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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Guterres calls for reform of the UN Security Council and defends Africa

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday questioned unequal representation on the UN Security Council. He also advocated for Africa to have a permanent seat on the council.

“How can we accept that Africa still lacks a single permanent member of the Security Council?” he asked in a post on X.


There has been growing questioning of the structure of the United Nations Security Council, arguably the most powerful multilateral institution in the world. Countries around the world, especially in Africa and Latin America, have questioned unequal representation.

Guterres said institutions must reflect the world of today, not that of 80 years ago, adding that September’s Future Summit will be an opportunity to consider global governance reforms and rebuild trust.

He said this after attending the recently concluded summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Uganda.


Over the years, the African Union and its members have questioned the composition of the Security Council while demanding at least one permanent seat for one African country.

At the 2022 UN General Assembly, African Union President Macky Sall reiterated the call for Africa to have a place on the Council.

“It is time to overcome reluctance and deconstruct the narratives that persist and confine Africa to the margins of decision-making circles,” he told the General Assembly.

Sall said it is time to do justice to Africa’s just and legitimate demand for Security Council reform, as reflected in the Ezulwini Consensus. Two years later, no progress has been made on making the Council more inclusive.


The Ezulwini Consensus is a position on international relations and United Nations reform, agreed to by the African Union. Calls for a more representative and democratic Security Council, in which Africa, like all other regions of the world, is represented.

In March 2023, Germany said it would support the AU’s demand for permanent seats on the Council.

“Germany therefore supports efforts to achieve permanent African seats on the UN Security Council and we also support a formal seat for the African Union within the G20,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said during a visit to Kenya.

In September 2023, the AU’s membership in the G-20 was announced and India announced that its membership will strengthen the G20 and also strengthen the voice of the Global South.

The Security Council is made up of five permanent members and 10 elected members who are elected for two years. China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation are permanent members.

Although all members of the Council have one vote, the permanent members have a special voting power known as the “veto right,” which exemplifies the central theme of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm: “all animals are equal, but some They are more equal than others.”

The case of Nigeria

Nigerian Foreign Minister Yusuf Tuggar, speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, also made a similar argument for Nigeria when he said the only way to overcome the trust gap between the North and the South was for the world. practice what he preaches: democracy and the rule of law. He said this should start with decision-making bodies like the Security Council.

“To begin with, the UN Security Council needs to be democratized. Not fit for purpose. Nigeria…is the most populous country on the African continent…belongs to the UN Security Council,” Tuggar said.

He proposed that the Council cancel the idea of ​​veto power because it is “clumsy” and does not work, adding that it affects global security.

“We have a situation where, in the past, during the bipolar world, there was neutral ground for diplomats to engage, which allowed diplomacy to solve problems, anticipate conflicts and diffuse them. Unfortunately we no longer have that,” he stated.


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