Brazil’s active role in world affairs provides a solid foundation for its aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council. However, from the legal point of view Brazil as well as other candidates need the unanimous agreement of its present five Permanent Members.
By Ioan Voicu
On September 21 2004, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the General Debate at the 59th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations stated:
“We need a reform of the global development model, as well as international institutions that are effectively democratic, based on multilateralism and on the acknowledgment of the rights and aspirations of all peoples.”
He elaborated further on that emphasizing that only an international order based on multilateralism can promote peace and the sustainable development of nations.
Such an order must be based on a constructive dialogue among different cultures and world visions. No institution is better suited than the UN for ensuring the world’s convergence towards common goals.
In this context, Brazilian President recalled that the Security Council is the only source of legitimate action in the field of international peace and security.
But its composition must reflect today’s reality ”“ not perpetuate the post-World War II era.
Reform proposals that simply dress the current structure in new clothes and do not provide for an increase in the number of permanent members are manifestly insufficient. The difficulties inherent to any reform process must not make UN Member States lose sight of its urgency.
Many high representatives specifically mentioned the expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, and the inclusion of countries like Brazil as permanent members as a first step in the process of making the United Nations a truly representative body.
Numerous editorials, letters, news , political statements deal frequently these days with the very topical issue of the firm determination of Brazil and some other countries to become Permanent Members of the U N Security Council whose role has expanded dramatically in scope and nature.
It is axiomatic that the Security Council can fulfill its complex and highly difficult mandate only if it has the maximum cooperation of the whole international community. Therefore,it must enlarge its composition to better reflect today’s world and its vital requirements.
Brazil’s active role in world affairs provides a solid foundation for its aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council.
However, from the legal point of view Brazil as well as other candidates need first of all the unanimous agreement of its present five Permanent Members ( the United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China) in order to take a permanent seat on the Council, in accordance with the UN Charter.
United Kingdom backs bids by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for permanent seats on the UN Security Council. The United States meanwhile supports Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the Council but is reserving judgement on other potential candidates, including Germany, Brazil and India, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said.
In this regard, it should be recalled that a lot of skepticism and ambiguities surround the very idea of the Security Council reform. These are illustrated by an obvious ten-year paralysis in the deliberations of the Open-ended Working Group on Reform of the Security Council.
Yet, some moderate optimism is now expressed that the Security Council reform will be stimulated by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change chaired by Mr. Anand Panyarachun,former Prime Minister of Thailand, when it submits its recommendations in December 2004.
After that, the UN General Assembly will act on the relevant recommendations or take its own decisions on the Security Council reform. Nobody can exclude that reform will continue to evade existing expectations.
What is really certain is the fact that all these matters are in the hands of Member States and Brazil and the Latin American Group may use their strong political influence in convincing other countries to inject more energy and celerity in their deliberations on the Security Council reform.
Dr. Ioan Voicu is a visiting professor at Assumption University, in Bangkok. Your comments are welcome at email@example.com