Security Council could not do anything about Russia’s attack on Ukraine
The UN Security Council has been unable to do anything about Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as world leaders underlined at the UN General Assembly this month. Due to national interests and regional rivalry, the 193 member states of the United Nations did not allow the expansion of the Security Council, which has an obligation to ensure international peace and security. However, most of the Security Council decisions have been a result of US-Russia tensions. Both countries block proposals against each other’s policies by vetoing them. In such a situation, despite being powerful, this council is unable to do anything.
Why was the Security Council established?
When the United Nations was established after World War II, the initial words of its charter were, “To protect future generations from the brunt of war.” Those who advocated the reform have said that the council should be reformed to include more members. But there is disagreement about the size and composition of powers when the council is reconstituted. Because of this, generations of UN diplomats have been asking the question whether the Council will ever be able to change.
UN Secretary General also in favor of reforms
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in 2020 that nations that came to the top more than seven decades ago have refused to consider reforms needed to transform power relations in international institutions. He had said that inequality begins in top-notch global institutions. They should be reformed to remove inequality. But it hasn’t happened yet.
Security Council has 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members
The Security Council consists of 15 members. Of these, 10 are temporary and five are permanent members. Temporary members are elected from all regions of the world for two-year terms and do not have veto power. At the same time, the five members armed with the power of veto are America, Russia, China, Britain and France. Russia had said that if the Security Council takes any action regarding the war in Ukraine, it will use the veto. If any of the five members of the Security Council have used a veto on a resolution, then the council cannot pass that resolution.
All leaders including Biden are supporting changes in the Security Council
This was reflected in the statements of world leaders in the General Assembly. The most displeased were the governments of the countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as there are no permanent members from their territories. Could this change? US President Joe Biden believes it should be. Biden told the General Assembly last week that the time had come for the organization to become more inclusive so that it could better respond to the needs of today’s world. He emphasized increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members and advocated permanent membership for countries in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The US also supported the claims of Germany, Japan and India for the permanent seat.
French President and Russian Foreign Minister also supported
French President Emmanuel Macron said international consensus is needed for peace. “So I hope we can make a commitment to reform the Security Council so that it has more representation, welcomes new members, and is able to play a full role by committeeing veto rights in gang crimes,” he said. Addressing the General Assembly on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a more democratic council, representing Africa, Asia and Latin America, and comprising India and Brazil. At a later press conference, he said the inclusion of “hostile” Western countries such as Japan and Germany would not add anything new to the council. According to him, “they are all following the orders of America.”
how improvements can work
Efforts to reform the United Nations Security Council began in 1979. In 2005 world leaders called for more comprehensive representation, making it effective and transparent in the Council. That year the General Assembly postponed three rival proposals to expand membership in the Council, reflecting deep divisions and continuing to this day. Germany, Japan, Brazil and India had called for permanent membership in the 25-member council without veto power. The other group, which included Italy and Pakistan, called for 10 new non-permanent seats in the 25-member council. The 55-member African Union wants the council to have 11 new seats, six of which are permanent and two to be given to African countries with veto power and five non-permanent members.
India will be able to become a permanent member of the Security Council under China
China is the biggest obstacle in the way of India becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. China has the veto power of the Security Council, using which it can block any resolution. However, China too succumbs to global diplomacy and pressure. In such a situation, if the remaining four permanent members of the Security Council come in favor of joining India, then China will also have to give its consent.