APD | UN Reforms are inevitable

2023-11-20 10:08 BY APD NEWS

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist, Diplomat, Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail:

Irony! Even United Nations Security Council (UNSC) could not stop Genocide of Palestinians. Some countries are so powerful that they default UNSC. Israel and India are defaulter of UNSC by not implementing resolutions passed by UNSC. For seven decades, their refusal to implement UNSC resolution to solve the Kashmir and Palestine issue is beyond understanding. 

As a matter of fact, UN has failed to fulfil its objectives and has become paralyzed. The UN General Assembly has initiated discussions on Security Council reforms, with Pakistan asserting that the lack of consensus among permanent members hindered the council’s ability to address the Gaza conflict. General Assembly President Dennis Francis also echoed the urgency for reform, amid conflicts raging in Ukraine and Gaza. In Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, the permanent representative of Pakistan at the UN, during the annual Debate on Agenda item 121 Entitled 'Question of Equitable Representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council (16 November 2023), he said;

• Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by Italy on behalf of Uniting for Consensus (UfC), and we would like to add a few points in our national capacity.

• For more than a month now, a brutal war has raged in Gaza, with blatant war crimes and genocide being perpetrated by Israel against innocent Palestinian women and children.  Unfortunately, the Security Council has failed so far to stop the slaughter even after the adoption of the resolution no 2712 after five weeks.

• It is now more evident than ever, that the primary reason for the Security Council’s frequent failure to respond effectively to conflicts and threats to peace and security is the inability of its permanent members to agree on decisive action. Adding new permanent members will statistically multiply the prospects of paralysis in the Council. The problem cannot be the solution.

• The UfC remains staunchly opposed to any proposals for the creation of additional permanent members in the SC. There is no justification for the creation of 'new centers of privilege' within the UN, contrary to the principle of sovereign equality of UN member states. Any country seeking a more frequent presence on the Security Council should do so by subjecting itself to the democratic process of periodic election by the General Assembly.

• The IGN has held constructive discussions in the previous cycle on all five interlinked “clusters” of issues on Security Council reform identified in Decision 62/557. As evident from the Co-Chairs’ revised Elements Paper, the areas of convergence have been broadened, and divergences have been further reduced through the IGN process.

• However, despite the encouraging progress in the IGN last year, there remain wide divergences among Member States on several key issues within each “cluster”.

• On the categories of membership, it is essential to recall that the discussions involved not two but several categories of membership: 2 year non-permanent seats; longer-term non-permanent seats; reelect able non-permanent membership; permanent seats representing regions or individual States; permanent membership with or without a veto.

• Similarly, there are proposals on the prohibition of the veto; its restriction; its suspension; its expansion (to new permanent members) and its deferment.

• On regional representation, the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) and the African Group have proposed specific models. In our view, the “historic injustice” against Africa, as well as Asia, Latin America, and the SIDS, must be redressed, and the unequal advantage accorded to Europe rectified.

• The UfC’s proposal to add 11-12 new non-permanent seats would offer greater representation to the vast majority of small and medium States, 59 of which have never served on the Security

• Council. Besides ensuring “equitable geopolitical” representation, a larger number of non-permanent members could balance the inordinate influence of the 5 permanent members. On the other hand, the addition of 4 or 6 new “permanent members” would statistically reduce the prospects for representation for the rest of the 182 member States. Moreover, the periodic election of the non-permanent members 4 would ensure both the requirements of accountability of Security Council members as well as the democratization of the United Nations.

• We consider the African demand for two permanent seats for the Continent as being very different from the quest of 4 individual States for permanent membership. The two African seats would be understandably filled by States selected by Africa and “accountable” to Africa and could be replaced by Africa. The four individual aspirants would be accountable to no one and seek to advance their own national interests and ambitions. In any case, there are more than 4

• Or 6 States – perhaps over 20 – which can, based on their size, defense capability, economic status, peacekeeping role and contributions to peace and security, claim the mantle of more frequent representation on the Security Council. The UfC’s offer for longer-term seats could accommodate this consideration but do so equitably. 

• Lastly, while considerable progress has been made in promoting convergence on the Council’s “working methods”, there are several additional and innovative proposals which need to be further discussed and agreed.

• It is, therefore, evident that we will require a substantive – not perfunctory – discussion on each of the 5 clusters, which are all closely interrelated. No “model” of Security Council reform can be developed; nor can text-based negotiations start, until we have reconciled the key “divergences” within and between the five “clusters”. The UfC expects that one meeting of the IGN will be devoted, as in the past, to each of the 5 clusters and, thereafter, to their inter-linkages across “clusters”.

• We have all agreed that the Summit of the Future, to be held next September, should seek to promote the invigoration of the UN’s principal organs, including reform of the Security Council and the 5 revitalization of the General Assembly, as well as reform of the international financial architecture. My delegation will seek “balanced” progress on these objectives. Our first priority is the reform of the unequal and historically unjust international financial institutions.

• The decision adopted by the last General Assembly session on the scope of the Summit of the Future stipulated in paragraph (e) that in the preparations for the “Pact of the Future” there would be no “duplication” of existing processes. The consideration of Security Council reform must therefore remain exclusively within the IGN process and observe all the decisions relating to its procedures, including the provisions of General Assembly Resolution No. 53/30 and Decision No. 62/557. No initiative or proposal on Security Council reform outside the IGN process should be entertained by our delegation.

• The UfC is also a pro-reform group. We remain open to a frank and detailed discussion on ways and means of accommodating the aspirations of all Member States, the African, Asian, and Latin American groups, as well as other groups – such as the OIC, Arab, SIDS – all within an equitable and comprehensive reform of the Security Council. We are convinced that the UfC’s proposal can serve as a framework for such an inclusive and equitable reform of the Council, Madam President.  

• Ambassador Jamal Fares Alrowaiei of Bahrain, speaking for the Arab Group, emphasized the urgent need for real reform, criticizing the arbitrary use of the veto that challenges the council’s credibility. He urged member states to enhance conflict prevention efforts for greater representation, transparency, neutrality, and credibility.

• Deputy Permanent Represen­tative Nedra P. Miguel, speaking for the L.69 group of developing countries, stressed that the Security Council is “no longer fit for purpose” and called for urgent reform. She criticized the over-representation of Western countries, stating it doesn’t reflect the UN’s diverse composition or current geopolitical realities.

It is worth mentioning that UNSC is not representative of all communities, especially the representation of underdeveloped, weak, oppressed nation is missing. It is dominated by Developed Western world and being used by some of big powers to achieve their political objectives. Even an ambassador of an aggressor country souths at the Secretary General publically, without any fear or guilt. 

Five countries, including South Africa and Bangladesh, on Friday called for an International Criminal Court investigation into Israel's indiscriminate war on the Gaza Strip, which has left over 12,000 people, among them more than 5,000 children dead. ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti - all ICC members - had sought an investigation of "the situation in the state of Palestine". Khan said in a statement that an investigation into events in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank started in March 2021 now "extends to the escalation of hostilities and violence since the attacks that took place on October, 2023." Khan, who recently went to the main crossing point between Gaza and Egypt, said his team had collected a "significant volume” of evidence on "relevant incidents" in the war.

It is time to think wisely and act smartly to reform the UN structure. It is urged that the UNSC must respect the voices of poor, weak, small, and minorities too. A comprehensive structural reforms are prerequisite to strengthen the UN and turn it more effective to achieve its set goals and objectives, without any discrimination. Credibility and respect of UN must be restored and protected. It is urged that all nations, countries, groups and individuals may raise their voice for up-holding UN status.