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