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India’s Advocacy for Security Council Overhaul: G4 Model


Participating in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, India has presented a detailed model on behalf of the G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) nations for United Nations Security Council Reform.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Features of the G4 Proposed Model for UN Security Council Reform
  2. United Nations Security Council
  3. Reasons for the Reform of the UN Security Council

Key Features of the G4 Proposed Model for UN Security Council Reform

Representation Concerns:

  • Highlights the significant under-representation and complete lack of representation of certain regions.
  • Stresses that this underrepresentation undermines the Council’s legitimacy and effectiveness.

Membership Expansion:

  • Advocates for increasing the Security Council’s membership from 15 to 25-26 members.

Composition Breakdown:

  • Permanent Members:
    • Proposes adding 6 new permanent members.
    • Two each from African and Asia Pacific states.
    • One from Latin American and Caribbean states.
    • One from Western European and Other states.
  • Non-Permanent Members:
    • Suggests adding 4 or 5 new non-permanent members.

Veto Power:

  • Introduces flexibility regarding the veto issue:
    • New permanent members would initially refrain from using the veto.
    • A decision on veto powers would be deferred until a review process is conducted.
    • Demonstrates a commitment to engaging in constructive negotiations on the veto issue.

Selection Process:

  • Emphasizes a democratic and inclusive election process by the UN General Assembly to determine which member states occupy the new permanent seats.

United Nations Security Council

  • The Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
  • The Permanent Residence of UNSC in the UN Headquarters New York City, USA.
  • 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.
  • The Five permanent members are: 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 Ten non-permanent members are Elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis.
  • As per the rules of procedure, a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election and the election is held by secret ballot and there are no nominations.
  • 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:

  • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  • to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • to take military action against an aggressor;
  • to recommend the admission of new Members;
  • to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”;
  • 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.

Reasons for the Reform of the UN Security Council

  • Global Importance: The Security Council is pivotal in peacekeeping, making binding decisions that impact all member states.
  • Necessity for Legitimacy and Authority: For universal respect and implementation of its decisions, the Council needs enhanced authority and legitimacy.
  • Outdated Composition: The Council’s current composition, established in 1945 and slightly updated in 1963/65, does not reflect today’s global geopolitical realities.
  • Need for Enhanced Representation: With the addition of 142 new countries to the UN since its establishment, significant regions like Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean lack adequate representation.
  • Recognition of Contributions: The UN Charter acknowledges that countries making substantial contributions to the organization should be represented in the Security Council.
    • Countries like India, Germany, and Japan, among others, deserve consideration for new permanent seats due to their meaningful contributions to the UN’s objectives.
  • Risk of Decision-Making Shift: Without reform, decision-making processes could gravitate towards alternative forums, potentially undermining the Council’s effectiveness.
  • Counterproductive Competition: Competition for influence outside the Security Council is not in the collective interest of member states.
  • Criticism of Veto Power: The use of veto power by the P-5 members has been criticized for being undemocratic and obstructive to essential decision-making processes.
  • Need for Inclusive Decision-Making: In today’s interconnected global security landscape, relying on exclusive decision-making frameworks is considered outdated and inappropriate.

-Source:  The Hindu

May 2024