REFORMING THE UNITED nations SECURITY COUNCIL: challenges AND PROSPECTS
REFORMING THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
This paper evaluates the prospects for and barriers to UN Security Council reform in light of the 2005 Reform Proposal and the three major reactions that followed (the G4, UFC, and AU Proposals). The results are based on a review and analysis of pertinent secondary sources in the main.
The study concluded that the Security Council requires reform due to a lack of representativeness in its membership, accountability, openness, and democracy in its working processes, which are exacerbated by the outdated nature of veto power.
Almost all UN member states agreed on the necessity for reform so that the Council could represent 21st-century realities rather than the period immediately following the conclusion of WWII.
They were unable, however, to agree on a single approach to achieve this goal. Countries prioritise their own interests over genuine efforts to reform the Council's manner of operation. As a result, three significant suggestions emerged after the 2005 Reform Proposal.
All of the ideas evaluated in this study advanced their respective viewpoints on how to alter the Council's membership and working processes, as well as veto power. This lack of consensus hampered the Council's reform efforts significantly.
The study found that changing the Council's membership and veto power would necessitate amending the UN Charter, which is nearly impossible to do even after obtaining a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly (128 out of the current 192 UN member states) in the event that member states disagree on the issue.
Furthermore, the position of the Permanent Five is an intractable hurdle to any attempt to change the Charter, as the opposition of one permanent member stifles the endeavour. This suggests that the position of the permanent members is critical to revamping the Security Council.
Even if the permanent members support reforming the Council, it is only nominal because they impose numerous criteria on how to implement reform in order to protect their own interests. In this regard, the plans to change the membership category and veto power are unrealistic.
Meanwhile, there is the option of changing the Council's working processes without going through the onerous process of revising the UN Charter. Finally, the analysis concludes that it is unlikely to modify the Council's membership, notably the permanent category and veto power, in the foreseeable future.
chapter I: Introduction
The United Nations (UN) was established after the Second World War (WWII) in 1945 to replace its ill-fated predecessor, the League of Nations. It was formed with the goal of preserving future generations from the scourge of war using the notion of collective security.
Unlike the League of Nations, which disintegrated after two decades, the United Nations survived for more than half a century without being seriously threatened (Khanna, 2004:390).
The United Nations Charter, signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945 (and entered into force on October 24, 1945), established six primary organs. These include the General Assembly, Security Council,
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), International Court of Justice (ICJ), Secretariat, and Trusteeship Council. After decolonization was achieved, the Trusteeship Council lost its importance (Ibid: 383; UN Charter, Article 7(1)).
The Security Council is the most powerful UN organ. It is responsible for maintaining international peace and security, and it passes resolutions that are binding on member states. The Permanent Five, namely China,
France, Russia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US), wield significant power through their veto, which includes other privileges such as filling positions in the major UN Secretariat posts, the ICJ, and other decision-making bodies of the organisation (Kugel, 2009:2).
The Security Council faces a quadruple legitimacy deficit in terms of performance, representation, procedural frameworks, and accountability. Its performance credibility suffers from two factors, namely an uneven and selective track record. It is unrepresentative from practically every perspective because only a few members of the organisation hold leadership positions.