Foreign Policy Watch: United Nations

G4 countries call for UNSC reforms

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : G4, Coffee Club, UNSC

Mains level : UNSC reforms

g4

The G4 nations have said that the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reform are constrained by a lack of openness and transparency.

Who are the G4 Countries?

  • The G4 nations, comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
  • Their primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council.
  • Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5).

Deterrent in their cause

  • The UK and France have backed the G4’s bid for permanent seats.
  • All the permanent members of P5 have supported India’s bids for permanent seat.
  • However, China has previously implied that it is only ready to support India if it does not associate its bid with Japan.
  • The US has sent strong indications to Brazil that it is willing to support its membership; albeit, without a veto.

What holds them back?

  • There has been discontent among the present permanent members regarding the inclusion of controversial nations or countries not supported by them.
  • For instance, Japan’s bid is heavily opposed by China, North Korea, Russia and South Korea who think that Japan needs to make sincere reparations for war crimes committed during World War II.
  • Under the leadership of Italy, countries that strongly oppose the G4 countries’ bids have formed the Uniting for Consensus movement, also called as Coffee Club.
  • In Asia, Pakistan opposes India’s bid.

Why India deserves a permanent seat?

  • India has been part of UN since inception.
  • It has the world’s second-largest population and is the world’s largest democracy suited to represent South Asia.
  • It has contributed maximum peacekeepers to UN so far.

Why reform UNSC?

  • Non-representative nature: UNSC in current form is not representative of developing world and global needs, with primacy of policy being political tool in hands of P5, is well recognised globally.
  • Contention over Veto and Technical Holds: Veto power with P5 enables any one of them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support.
  • Divided institution: UNSC has become an organisation, which can pass strong resolutions against weak countries, weak resolutions against strong countries and no resolution against P5 countries.

Conclusion

  • There is a possibility that if UN doesn’t reform itself, it may lose relevance and alternate global and regional groupings may assume greater importance.
  • More global pressure from middle powers like G4 may force an expansion of UNSC as a possibility, but abolition of veto power in current set up is unlikely

Back2Basics: United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

  • The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.
  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

 

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