On Monday, UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir criticized the Security Council, saying it did not respond to the world’s biggest challenges due to “competing interests.”
“On many occasions, the Council has failed to fulfill its responsibility for maintaining international peace and security,” Bozkir, a Turkish diplomat, said in a debate on the body’s reform.
“Competing interests among members and frequent use of the veto have limited the effectiveness of the Security Council. Even in some of the most urgent humanitarian crises, the Council was unable to provide a timely and appropriate response.”
It has heightened criticism of the body, which has not been reformed for decades, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying in a recent interview with Le Grand Continent that it “no longer produces useful solutions.”
Bozkir said the Security Council reform was “an inevitable imperative – both challenging and essential.”
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Security Council has had few meetings devoted to the virus.
It took more than three months to overcome the friction between the United States and China to adopt a resolution on July 1 calling for more international cooperation and to support a call by the Secretary-General for a ceasefire in war-torn countries to fight the disease.
During the debate on the reform, 193 UN members discussed the right of veto, the privilege of the five permanent members of the Security Council (USA, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom) and expanded the forum and its regional balance.
Modest expansion of the council?
Russia, which has used its veto 15 times since 2011 on the Syrian issue alone, and the United States do not want to see power diminished.
“The United States remains, in principle, open to a modest expansion of the Security Council,” said US diplomat Ngoyi Ngoyi. But “this must be done in a way that will not impair the effectiveness of the Security Council, or its effectiveness, and will not change or extend the veto.”
Russian Deputy Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva claimed that “ideas that lead to the erosion of the powers of the permanent members of the Security Council, including the right of veto, are unacceptable.”
Using the veto or even the threat of using it has “repeatedly prevented the UN from becoming associated with dubious companies”, she added.
Later, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun criticized an “over-representation of developed countries” and called for a greater presence of small and medium-sized countries, especially African countries.
The Security Council, which can decide on international sanctions and the use of force, has 15 members. In addition to the five permanent nations, it has ten non-permanent members elected for two years.
Germany is a candidate for another permanent seat on the Council, along with Brazil, Japan and India. Africa is looking for two places but has not yet identified potential future recipients.