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United Nations Security Council Reform: Perspectives and Prospects

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  • February 12, 2014

    Concept Note

    Over the years, the world has changed in fundamental ways. We are witnessing a resurgence of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Growth and development have not only made the countries more interdependent, but new and increasingly complex challenges have also arisen. For multilateralism to remain relevant and effective in today’s world, multilateral institutions must adapt and reform to reflect contemporary geo-political realities.

    No multilateral body is more in need of reform than the United Nations Security Council which is still constituted in accordance with the geopolitical architecture of 1945. The lack of reform has affected the credibility and effectiveness of the Security Council as seen in a number of new crises afflicting the world.

    The constituency for reforms has been increasing by the day. An overwhelming majority of countries have supported the demand for an urgent reform and expansion of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories of its membership.

    Brazil, Germany, India and Japan have come together on the platform of G-4 to pursue the much needed and urgent Security Council reform and to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy of its decisions. G-4 countries have reached out to all regional groups to find a path that will reflect the dominant call by Member States for a reform of the Security Council leading to an expansion in both categories of membership, permanent and non permanent. The G-4 initiative enjoys broad and cross regional support. G-4 countries reaffirmed their view of the importance of developing countries, in particular Africa, to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of an enlarged Council. G-4 countries have also welcomed the initiative taken by the current President of the General Assembly, H.E. John W. Ashe, to issue a Non Paper which faithfully reflects the current status of the discussions in the past five years, as a basis for text based negotiations in the 10th round of Intergovernmental Negotiations currently underway in New York.

    The debate on expansion of the Council has been going on for a few decades with a consensus still eluding the international community. The time has now come to move ahead from words to action and take a decision on the way forward based on the wishes of majority of the UN membership. Given that world leaders agreed at the 2005 World Summit to achieve an 'early' reform of the Security Council, it is imperative that the world community work together for a concrete result before the 70th anniversary Summit of the United Nations in 2015.

    G-4 countries have recognised the need for greater involvement of civil society, the media and academia in the discussions on Security Council reform. In this context, IDSA is organising a seminar on the “United Nations Security Council Reform: Perspectives and Prospects” on February 12, 2014.


    1000h – 1040h Inaugural Session

    1000h-1005h Opening Remarks by Dr. Arvind Gupta, DG, IDSA

    1005h-1020h Keynote Address by Mrs. Sujatha Singh, Foreign Secretary, GOI

    1020h-1025h Amb Paulo Roberto Tarrisse da Fontoura, Head, IO Division, Brazil (tbc)
    1025h-1030h Ms. Ina Lepel, DDG for Global Issues, Germany
    1030h-1035h Mr Yutaka Arima, Director, United Nations Policy Division, Foreign Policy Affairs Bureau, Japan
    1035h-1040h Mr Navtej Sarna, SS (IO), MEA, India

    1040h – 1100h Tea

    1100h – 1230h Session I: Perspectives on Reform

    The first session will focus on the challenges in expansion of the UNSC, the role of the P-5 and other groupings, the use of veto and effectiveness of the UNSC
    Moderator: Dr. Arvind Gupta, DG, IDSA
    Speakers (15 minutes each)
    -Amb Prakash Shah, Former PR, PMI, New York
    -Prof CSR Murthy, School of International Studies, JNU
    -Prof Varun Sahni, School of International Studies, JNU

    1230h – 1330h Lunch

    1330h – 1530h Session II: The Way Forward: Achieving UNSC Reform by 2015

    The second session will focus on the on-going processes for UN Security Council Reform, such as G-4 interaction with the L69 and other groups, intergovernmental and text based negotiations and outreach to Africa.
    Moderator : Mr. Navtej Sarna, SS (IO), MEA
    Speakers (15 minutes each)
    -Amb Hardeep Puri, Former PR, PMI, New York
    -Amb BS Prakash, Former Ambassador, Embassy of India, Brazil
    -Ms Ruchita Beri, Senior Research Associate, IDSA

    1530h-1545h Tea

    1545h-1615h Session III: India and the UN

    The third session will focus on the contributions that India has made to the UN multilateral system, in both the spheres of development and peace and security.
    Moderator: Shri. Vikas Swarup, JS (UNP), MEA
    Speakers (15 minutes each)
    -Prof SD Muni, Distinguished Fellow, IDSA, Former Ambassador to Lao PDR
    -Lt Gen (Retd.) Satish Nambiar, Distinguished Fellow, IDSA

    Download Programme [PDF]

    Complete text of Keynote Address by Mrs. Sujatha Singh, Foreign Secretary, GOI

    Conference Publication

    Press Release