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The United Nations Security Council (unsc) Reforms

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The question of the reform of the UNSC is as old as the UN itself. Member States have consistently voiced concerns over permanent representation on the Council and the power of the veto, especially since the end of the Cold War, by which point global geopolitical realities had clearly shifted since 1945. Formal discussion about reforming the UN Security Council began with the 1993 establishment of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council.

After more than a decade of the Working Group, Member States decided in September 2007 to move discussions to an Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) process. The delegation of Gabon echoes the decision 62/557 of 2008, which laid out the parameters of the IGN, the five key issues under consideration in these negotiations are:

  1. categories of membership to the Council (i.e. permanent, non-permanent, or a third option)
  2. the question of the veto
  3. regional representation
  4. size of an enlarged council and working methods
  5. the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly.

Gabon sternly believes it is vital to ensure that multilateralism guaranteed collective security and inclusion. Africa represents the largest geographic group at the United Nations and issues relating to the continent remain the bulk of the Council’s agenda. Any future Security Council reform must ensure that Africa has a permanent seat. That is part and parcel of the aspirations for genuine democracy of global political and economic governance.

Gabon’s and the African Common Position stand to enlarge the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, improve on its working methods and accord the new permanent members the same prerogatives and privileges as those of the current permanent members, including the right to veto. Gabon believes that an equitable representation mandates the increase in the Security Council’s membership from fifteen to twenty-six with the eleven additional seats to be distributed as follows where two permanent seats and two (additional) non-permanent seats are for African States, two permanent seats and one non-permanent seat is for Asian States, one non-permanent seat is Eastern European States, one permanent seat and one non-permanent seat is for Latin American and Caribbean States, and one permanent seat is for Western European and other States.

The lack of legitimacy of the Council is a cancer that eats away at every institution within the broader UN system. Power is shifting, but not in the Security Council, where the victors of a war fought 70 years ago determine every important decision. We cannot let this effort at reform has fall foul of power politics.

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