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Instituto Público

Um ponto de encontro de ideias.

Instituto Público

Um ponto de encontro de ideias.

The 70th Anniversary of the United Nations: “Strong UN. Better World” – And for when the reform of the Security Council?

This year, once doing my master’s degree in Belgium, I had the opportunity to be in Brussels for the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations (25th October 2015). Not just in Brussels, but a little all over the world, the buildings turned blue for this event. At the Grand Place in Brussels several UN stands with information and activities were inviting people to learn and become more engaged with the UN issues.

As we all know, the United Nations is an International Organization founded in 1945, after the World War II, as a way to achieve world peace. With 193 member states, the main organs of the United Nations are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice and finally the Secretariat.

Under the UN Charter the Security Council is the main responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Composed by 15 members (5 permanent: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and USA and 10 non-permanent members), where each member has right to one vote.

At the 70th Anniversary the big slogan was “Strong UN. Better World”. How could the United Nations become stronger without a reform of the Security Council? How can the UN become stronger if the Security Council (the core of the organization) is still a place where the States defend and pursue their own interests, instead of the world security interests? Is quite impressive how the Security Council 5 permanent members are still the same since 1963, and how these 5 members are able to block the decisions of the whole council.

Especially when we assist to a shift of powers in the world system, still makes sense that countries like France are still in the Security Council and other countries that are gaining more influence in the world scene don’t, like for example Japan and Germany? Makes any sense the fact that the Security Council no longer reflects the new world order? Are the historical events of the past still stronger than the events of the present and the future? Because if that is the case, one day the possibility of the UN turns into a failure like the League of Nations is higher.

With no further reforms, transformations and a real adaptation, the UN will probably not be capable at the moment and in the future, of responding to new security challenges. This situation could also “break” the UN from the inside, because the tendency will be to create certain alliances against the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, in order to pressure and obtain some relative gains.

The problem to start these reforms is exactly the one expressed in the figure below: Everyone wants to change, though, no one wants to start the changes, because the national interests of each state prevail above the rest. None of the 5 permanent members will agree about loosing the right of veto, so what are the other options?

We obviously cannot forget the great conquests of the UN in the past 70 years, although we should ask ourselves, what is the future for the UN?





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