UN Security Council is the organ with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the UN Security Council must work constantly to enhance its potential for the prevention and settlement of conflicts. The Council’s current structure is 5 permanent members (China, France, Russia, UK, the U.S.) each with the right to veto, and 10 non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for 2 year terms. Under the UN Charter, it is the only body that can take decisions binding on all UN members. The U.S. and other permanent members of the Council must ratify any changes to the UN Charter, including any changes to the Council’s size or powers. The creation of a broader, more representative Security Council should be pursued on the basis of general consensus, and with a view to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness of Council operations.
The problem arose with the veto and closed-door antics of the five permanent members are behind a lot of what’s wrong in the dysfunctional UN these days. Narrow national objectives, not international good, are what drives decisions. And a power structure based on the world 55 years ago has no place at the UN today. The Reform would affect all the world and the permanent members are the ones with the major say in this matter, but none of them state an explicit position. However, it seems like there are two things that are clear. First, there are odds about how large the Security Council should be and second, uncertainty about what would be appropriate allocation of seats between the permanent and non-permanent category and between the industrialised and developing countries in a reformed Security Council.
Country’s involvement with the issue
Bangladesh’s priorities will be guided by our prime preoccupation to see an effective and efficient United Nations. It is our conviction that in the pot-Cold War era, the UN should assume its rightful primary role in world affairs. Bangladesh will therefore favor a more proactive role of the Security Council. We will make every effort to ensure that the Security Council has the commitment, the unity and the capacity to address, in any expeditious and effective manner, all issues of international peace and security. We shall promote openness and transparency in the work of the Council as well.
Bangladesh’s fundamental tenets of the country’s foreign policy involves resect for national sovereignty and equality, non-interference in the international affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, right of people to self-determination and respect for international laws. It is inevitable that the representation of the P-5 tends to get into self-interest more than the world-wide good. Therefore, there should be representation on the Security Council by more countries. The matter does not lie in whether Permanent members should be added or not, it lies in that developing countries and different regions should also have representation.
There seems to be disagreements amongst the P-5 also. First of all, all of them seem to agree on the enlargement of the Council. Nevertheless, the cannot get to specific numbers. They also refuse to name the candidates for future “Permanent members”. Even though Japan and Germany seem to be the favorites, Japan publicly bases its clam on the fact that it contributes 19.9 percent of the UN’s general budget, more than any other country except the U.S. , which contributes 25 percent. Germany, with 9.8 percent, is the third payer, followed by Britain and France. We would like the stress that the UN Security Council Permanent membership is NOT for sale…
Because of the absence of a clear set of objective criteria for Security Council membership, jockeying at the UN for any new seats will be fierce. There would be possible conflicts and tension between different countries if there are open seats in the Permanent membership. For example, if India (which is a regional power in Asia) becomes a Permanent member, Pakistan would not quietly accept it. It would then, become an issue for Bangladesh as well. Assuming sheer economic size and weight within regions as the lowest common denominator for judging potential new members, obvious candidates under some sort of semi-permanent arrangement quickly emerge. In Asia for example, Pakistan, India and Indonesia are major regional powers. Under more detailed criteria such as human rights or economic development, on the other hand, many of these same countries might disqualify themselves.
Middle powers oppose this reform route give the stakes involved in adding new permanent members. We would like to support the proposal of adding no permanent members, but rather a new class of rotating seats, to which some 20 or 30 states (the ones making significant contributions to the UN’s peace and security functions and to the other purposes of the Organization) would have access.
We also would like to see a change in the power of veto of the Permanent Five. Until 1990, the US and the Soviet Union combined to cast a total of 279 vetoes. In the last five years, the veto has been used only twice. However, the veto is still a powerful tool. The new members should not be allowed to veto. And, since no one expects the Permanent Five will abandon their vetoes soon, we support the possibility of requiring a double or triple veto to defeat a resolution, and also suggest limiting the kids of issues over which a veto can be exercised. At a minimum, the P-5 should not be able to veto Charter amendments or the appointment of the Secretary-General. (possibly, veto should only be allowed on peace-keeping and enforcement measures). This change should be done in order to improve the transparency of the Security Council and avoid having countries acting upon their narrow interests. Also, this would help improve the relationship between the Security Council and the Secretarist. Also, the flow of information between the two should be done more on public, to let the world know what is going on (in order to make it more transparent and efficient).
In conclusion, we would like to say that we would make efforts for the best of the Security Council, for its efficiency and transparency. For this, we would like to propose enlargement of Security Council with more representations from different regions as well as developing countries, but with no more new permanent members. As for the existing P-5, we would like to suggest limitation of their power of veto and a more public relationship with the Secretarist.