Focus: GS-II International Relations

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India has joined hands with Brazil, Germany and Japan to call for expediting the process for reforming the UN Security Council, with the four countries saying that inter-governmental negotiations on the issue have dragged on for more than a decade without substantial progress.

Details

  • The four countries, also known as G4, outlined their position in a common letter submitted to the President of the UN General Assembly.
  • They demanded action for transforming the UN Security Council in line with “Common African Position”, and said negotiations shouldn’t be held “hostage, procedurally and substantially, by those who do not wish to bring about reform”.
  • India’s letter referred to the draft decision regarding roll-over of the inter-governmental negotiations on equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council, and said this process “must capture clearly the tangible progress”.
  • The letter said clear progress was made in the negotiations this year with member states backing the “Common African Position” as laid down in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, and the “urgent need for transparency and application of the General Assembly’s rules of procedure to the inter-governmental negotiations”.
  • The Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, containing the common African position on reform of the UN Security Council, were developed by a committee on UN reform established by the African Union Summit in 2005.
  • The letter also emphasised the need to redress the “historical injustice against Africa” and to “ensure better African representation in a reformed Security Council in line with the Common African Position”.
  • India and the three other countries also expressed their concerns about the inter-governmental negotiations since 2009, saying “there has been practically no progress in the discussions”.

United Nations Security Council

  • The Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
  • Its primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter- Hence, it is the only body of the UN with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget.
  • It has 15 Members (5 as Permanent Members and 10 as Non- Permanent Members), and each Member has one vote.
  • Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of the Permanent Members has Veto Power over every decision of UNSC.
  • The Permanent Residence of UNSC in the UN Headquarters New York City, USA.
  • The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states.

Functions and Powers of UNSC:

Under the United Nations Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:

  1. to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  2. to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  3. to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  4. to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  5. to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  6. to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  7. to take military action against an aggressor;
  8. to recommend the admission of new Members;
  9. to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”;
  10. to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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