n African Security Review - United Nations Security Council reform : essay

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Much has changed since the United Nations was established in 1945. New challenges confront the organization including global warming, global diseases and global terrorism. Responding to these challenges requires continual change, adaptation and learning - a hallmark of the stewardship of current UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In 1997 Annan announced major structural changes to streamline the organization, follow up five years later by another initiative to clarify, simplify and rationalize the organization and subsequent efforts to streamline UN peacekeeping. The UN has also forged new partnerships with civil society and the private sector. Important as these changes are, reform of the General Assembly and the Security Council hold the organization hostage to the vested interests of key member states. There are a number of options to make the Council more representative including regionalism, population distribution, economic weight, culture / religion / civilization and democracy. Clearly the largest challenge is the absence of representation for Asia, Africa and Latin America. Currently Germany, Japan, India and Brazil have strong claims - plus at least one candidate from Africa. Should these four countries decide to act in unison, they could force reform of the Security Council.

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