Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made an impassioned plea on Wednesday for reforming the Security Council, saying it was imperative to deal with the rapidly deteriorating global security situation.
“Just as I am about to leave this position, I am urging that they (the international community) should reflect the voices and the aspirations of the member states” on reforming the Council, said Ban, whose term ends this year.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the UN summit later this month, he said: “It is important that member states look at this issue after (the) two-decades-long consultation and negotiation process. It is high time to discuss this matter.”
He discounted a reporter’s assertion that he had not pressed the Council reforms issue with the same vigour he had shown on other matters. He said that he had spoken repeatedly about the need for changing its structure.
Ban said that since the UN was formed in 1945, the Council structure was changed only once and it was important to reform it again to reflect the contemporary world. However, he pointed out, it was the member states that will have to respond to his call for action.
In 1965, the Council was expanded by adding four non-permanent seats for a total of ten, while the five permanent members – the victors in World War II, Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – continued to hold their monopoly.
Since then the membership of the UN has swelled from 117 members to 193 now. Africa and Latin America are not represented in the ranks of the permanent members, nor are countries like India, Japan and Germany, which have emerged as major international players.
India, Brazil, Japan and Germany have banded together as the G4 group to spearhead the movement for reform and also to mutually support each other for permanent seats on an expanded Council.
Ban noted that there was some progress in the more than 20-year-long reform process and it has now moved from open-ended to discussions to negotiations.
After years of attempts by Pakistan and a group of countries led by Italy to block substantive negotiations on Council reforms, the General Assembly adopted a negotiating document in 2014 and the just-concluded session began to seriously take it up.
However, the negotiating process sputtered after the promising start and the Assembly left it to current session that began Tuesday.
Soon after he was sworn-in as the president of the General Assembly’s 71st session on Tuesday, Peter Thomson vowed to continue the reform process.
“The community as a whole must move forward together in resolving reform,” he said. “I am committed to facilitating this movement in the 71st session.”