World leaders gathered last week in New York for the 78th session of the General Assembly (UNGA) under the theme, “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and the sustainability for all.”
In his speech, the UN Secretary General António Guterres sounded the alarm’ over the world’s failure to meet the SDG targets, describing it as a moral indictment of global leadership, painting a stark picture of runaway climate change, unsustainable inequalities, and feckless leadership. He warned that the world is on the edge of the precipice and moving in the wrong direction. The starkly worded statement from the UN chief to the world leaders was meant to be a reminder and warning for humanity to heed as the world must change its ways.
At the top echelon of the global pyramid are the world super powers, namely, the United States, Beitain, France, Russia and China, constituting the five permanent members of the Security Council. These elite nations determine the norms, values and standard of international affairs since the inception of the global body. The source of the leadership failures highlighted by UN secretary general reside in the moral, political, intellectual, social, and economic multi-level crisis plaguing the bulk of the collective West, which has been imposing its interests and rules on the world over the past five centuries.
The Security Council currently consists of 15 members, ten of which serve two-year terms and cannot veto resolutions. Only the five permanent members mentioned earlier hold such power. Western powers led by the US have been setting the rules and the agenda and expecting the rest of the world to fall in line in the promotion of what is commonly called the rules-based order. For several decades now still a few nations who shape the agenda and seek to define the norms
But this term the cacophony of voices coming out of the UN hallowed chambers are suggesting that this situation cannot go on indefinitely and unchallenged.
Majority are of the view that the UN Security Council, which is the world body’s highest decision making organ, should be more balanced and contemporary to ensure a fair, equitable, and democratic order which will guarantee that rule-makers do not subjugate rule-takers.
At a time when the globe is undergoing dramatic changes the supranational organization must adjust to them. And there’s no gainsaying the fact that the existing system of international law is faltering and floundering, while the modern world is plagued by an array of conflicts, thus the UN must adapt to a changing world, paving the way for an equitable and inclusive global order.
I want to believe that the international community is diverse therefore we must cater for divergences, if not differences. And in the current situation, when the whole world is riddled with conflicts, when international law is trampled upon, and economic relations, the system of Bretton Woods relations are de facto collapsing amidst structural inequities and uneven development between North and South, and a sharp polarization between East and West, it is evident that the world is undergoing dramatic tectonic changes that requires a certain adaptation on the part of the UN.
Recently, several world leaders and top officials have called for a reform of the UN Security Council, criticizing the institution as a dysfunctional and lacking a fair representation of leading nations of the world. The issues confronting the council have been acknowledged by UN scribe Mr. Guterres as well, who has said a reform is long overdue to better reflect the “realities of today’s world.”
Russia has advocated a more diverse Security Council for years, arguing that the body can be democratized only through increasing the representation of African, Asian, and Southern American nations.
Due to its elitists, exclusive character, the UN Security Council has effectively failed to fulfill its original purpose, given its inability to prevent conflicts across the globe.
And much of the world is actually supporting the idea of expanding the UN Security Council with a reformed organ likely to see either Nigeria or South Africa representing the continent at the global high table. Definitely, Africa has, indeed, a lot to contribute to the multipolar world being formed, given its diversity and firsthand experience with oppression. Both Nigeria, South Africa and even Egypt will stake claim to the coveted status.
Feelers from Washington suggest US President Joe Biden will urge the UN to expand the Security Council to water down Russia and China’s influence in the body.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reportedly said ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting that Biden “will take a look at the architecture of the Security Council.”
Reports say that the US president will advocate adding new members to the UN
Security Council in order to weaken Russia and China’s role. Reportedly, Biden wants to add India, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, and Japan to the elite club.
However, many observers have argued that Biden is joining the bandwagon of many countries and experts who are asking for expansion to score cheap points and seemingly wants to curry favors with nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where the prestige of the US has been in decline, in an apparent bid to drag them to Washington’s side.
The US president reportedly wants to add two of Washington’s ardent allies, namely, Germany and Japan to join Brazil, India and South Africa as potential new members of the UNSC. The two were not added to the original composition of the UNSC (which was formed immediately after the Second World War) since they were the two major WWII aggressors.
The reasons surrounding the timing of this attempt to propose changes and Washington’s love affair for UN reform could not be more clear. The US hegemony is shrinking with more and more countries throughout the Global South shifting away from the West toward Moscow and Beijing’s camps and, in addition, the Ukraine proxy war is turning into yet another foreign policy disaster.
Understandably, the US is attempting to maintain primacy snd hegemony over the rest of the world. It has been losing ground to Russia and China in the geopolitical landscape. Like any superpower, the US will earnestly exploit whatever opportunity, even if cynically, to change the narrative