Weak Developing Nations Entitle to Permanent Seat on UN Security Council
Any meaningful reform in the politics of the United Nations that fails to address the issue and use of Veto power by the five permanent members of the Security Council will at best be a cosmetic exercise that will continue to make, supposedly, weaker countries, in the United Nations system feel insecure.
This was the position of a Research Professor and Head, Division of International Politics, Research and Studies Department, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Professor Osita Agbu on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at the Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Covenant University, where he made a presentation titled, ‘The Politics and Diplomacy of the United Nations System.’
Professor Agbu posited that there are lessons to learn from the experience of the defunct League of Nations, which led to the desire for a new supranational organisation, with the capacity to implement resolutions made from the Council. “But it is time that developing and emerging power blocks be given a permanent seat at the Security Council table,” he argued.
He noted that since its inception, the global body has continuously evolved in functionality to suit changing global demands; the refusal of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council for major reform to take effect has consistently hampered progress in the reform process.
He averred that politics often play out at the UN Security Council, while the diplomacy of the veto wielding countries manifest itself at the General Assembly, because negotiations that brought about the formation of veto powers in the UN was resented by many nations, especially the smaller ones, but despite that, it was forced on them through a threat that without the veto there would be no United Nations.
Professor Agbu highlighted the imbalanced nature of the Security Council, as the African Group of the United Nations with 54 representatives have no veto power in the Security Council, while European Group with its 50 members have two representatives, United Kingdom and France, with veto powers in the Council.
“The non-representation of the African Group at the Security Council whittles down their voices in the General Assembly especially since the recommendations of the Assembly are purely advisory in nature, and cannot be implemented without the support of the Permanent Five with veto powers,” he stated.
He, however, noted the importance emerging powers such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (also known as BRICS nations) has started wielding at other frontiers of international engagement. The economic rise of the BRICS has turned these countries into important providers of development assistance and they play important roles in the call for global governance reform at the United Nations.
In her welcome remark, the Head, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Dr. Oluyemi Fayomi, said the essence of the seminar was for those in active practice and the academia to interact robustly in advancing the needed change in the body polity and take intellectual discourse to another level.
The forum availed students, faculty and the renowned scholar opportunity to interact on the place of Africa in global politics and the need for Nigeria’s foreign policy to be reshaped.