G4 seeks time-bound reform of Security Council

In News

  • Foreign Ministers from the Group of 4India, Brazil, Japan and Germany met virtually on Wednesday during UNGA’s 75th
  • All countries were represented by their external affairs ministers.

About: G4

  • G-4is a group of four countries i.e. Brazil, Germany, India and Japan which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
  • G4 is seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the meeting’s purpose was to further their objective.
  • The four countries stressed delivering concrete outcomes, in writing and within a time frame.

Highlights of G4 Meeting

  • The Ministers reaffirmed their common resolve to finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council that was envisaged in the 2005 World Summit.
  • The G4 will work with other reform-minded countries and groups to start text-based negotiations (TBN) without delay and seek concrete outcomes during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • G4 Ministers also reiterated support for each other’s membership to the UNSC given the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • G4 also observed that Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation in the Security Council.
  • The Ministers expressed concern, that after two sessions on inter-governmental negotiations on UNSC in February and March, these were adjourned due to COVID-19, however, meetings could have progressed virtually and in writing.
  • The progress should also have included a reflection of the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.

Ezulwini Consensus 

  • It 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.

Sirte Declaration

  • The Sirte Declarationwas the resolution adopted by the Organisation of African Unity on 9 September 1999, at the fourth Extraordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of African Heads of State and Government held at Sirte, Libya.
  • The Declaration announced decisions to establish the African Union.

About: United Nations Security Council

  • Purpose
    • The UNSC is the body responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
    • As per the UN charter’s direction, the body can take actions on its behalf with regards to global peace.
    • During disputes and threats to international peace and security, the body can ask to probe into issues, ask members to apply economic sanctions and take military action on the aggressor.
    • UN peacekeeping operations are one of its major responsibilities.
  • Composition of UNSC
    • The UNSC has five permanent members and ten non-permanent members.
    • China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States form the five permanent members while the non-permanent members change every two years in order to provide representation to all continents in the world.

Reforms Proposed by India

  • India has long sought a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.
  • It is a proponent of other UNSC reforms, such as increasing the number of permanent (currently five) and non-permanent (currently 10) seats and ensuring greater representation for Africa.
  • As per India, there is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the UN to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative.
  • India is a proponent of text-based negotiations at the UN.

Text-Based Negotiations

  • For UNSC reforms, a negotiation-text with the positions and proposals of all UN members was adopted which is used for further discussions, has been unanimously accepted at 70th UNGA in 2015.
  • Those more normally resistant to UNSC reform, including China, Russia and US, are hesitant to have TBN for inter-governmental negotiations on the grounds that the matter is too sensitive for text.

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