UN security council reforms: Member states must show political will ― UNGA President

TWENTY five years after the mandate to reform the United Nations Security Council was given, the President of the UN General Assembly, Fernanda Maria Espinosa Garcés, has regretted that world leaders lack the political will to carry through the initiative.

Countries around the world including Nigeria have been agitating for the expansion of the UN Security Council from it present five permanent members with veto powers to accommodate more countries.

But responding to questions at a press conference after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, she said there was still no consensus, stressing the need for members states to demonstrate the political will.

Asked about the prospects of expanding the council and Nigeria having the opportunity to have a shot at a permanent seat, she said: “Regarding the question of UN Security Council reform, I have to say very honestly that this is one of the most complex, divisive and contentious negotiations processes at the UN.

“As you know, the reform of the security council is under the responsibility of the UN General Assembly and I have appointed two co-chairs to lead the works of the inter-governmental negotiations that have been taking place for 10 years now.

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“The process of reforms have started 25 years ago and the mandate to negotiate the reform came 10 years ago when I was the ambassador of Ecuador at the UN. And at the time, I thought we had the resolution to start the negotiations and with great naivety, I thought this is going to be a process that will perhaps be for two or three years.

“Ten years later, I have to say that there is no consensus, there are very different views and positions regarding the reform process.

“As we know, we need consensus to advance reforms. This is one of the issues where my work as the president is to lead to make sure that we agree on the fundamentals to ensure that the process is inclusive and transparent, that the outcome of the reform is going to depend very much on the political will of member states themselves.”

The UNGA President noted African countries’ divergent views on reforms, expressing her will to bring them to a point of convergence.

She added: “Then, of course, the African position is well known and there are also different groups that also have different positions. We are trying to bring them together and find a common denominator. And the common denominator is that the security council has to deliver more and better because they have the main responsibility to deliver on peace and security agenda of the organisation.”

Also speaking on the humanitarian needs in the Lake Chad area, she affirmed that it was the responsibility of the UN, saying that the world body was deploying all its capacities “not only our office of humanitarian affairs but all our development apparatus of the UN, working in all the Chad Basin, supporting governments, countries and the leader to improve humanitarian aid according to people’s needs in the regions and micro-regions.”

“As you know, the UN has signed five-year UN cooperation framework with Nigeria whereby $4.5 million that will be channelled according to the Nigerian government’s priorities,” she stated.

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