The Multilateralist

Security Council reform is back

The Times of India reports on a new diplomatic push by the four leading candidates for permanent Security Council membership: India, Japan, Brazil and Germany chose the Indian Republic Day to launch a fresh offensive in the UN for expansion of the Security Council. The G-4, as they are better known, for the first time, ...

The Times of India reports on a new diplomatic push by the four leading candidates for permanent Security Council membership:

India, Japan, Brazil and Germany chose the Indian Republic Day to launch a fresh offensive in the UN for expansion of the Security Council. The G-4, as they are better known, for the first time, put a joint bid for the UN Security Council during a closed plenary session at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, which is headed by Zahir Tanin, the UN ambassador from Afghanistan.

In a strongly worded statement, the G-4 countries said, "This Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, taking into consideration the contributions made by countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the need for increased representation of developing countries in both categories. On numerous occasions, we have reconfirmed our view that Africa should be represented in the permanent membership in an enlarged Council."

The Times of India reports on a new diplomatic push by the four leading candidates for permanent Security Council membership:

India, Japan, Brazil and Germany chose the Indian Republic Day to launch a fresh offensive in the UN for expansion of the Security Council. The G-4, as they are better known, for the first time, put a joint bid for the UN Security Council during a closed plenary session at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, which is headed by Zahir Tanin, the UN ambassador from Afghanistan.

In a strongly worded statement, the G-4 countries said, "This Council should be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership, taking into consideration the contributions made by countries to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as the need for increased representation of developing countries in both categories. On numerous occasions, we have reconfirmed our view that Africa should be represented in the permanent membership in an enlarged Council."

The article presents China as the main obstacle to Council reform; I’d say the more serious problem is the inability of these four to convince a critical mass of the broader UN membership that reform would mean more than adding to the ranks of the privileged major-powers. With its emphasis on more non-permanent seats and more Council transparency, the statement suggests that they are committed to crafting a reform package that could entice the small and mid-size states needed to achieve a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly (the threshhold for amending the UN Charter). If they manage that, my guess is that the current P5, even China, would be hard pressed to torpedo the initiative.

David Bosco is an associate professor at Indiana University's School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of books on the U.N. Security Council and the International Criminal Court, and is at work on a new book about governance of the oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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