Topic: GS2 – International organisations
- The issue of fundamental reforms at the United Nations (UN) has resurfaced at the ongoing General Assembly session.
- Concerns raised by various leaders and the UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres about the need for reforms.
Unjust Geopolitical Reality:
- The five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) hold veto power, a privilege granted after World War II.
- The composition of the Security Council reflects the geopolitical realities of 1945, with only 15 members in a world with 193 member-states.
- Europe holds a disproportionate number of seats, while large contributors like Japan and Germany are excluded from permanent membership.
Equity and Injustice:
- Many countries contribute significantly to the UN’s budget but are not represented as permanent members.
- India, with its size, economic contributions, and peacekeeping operations, remains excluded.
Stalemate in Reform Efforts:
- The Security Council is in need of reform to reflect the contemporary world.
- While some countries advocate for change, others resist reform due to competition, historical grievances, or envy.
- The UN Charter sets a high bar for any amendment, requiring a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly and ratification by member states.
Complex Rivalries and Hurdles:
- Rivalries between nations, such as India and China, or Brazil and its Latin American neighbors, create challenges in reform efforts.
- Africa, with 54 member-states, faces difficulties in deciding which countries should hold permanent seats.
- Proposals like creating “semi-permanent members” for limited terms have found little support.
Continued Gridlock in the UN:
- The lack of reform has led to gridlock in the Security Council, as seen in issues like the Ukraine conflict.
- Russia’s frequent use of the veto power has blocked resolutions on various matters.
- This gridlock raises questions about the effectiveness and relevance of the UN system in addressing global challenges.
Importance of UN’s Role:
- Despite its shortcomings, the UN remains the primary global platform for international cooperation and diplomacy.
- The debate over reforms highlights the urgency of ensuring the UN can effectively address current global challenges.
Question: Discuss the challenges and obstacles in the path of United Nations reform, particularly regarding the composition of the Security Council. Analyze the implications of this reform deadlock.