Need for Security Council reform is greater than ever, says Annan as he urges action

21 September 2006

As part of his further efforts to speed up the process of United Nations reform, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said the 15-member Security Council must change to reflect the new reality of international relations, and called on all Member States to find a compromise solution to resolve the impasse.

“No reform of the United Nations will be complete without reform of the Security Council. And, indeed, so long as the Council remains unreformed, the whole process of transforming governance in other parts of the system is handicapped by the perception of an inequitable distribution of power,” he told a dinner hosted by Pakistan and Italy.

“For the good of the world’s peoples and the United Nations, we cannot allow the current stalemate to continue… You have discussed this issue for a long time, and, in fact, last year it was a subject of intense debate and discussions among you. The need is clear and has never been greater.”

Mr. Annan also emphasized that if the Council was not reformed it was difficult to see how it could respond to the demands made by Member States, especially for peacekeepers, adding that their numbers had more than quadrupled in the last 10 years alone. Currently, there are five veto-wielding permanent Council members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The world has changed dramatically since 1945, and the Security Council must change, too,” he said.

“Today we have over 90,000 [UN peacekeepers] deployed, and if we are to comply fully with the mandates the Security Council has now given us in Lebanon, Timor-Leste, Sudan – that is, Darfur – the total will surge to nearly 140,000 troops. It will not be easy to raise such numbers of troops from countries which feel inadequately represented in the Council that is deciding the mandates.”

He lamented that while “virtually everyone” agrees on the need to expand the Council, States had become “entrenched” in supporting the various options that have been outlined for reform and called on them to think anew on their positions.

“Countries on both sides of the divide stand to benefit if a compromise solution could be found. All will suffer if the stalemate is allowed to continue… I hope the entire membership will make a new and urgent effort to explore new ways forward. The peoples of the world are waiting.”

In March last year, Mr. Annan issued a report entitled In Larger Freedom , in which he endorsed two models for reforming the Council. The first model provides for six new permanent seats – two each from Africa and Asia, and one each from Europe and the Americas, with no veto being created. The second model provides for no new permanent seats, but creates a new category of eight four-year renewable-term seats, and one new two-year non-permanent (and non-renewable) seat, divided among the major regional areas.

 

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