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World leaders at UN General Assembly call for urgent Security Council Reform

September 21, 2023 1:13 PM IST

UN General Assembly | Security Council | UNSC expansion

The leaders gathered at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) call for a reform in UN Security Council. As the world body continued the second day of the General Debate of the General Assembly on Wednesday (September 20), the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President, Felix Tshisekedi, addressed the Assembly and called for the expansion of the U.N.’s Security Council to include two seats for Africa.

“I wish to call to enlarge the United Nations Security Council.. to ensure that there are two representatives of the African continent as permanent representatives in order to ensure equal geographical representation,” Tshisekedi said.

Earlier, on the first day of the debate, President Joe Biden said that the US will continue to push for badly needed UN Security Council reforms amid ongoing “gridlock” that has prevented the body from performing its core duties. He added, “We need more voices, more perspectives at the table. The UN must continue to keep the peace, prevent conflict and alleviate human suffering.”

Addressing the international body’s New York headquarters, The President affirmed that his nation is engaged in substantial consultations for United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform and remains committed to its role. Recalling his previous announcement, the President said that the United States pledged its support for expanding the UNSC by increasing both permanent and non-permanent membership. Stressing the significance of international institutions, Biden underscored the necessity of updating these bodies to effectively address present-day challenges.

As India solidifies its position as a global powerhouse, several world leaders are increasingly considering the country as a prime candidate for membership in the UNSC. The President-elect of the 77th session of the UNGA, Csaba Kőrösi, while his visit to India, said, “There is a notion among the member states that we need a better representative in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including those countries who have a larger responsibility for peace, larger responsibility for making well-being for the people, and, of course, India among those who believe they can contribute to the well being of the world,” Korosi said.

In June 2023, the United Kingdom also advocated for the expansion of the UNSC’s permanent seats, proposing the inclusion of India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan, alongside the imperative need for African representation.

Earlier this month, during the UNSC open debate on working methods, India’s Permanent Representative of the United Nations Ruchira Kamboj expressed India’s view on the expansion in both the permanent and the non-permanent categories. She said, “The working methods of the sanctions committee must emphasize transparency objectivity enlisting and de-listing and should not be based on political considerations.” The Indian envoy asserted that the expansion of the Security Council is vital so that developing countries and the unrepresented regions find their due place at the United Nations.

The reform process has been in negotiations for a prolonged 13-year span. Therefore, the urgency is apparent and the responsibility for progress lies with the member states.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) consists of 15 members, comprising five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additionally, there are ten non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. These non-permanent members include Albania, Brazil, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Notably, India has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC on eight occasions until October 2020.

Additionally, the Security Council’s high-level open debate also witnessed discussions on effective multilateralism and the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine.

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Last updated on: 16th June 2024