Written by Hadi Bah    PDF Print E-mail
UN Security Council reform, a wild goose, should not be chased by Sierra Leone
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UN Security Council reform has been a preoccupation of many countries and organizations since the Council comprised of five permanent members with veto power and six non-permanent members met for the first time on January 17, 1946 in London.

UNSCAll efforts at reform have failed and barring a miracle, the African Union's Committee of Ten or C-10 chaired by Sierra Leonean President Ernest B. Koroma with the goal of getting Africa two permanent seats with veto power on the Council will inevitably also achieve the same results.

While the USA, Britain, France, Russia, and China, the five countries with permanent seats known as the P-5 have formed a united front against any challenges to their power of veto, the rest of the world is disorganized in groupings of countries from different regions of the world with contradictory proposals for reform of the UN Charter.

It was to some of these groups, some with African members, others without, all with different suggestions for UN reform that President Koroma was alluding when he mentioned the G-4, L-69, and Uniting for Consensus in his speech at the recent AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

But even within the C-10, there is fierce competition among top contenders Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa for the two permanent seats Africa aspires to. Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Algeria have also expressed an interest in getting promoted to the Security Council in the unlikely event the African aspiration becomes a reality.

With fifty-four current members from Africa after starting with only six in 1946, the UN is well aware of the need for some changes to its charter. The UN's own in-house reform group, the "Open-ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other Matters Related to the Security Council," also known as the Working Group has been working to achieve that goal since 1993.

Unfortunately, the only token reform in all these years, proposals and efforts, occurred in 1965 when the UN Security Council was symbolically enlarged to fifteen members from eleven and the requirement for a majority vote amended to nine from seven.

Real reform of the UN Charter can only come from Washington, Paris, Moscow, London or Beijing, capitals where the attitude toward UN Security Council reform is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Leaders in Harare, Niamey or Cairo, capitals visited by President Koroma  as chairman of the C-10, who want democracy at the UN Security Council but do not practice the same in their own countries, can only raise their fists and shout slogans at annual UN General Assembly gatherings.

Therefore, Sierra Leone's meager resources will be better spent on food, medicine and education for Sierra Leoneans rather than on the elusive African ambition of two seats with veto power on the UN Security Council. Basic UN Security Council reform is an objective many countries and organizations have failed to achieve for over six decades.

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