The reform of the United Nations Security Council is one of the long-standing demands of the Non-Aligned Movement, which regards it in a wider context of the reform of international global order, entailing efficiency and legitimacy of the UN system. NAM believes that in its current composition as well as functioning, the Council is unable to articulate a balanced and inclusive vision of world order that satisfactorily reflects the views of the developing countries. NAM’s principled position that in order to enhance regional representation; there is consensus that the council must be enlarged to improve the current makeup, giving more weight to regions such as Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean states, especially when most agenda issues centre on these regions.
NAM has acknowledged the historical injustices against Africa with regard to its representation in the Security Council and expressed support for increased and enhanced representation for Africa in the reformed Security Council. The Movement has taken note of African common position that as a block, Africa represents possibly the biggest part of UN membership but at the same time, is the only continent without a permanent seat in the Security Council. Moreover, it is an injustice that Africa is excluded from a forum where 70 per cent of the discussions deal with its fate.
In this context, NAM has taken cognizance of the African position as reflected in Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. The Ezulwini Consensus is a position on international relations and reform of the United Nations, agreed by the African Union. It calls for a more representative and democratic Security Council, in which Africa, like all other world regions, is represented. It was adopted in the 7th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council meeting held on 7- 8 March 2005 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
As per the Ezulwini Consensus, Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security. Full representation of Africa in the Security Council means: 1) not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto; and 2) five non-permanent seats. The Consensus states that even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, it is of the view that so long as it exists, and as a matter of common justice, it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council.
According to the Ezulwini Consensus, the African Union should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives in the Security Council. The question of the criteria for the selection of African members of the Security Council should be a matter for the African Union to determine, taking into consideration the representative nature and capacity of those chosen.
African bloc firmly believes that this common African position as espoused in Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration is the only viable option to redress the historical injustice done to the African Continent. The reform of the UN Security Council should be comprehensive in accordance with Decision 62/557 of the UN General Assembly which pertains to the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters.
Africa’s position on the reform of UN Security Council was reiterated in May 2017 in Communiqué of the Malabo Consultative Summit of The African Union Committee Of Ten (C-10) Heads Of State And Government. The Communiqué noted the continued support for the Common African Position by UN Member States but emphasized that African Countries should stay united on the reform of the Security Council, speak with one voice and unequivocally support the Common African Position in terms of allocating two seats in the Permanent Category with all its prerogatives and privileges including the Right of Veto, and two additional seats in the Non-permanent category of the Security Council.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur