India pushes for reforming ‘stagnating’ UNSC

United Nations, April 17 (IANS) India has made a strong case for reforming the UN Security Council, saying that while 80 more countries have joined the UN in the past 50 years the Council has not undergone the slightest change, terming this an “unnatural situation of stagnation” in a dynamic international environment.

Asoke Kumar Mukerji, India’s new Permanent Representative at the UN, in his maiden speech after presenting his credentials to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said that despite nearly 80 percent of the Security Council’s work being focused on Africa the Council did not have even one permanent member from any of the 54 states of the continent. He termed this a “truly bizarre situation”.

Mukerji said the argument for reforms “is more compelling than ever before”.

“It appears to be just a matter of time when the body may either have to willingly embrace change or be made to accept change as a fait accompli,” said Mukerji, who has taken over from Hardeep Singh Puri, who stepped down Feb 28.

Mukerji was addressing the ninth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council, said a statement Wednesday.

Mukerji said that eight rounds of negotiations have already taken place and proposed that it was time to move from words to action “from a mere repetition of old stated positions to achieving tangible progress”. He also said “we must avoid falling into long periods of stasis and inertia”.

He said the African group and the L69 Group – comprising countries from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific – have converged. Countries of the Caribbean Community CARICOM – an organisation of 15 nations and dependencies – are also pushing for early reforms.

“We member states who are positively committed to seeking early reforms of the Security Council look to you as a repository of the collective investment of all our endeavours since we embarked upon this IGN roadmap in the 63rd UNGA in 2009”, he said.

He said that reform of institutions of global governance, including the UN Security Council, “and ensuring that they reflect contemporary reality, has been a matter of foremost importance to my country”.

The last expansion in the UN Security Council took place in 1963 – an increase of four in the non-permanent category from 11 to 15. “Since then, membership of the United Nations has increased from 113 to 193. Mr. Chairman, 80 more countries have joined the United Nations, but the composition of its premier body, mandated to maintain international peace and security, has not undergone even the slightest change.”

“This is an unnatural situation of stagnation in a dynamic and rapidly changing international environment,” said Mukerji.

India, along with Brazil, Germany and Japan – also called the G4 countries – has called for expanding the permanent membership of the Security Council.

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