News Excerpt
The year 2020 commemorates the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

●    The Five Eyes (FVEY)— Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States— along with India, objected to the use of a phrase “shared vision of a common future”, which is associated with China.
●    The Five Eyes (FVEY) network is an intelligence sharing alliance between these five countries.
●    Later, the UN Member States arrived at consensus on the text of the declaration for the commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary (UN75).
●    The silence procedure was used to finalize the declaration. The ‘silence process’ is a procedure by which a resolution passes if no formal objections are raised within a stipulated time.

    The Charter was signed in June 1945, at San Francisco, at the conclusion of the UN Conference.
    The UN is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.
    The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.
    Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the UN can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century. Such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.
    The UN also provides a forum for its members to express their views in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council other bodies and committees.
    By enabling dialogue between its members, and by hosting negotiations, the Organization has become a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together.

Is the Security Council still relevant in its current form?
    Created 75 years ago, aftermath of the WW II, the UN’s primary purpose is to maintain international peace and security.
    The Security Council was originally conceived on a basis of responsibility and capacity, rather than on a principle of representation.
    It was composed of five permanent members – the victors of the WW II, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and six non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms.
    The major issue with the UNSC is that the membership of the Security Council has changed very little since its inception in 1945, even though the number of UN member states has almost quadrupled since then and the relative power of member states has changed significantly.
    Most importantly, the performance of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security has been poor. It failed in its actions in Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda. Recently, the Security Council has failed to act to resolve crises in Crimea, Syria and Yemen.
    The five permanent members accounted for more than 50% of the world’s population in 1945, but today they constitute 26% of the global population, with more than two-thirds in China alone.
    Without China, the other four permanent member states account for just 7.8% of the world’s population.
    The geographical distribution adopted in the early 1960’s today gives 47% of the seats to the 52 member states of groups comprising Western and Eastern Europe, plus Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States, while they account for about 17.1% of the world’s population.
    The 53 countries in the Asia-Pacific Group, which represent 58.6% of the global population, have 20% of the seats. As well, the 54 states from the African Group, which represent 15.8% of the planet’s population, hold 20% of the seats.

Proposals for Reform
    Reform of the UNSC encompasses five key issues:
○    (i) categories of membership,
○    (ii) the question of the veto held by the five permanent members,
○    (iii) regional representation,
○    (iv) the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and the
○    (v)Security Council-General Assembly relationship.
    Several proposals are on the table. The most significant is that put forward by the Group of Four – G4- Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.
    The members of that group wish to enlarge the membership of the Council so that they, together with two states from the African Group including South Africa, can have a permanent seat with the same privileges as the current members.
    In a counterproposal, members of the Uniting for Consensus Group, created in the mid-1990s and formerly known as the Coffee Club, favours a simple increase in the number of seats occupied by non-permanent members from 10 to 20.
    Few countries are also juggling the idea of creating a new category of semi-permanent members and limiting the veto power of permanent members on a case-by-case basis.
    All these proposals suggest that there is a consensus among member states on the need for Security Council reform.
    None of the proposals has the unanimous support of the permanent members and would not be able to garner the support of two-thirds of member states.
    The impasse contributes weakening the authority, legitimacy and effectiveness.

The road ahead is not easy. Russia, China, and the U.S. — are opposed to any major restructuring of the Council. While Russia and the U.S. have said they would support India’s UNSC bid, when it comes to proceedings at the UN, their positions represent a far away from the promises.
    The permanent members should realise that a more democratic and representative Council would be better equipped to address global concerns, and that there are more pressing issues to be tackled at the global level than merely preserving their prerogatives.
    The champions of reforms — India, Japan, Germany, and Brazil — should continue their multilateral diplomacy for a democratically evolved global consensus on restructuring the UNSC.