By the Gstaad Project
“The beginning of the 21st century needs a global governance system that is efficient, inclusive and representative – a governance system that combines, in a coherent manner, legitimacy, leadership and expertise. Time was needed for reflection, but now we have to move to action.” This is how Joseph Deiss, President of the United Nations General Assembly, opened yesterday’s Rome Conference on Global Governance and Security Council Reform, sponsored by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini and the Uniting for Consensus movement.
“There is no doubt – Deiss said – the UN Security Council also has to adapt to the changes that occurred since 1945.”
Indeed, the reform of the powerful UN council, composed by five permanent members – including the United States, France, the UK, China, Russia – and 10 rotating members with a two-year term, has been a topic of discussion for nearly two decades.
“And there is no satisfactory progress,” Deiss highlighted. “While there is general recognition of the need to reform and to enlarge the Council, opinions diverge when it comes to the more concrete questions such as the category of new members, their number, their geographic distribution and the Council’s working methods.”
Various countries have been pushing for years to gain a coveted permanent seat. The so-called G-4 or Group of Four, which includes Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan – is one of the more active diplomatically. Another group, United for Consensus, formerly known as the Coffee Club is instead pushing for more rotating seats or regional seats to be assigned to regional organizations. While it includes a long list of countries, the most active are Italy and Pakistan. Both oppose any new permanent seat, with or without veto power.
“We should reflect on a principles-based approach to enlargement, without prejudging any final formula, which will be a decision of the UN General Assembly,” Italian Foreign Minister Frattini said. “A longer presence in the Council (through permanent or long-term seats) confers both rights and responsibilities. Obligations of being guarantor of peace and stability in the world imply qualifications for the job which have not been dedicate enough focus and discussion yet. There is thus a pressing need to discuss the general principles for representation, participation, and involvement in the Security Council of those who aim at shouldering greater responsibility.”