The very institution and functioning of United Nation Security Council have always been in question since its establishment.
Last year in 2022 the proposal was passed in United Nations General Assembly by consensus. The proposal said that all five permanent members of the UNSC will have to give justification for their use of Veto powers to the UNGA. But there was a catch, that resolution was non-binding to the p5 members. This raised the question of accountability as it was completely up to permanent members to justify the use of Veto or not.
India’s deputy representative to UN R. Ravindra criticized the reform by saying this will not address the root cause of the issue and also raised concerns about the so-called Take It or Leave It initiatives of powerful members.
The veto power has always been at the core of concern as it gives disproportionate power to some countries. All the five permanent members of the UNSC US, France, Russia, China, and the UK have this Veto power. All these countries have misused this power over time according to their Suitability. As of March 2022 Russia and USSR have used 143 Vetoes, the US has cast 83 Vetoes, the UK has used 32 Vetoes, and China & France have used 18-18 Vetoes. These numbers show the continuous misuse of Vetoes by these countries for spreading their agenda and exerting a monopoly over other member countries.
For instance, America Vetoed the resolution against the invasion of Iraq, and Britain and France used Veto against Egypt during the time of the Suez crises, America een continuously vetoed every resolution against Israel. China has used veto many times to block India’s attempt to ban Pakistani terrorists. Another very problem of the UNSC is its underrepresentation.
UNSC doesn’t have any permanent representatives from the continent like Latin America and Africa. Their interest and decisions have always been overpowered by powerful countries. The absence of other important countries as permanent members like India, Australia, Japan, Germany, and South Africa is seriously a matter of great concern.
Due to this very exclusiveness of the UNSC, the credibility and effectiveness in the decision-making of the council are at stake. So, lack of inclusivity is a very big problem in the existing nature of the council.
There have been huge differences and divisions among permanent members of the security council, and because of that important key decisions have been dropped and blocked by these p5 members. Mostly they do not reach in consensus and then either the decisions are not taken or not heeded. According to experts the greater financial contribution by these powerful members in the UN’s budget has given them extra leverage over other member countries.
Way forward for UNSC
Expansion of the UNSC Council- there is a need to expand both permanent and non-permanent seats of the council to make it more diverse for better decision-making and dealing with complex challenges. bringing inclusivity for giving all the countries equal opportunity in decision-making is very crucial for the proper functioning of the council. This reform is very much necessary for establishing peace and prosperity across the globe.
Making UNSC More Egalitarian- the necessity to correct the power imbalance among p5 countries and other member countries is at the fore of the reform of UNSC. There should be proper debate and discussion over Veto power. Some countries even demanded to either drop the Veto or give the Veto power to everyone. There should be a proper check on the credibility and relevancy of Veto power.
Fair and Impartial Representation- There should be a fair and equitable representation of the countries from all the regions. Decentralization of power in the UNSC will make the council more democratic & fair. This will give equal opportunity to all the member countries in decision-making. The decentralized UNSC will be more helpful for other nation to raise their concern regarding peace, stability, and other issues.
India and other important countries like Japan, Germany, South Africa, Australia, etc. should come together and bring proposals regarding reforming UNSC in a manner that gives them a chance to present their ideas and perspective in the global forum. As one of the non-permanent India should reach out to other countries from the global south for pushing the rm & changes. The UNSC of the 21st century must be the council of dynamic and diversified member countries.