UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has once again called for a consensus before changing the form and size of the Security Council (UNSC), countering India’s effort to add more permanent members to the world body.

“The UN General Assembly has agreed — repeatedly — that the Security Council needs to be reformed through its expansion on the basis of equitable geographic representation,” said Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram.

“We need a more representative, democratic, transparent, effective and accountable Security Council,” said the Pakistani envoy while participating in the annual debate on UNSC reforms at the UN headquarters in New York this week.

Indian Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, however, told the General Assembly session on the reforms that a group of 13 countries that includes Italy and Pakistan “have blocked the adoption of a negotiating text, unless there is a consensus, although a consensus cannot be reached without meaningful discussions which require a basic document”.

Envoy highlights need for a more representative UNSC

But Ambassador Akram argued that the reform of the Security Council involved the vital national interest of each and every UN member. “That is why the General Assembly decided in resolution 53/30 that any decision relating to Security Council reform will be adopted by a two-thirds majority of all member states,” he reminded the member states.

In 1995, Italy, Pakistan, Mexico, and Egypt, founded the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group that counters the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations — Brazil, Germany, India and Japan.

UFC calls for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council. The founders of the group were soon joined by other countries and in a short time the group came to include about 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In May 2011, the number of member-states, which have participated in the group meetings, rose to 120. In 2005, the UFC group proposed enlarging the number of non-permanent UNSC members from ten to twenty. In 2009, they proposed creating a new category of seats, still non-permanent, but elected for an extended duration without the possibility of immediate re-election.

The G4 proposes expanding UNSC membership from 15 to 25 by adding six permanent members and four non-permanent members, with the objective of the G4 obtaining permanent membership. The G-4 agrees to forego their right to the veto for at least 15 years. Six new permanent members would include two from Africa, two from Asia-Pacific, one from Latin America and Caribbean and one from Western Europe.

Pakistan argues that “consensus on Security Council reform has been impeded, from the outset, by the demand of four countries that they be selected as new permanent members in an expanded Security Council”.

Pakistan believes that G4’s demand violates the principle of sovereign equality of States; it ignores the reality that permanent membership and the veto often prevent the council from being effective.

To achieve agreement on reform, Pakistan suggests addressing divergence on key issues, such as expanding the size of the Council with proposals ranging from 21 to 27. Creating two categories of membership. At least 4 different options for veto, from abolition to expansion. Regional “model” for representation on the Security Council.

The size of an expanded Council should be 26 with the additional seats distributed proportionally among the 5 regions. Each region could, however, be allocated some longer-term seats, or seats against which immediate re-election is possible.

In addition, the small states should be allocated one floating seat, in addition to their ability to contest for the other regional seats.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2022

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