African nations appear at last to be making some headway in their quest for United Nations Security Council reforms.
Since 2005, the African Union’s Committee of 10 – currently led by President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone – has pressed for two permanent member seats on the UNSC, and two additional non-permanent seats, to reflect a more inclusive participation of African Union (AU) member states in the council’s authority.
The Ezulwini Consensus position has been discussed for years without action, adding to the frustration of African heads of state. This time, however, as the UN General Assembly comes to a close, it seems that Security Council reform may follow not just Maada Bio’s call, but that of Secretary General António Guterres who noted the world has changed since World War II and proposes that the council should reflect the modern era.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for more nations to become permanent and non-permanent members, although China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States have not. The five countries make up the permanent Security Council members, with the associated veto powers.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia said his nation was open to reforms earlier this year, as has India which has joined Brazil, Germany and Japan in seeking permanent seats and more balanced representation. Nigeria and South Africa are among the continent’s more visible nations hoping to achieve the same goal.
Maada Bio pointed out that Africa remains under-represented, and the Security Council will remain undemocratic and discriminatory in the absence of meaningful reform.
President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, which currently has a non-permanent seat, also made the case for reforms. The other African nations holding non-permanent seats are Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia.
Image: UN file