New York: India, along with the other G4 countries of Brazil, Germany and Japan, on Saturday pushed for reform of the UN Security Council, stressing they are “legitimate candidates” for permanent membership in an expanded and reformed council and supported each other’s candidature.
At a special summit, convened by India, of the G4, being held after a decade, the four countries’ leaders – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in a joint statement “strongly emphasized” that the process for reform of the Security Council “should be conducted, given its urgency, in a fixed time frame”.
The four countries – among the 10 biggest economies in the world – are pushing for inclusion as permanent members in an expanded Security Council, which currently has five permanent members — China, France, Russia, Britain and the US. Ten non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms by the UN General Assembly.
Modi, who has raised the pitch for reform of the UNSC and India’s inclusion as permanent member over the last few months, said in his opening remarks said that since the UN was formed in 1945, the members have increased four-fold, global economy and demography have changed and the challenges increased.
“Yet our institutions, approaches, and often mindsets, reflect the wisdom of the century we have left behind, not the century we live in. This is especially true of the United Nations Security Council,” he said.
“The reform of the Security Council within a fixed time frame has become an urgent and important task. The Security Council must include the world’s largest democracies, major locomotives of the global economy, and voices from all the major continents,” he stressed.
Referring to the General Assembly recently adopting a negotiating document for Security Council reforms, Modi said the G4 should aim to take the process “to its logical conclusion during the 70th session”.
The four countries “expressed determination to redouble their efforts towards securing concrete outcomes during the 70th session of the General Assembly”.
The G-4 leaders stressed that a more representative, legitimate and effective Security Council is needed more than ever to address the global conflicts and crises, which had spiralled in recent years. This can be achieved by reflecting realities of the international community in the 21st century, where more member states have the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities for maintenance of international peace and security, said the joint statement.
Rousseff, in her brief remarks, said the UNGA has 193 members, while the 15-member Security Council, with the five permanent members, is “insufficient representation” of the changed world order.
“We need a council that will reflect the proper representation of world powers.. and is effective,” she said, adding that Brazil gives its “firm commitment” to G4 efforts.
Merkel said the world has changed since the formation of the UNSC 70 years ago with state and non-state actors, terrorists, and “I have never seen as many refugees”, there are natural disasters.
“It makes it incumbent on the UN to reform, of the UNSC to better reflect the distribution of powers. We need to be prudent and talk to the others to change the format of the UNSC,” she said.
“Not just the four of us, others too have voiced similar views,” she said, and added that the group should take along others who share similar views.
Abe said the grouping “must respond to voices of the majority of nations” seeking reform of the UNSC.
The G4 also noted with appreciation the efforts of member states in moving towards text-based negotiations. They welcomed, in particular, the efforts undertaken by the African Group, CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) and the L.69 Group (a group of developing countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific).
Supporting Africa’s representation in both the permanent and non-permanent membership in the Security Council, the also noted the importance of adequate and continuing representation of small and medium sized member states, including the small island developing states, in an expanded and reformed council, the statement said.
In his address to the United Nations Sustainable Development summit on Friday, Modi had made a strong pitch for the Security Council’s reform “so that it carries greater credibility and legitimacy and will be more representative and effective in achieving our goals.”
India is the single largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping operations and has been seeking an enhanced role in the UN’s decision making process.