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Chasing the Security Council DREAM Yeshi Choedon traces the contours of various competing initiatives for reform of the U.N. Security Council and underlines the need for unity among African countries to translate this dream into reality


ne of the major issues that has This section also highlights the common proposal developed preoccupied member-states of by the African Union (AU). The last section focuses on the the United Nations in the post- attempts made to reach a common agreement between the Gcold war era is the question of 4 and AU to put up a joint proposal and examines reasons for reforming the U.N. Security the failure of these attempts. It concludes with an analysis of Council. This issue has come the lost opportunity, which is mainly due to the lack of unity to the forefront at a time when among developing countries. the U.N. Security Council is believed to be actually perform- (i) ing the tasks assigned to it by the U.N. Charter, i.e., managing peace and security issues. There has been a deepening and At no point of time in the history of the U.N. was a serious broadening of the task of the U.N. as it deals with not only demand made to increase the number of permanent members inter-state conflicts but also intratill the recent decade. The only time state conflicts, which amounts to a At no point of time in the history the Security Council was subjected to creative reinterpretation of the U.N. enlargement was in 1963 when the of the U.N. was a serious Charter provisions. In this reactivatnumber of non-permanent members demand made to increase the ed and expanded role of the U.N., was increased from six to ten on the the P-5 frequently met in closed- number of permanent members demand of the developing countries. door consultations and the trend till the recent decade. The only The demand was based on the recogtowards increasing unanimity among nition that the increase in membertime the Security Council was the P-5 set the stage for other counship of the U.N. from 51 to 112, tries to press for reform to make it a mainly as a result of decolonisation of subjected to enlargement was more representative and transparent Asian and African nations, should be in 1963 when the number of organ. In the course of time the issue reflected in the composition of the non-permanent members was of reforming the U.N. Security Security Council. The resolution to Council became so divisive that it give effect to the demand was adoptincreased from six to ten on proved to be one of the most acried notwithstanding considerable the demand of the developing monious debates at the U.N., leading opposition from four permanent countries. to street fights in some places. The members. The Soviet Union and sensitivity of member-states on the France voted against the resolution, issue is due to the fact that it touches and Britain and the United States the core of their concern, i.e., the status and power as a nation- abstained. It was ratified by all the permanent members withstate. in a short span of two years due to solidarity shown by the The purpose of the paper is to highlight Africa’s perspective developing countries.1 In the post-cold war period, a new threat to the international on the reform of the U.N. Security Council. The first section discusses various factors which led to the demand for reform security emerged from the ethnic, religious and other local of the Security Council. The second section examines Africa’s conflicts rather than inter-state conflicts. Increasing demand stand on various issues involved in the debate about U.N. has been made on the Security Council to handle these situSecurity Council reform. The third section deals with factors ations, which involved a creative interpretation of the U.N. that imparted a sense of urgency to the demand for reform and Charter provisions. These changed situations and the demands various reform proposals put forth by various groups of states. of the time led the Security Council to embark on a new era


February-April 2007


February 2007-April 2007