links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic

Follow us on Twitter


Posted on on April 11th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (


(11 April 2008)

At the recent UK/French Summit in London on 27 March, 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Sarkozy agreed that both the UK and France share a common desire to reform international institutions, including the United Nations and the Security Council.

On the Reform of the UN Security Council, both its enlargement and the improvement of its working methods, they reaffirmed the support of the two countries “for the candidacies of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan for permanent membership, as well as for permanent representation for Africa on the Council.”

A communiqué went on to say:

“We regret that negotiations towards this goal remain in deadlock and are therefore ready to consider an intermediate solution. This could include a new category of seats, with a longer term than those of the current elected members and those terms would be renewable; at the end of an initial phase, it could be decided to turn these new types of seats into permanent ones. It concluded we will work with all our partners to define the parameters of such a reform.”

The operative part is that Germany, Brazil, India and Japan be invited to join the permanent members on a fix term and renewable basis. – this will not give them the veto right, will bring up the number of European members to four, the number of Asian members to three, create a first Latin member, and leave the door open to South Africa by the time Nigeria and Egypt will end their oposition to this choice. Will this fly? May be. Why not start thinking also of an EU membership that combines some of the Europeans? ??

The 2007-2008 President of The UN General Assembly, Dr. Srgjan Kerim, from Macedonia, a country the EU has yet difficulty to pronounce its name, made some deep remarks of his own:

In effect what he said is that the Security Council reform must be about more than just changing the composition of its membership, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim says, calling on the body to be “based on an equilibrium of interests rather than a balance of power.”

In an opinion column for the United Kingdom-based pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, published yesterday, Mr. Kerim wrote that reform of the Council must lead to “a new culture of international relations” based on full respects for human rights, human security, responsibility to protect and sustainable development.

While changing the Council’s composition is a necessary first step, it should not be viewed as an end in itself.

Instead, Council members should be “ready to share responsibility, willing and able to act to protect human life – as the body of last resort – whatever and wherever the threat may be.”

Mr. Kerim said such ideas are needed because “our present institutional structures are too rigidly anchored in an international system where pre-eminence is given to the State as the primary interlocutor and agent of change.”

He called for renewal of the UN as a whole, for the Bretton Woods institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and for other international and regional bodies.

Speaking to reporters today at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Kerim echoed those remarks.

Council reform, he said, must have “a more profound meaning than just enlargement. It has to mean adaptation of the institutions, of the United Nations above all, and that goes for the General Assembly and the Secretariat as well. It all has to adapt to a new, very different world.”

Yesterday the President told a working group on Council reform that Member States should show “effective flexibility” in their negotiations on reshaping the 15-member body, and ensure that the concerns of all sides are taken into account, especially those currently underrepresented.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article