make-up of the Council. (Inter Press Service)
China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya has said Beijing will only support Security Council enlargement if most new members come from the developing world. Ambassador Wang also insisted it was "essential" that the 191-member General Assembly unanimously adopts the proposal, leaving little hope for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who proposed to enlarge the Council to 24 members and stressed that failure to obtain a consensus "must not become an excuse for postponing action." (Washington Post)
A popular Chinese website has gathered some 22 million signatures to oppose Japan's bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council. The Chinese government has allowed state-controlled media to cover the campaign prominently. The initiative indicates that China might block a Japanese seat or pressure Japan to force concessions to China in return for Security Council membership. Diplomatic relations between both countries have significantly deteriorated following disputes over energy resources as well as a long-standing disagreement over Taiwan. (New York Times)
This excerpt from the African Union's (AU) Common African Position on Reform of the United Nations focuses on Security Council reform and calls for full representation of Africa in the Council. The AU demands at least two African permanent seats on the Council with veto powers and an additional five non-permanent seats. The statement further notes that the AU will itself determine which African countries should represent the continent as new members.
African Union (AU) Chairman, President Olusegun Obasanjo established a 15-member committee which will produce an official African position on UN Security Council reform. The AU will present its stance to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for inclusion in his report to the General Assembly in March. The committee will consider options outlined in the High Level Panel's report on Security Council reform recommendations and nominate African nations eligible for a seat on the Council. (This Day-Lagos)
Among broad recommendations for reform of the UN, this excerpt of the High Level Panel's Report focuses specifically on Security Council reform. In order to increase the Council's effectiveness and credibility and "enhance its capacity to act in the face of threats," the Panel puts forward two options for expansion without veto powers. Model A
foresees enlargement with both permanent and elected members, whereas model B
proposes enlarging the Council with only temporary elected members. The Panel also recommends the introduction of a system of "indicative voting" and encourages an increase in the Council's transparency and accountability. (United Nations
Security Council reform was a hot topic at the 2004 General Assembly debates, and Secretary General Kofi Annan's High Level Panel will deliver recommendations for reform in December. Reform, however, is not likely to go further than expanding Council membership. This Guardian article points out that "simply adding a few more seatsâ€¦ is likely to result only in further gridlock," and asks whether expansion will do anything to ensure representation of less wealthy countries, particularly those in Africa, Latin America and the Muslim world.
Many nations at this year's General Assembly debate focused on Security Council reform through membership expansion. They argued that security threats facing the world require a reform of the Security Council to better reflect the realities of the international community. Although almost all agree on the need for reform, nobody expects to change the veto power attributed to the five current permanent members. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
This BBC Q&A addresses questions such as why the Security Council needs reform, who is pushing for a permanent seat, how strong nations' bids are, and what may be on the agenda for broader UN reform.
President Thabo Mbeki has declared that South Africa is ready to take up a permanent seat on the Security Council if and when the UN restructures the Council. (Weekend Argus)
Western states may "reward" India with a seat on the Security Council for its willingness to compromise on the issue of Kashmir. However, many permanent members of the Council are reluctant to share their veto privileges with any new entrants. (truthout)
Germany, Japan, Brazil, and India have put forward a united bid for permanent seats on the Security Council. The "G4 Nations" say the Security Council must broaden its membership to represent the 21st century international community. They have also included recommendations for an African permanent seat and an expansion of non-permanent council membership in their proposal. Regional animosities may prevent success, but both supporters and critics of the UN say reform is long overdue. (Deutsche Welle)
The Secretary General's High Level Panel is working on UN reform to identify and address "future challenges to international peace and security." The Panel seeks to expand the Security Council to twenty-four members based on a "three tiered system." The Panel, however, does not address the problem of the veto power, or the question of representation.(Citizens for Global Solutions)
This article examines the challenges presented by some of the proposed Security Council reforms, including adding new members, abolishing the veto of the permanent five, and awarding seats to regional security bodies rather than individual countries. (Asia Times)
GPF Comment | General Documents | Group Documents | National Documents
The debate on Security Council reform has been raging for over 15 years in the UN General Assembly. Recently, the discussions moved into a formal intergovernmental negotiation and the temperature has been rising. At odds are the "G-4" aspirants who hope to gain new permanent seats and the opposition grouping known as "Uniting for Consensus." This GPF page provides an analysis and posts a number of key documents from the latest round.
The African group says the current membership in the Security Council is unacceptable and calls for an enlargement in both permanent and non-permanent seats. It argues that Africa should have no less than two permanent seats with all the privileges of the current five permanent members. The group claims that better African representation in the Council will contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in the continent. (Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN)