Former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, wants the permanent composition of the United Nations’ Security Council to reform to reflect the changes in the world.
According to Mr Annan, his efforts to reform the Security Council to allow for greater global representation was unsuccessful as he was met with disagreement from world leaders “at every turn”.
Speaking to students of the Yale University in the US, February 7, 2013, Mr Annan said “The [Security] Council and its composition is based on the geopolitical realities of 1945. The world has changed; the world has evolved and moved on, and the UN must.”
The Ghanaian-born former head of the Un argues further, “When I look at the world today and look at the five permanent members of the Security Council, and then compare the emerging countries: India, with one-fifth of the world’s population, is not represented on the council. Japan, the second largest contributor [to the world economy], is not represented. Latin America doesn’t have a single permanent seat, and Africa — with 54 countries — doesn’t have a single permanent cabinet seat.”
On how he was met with disagreements by world leaders over the expansion of the permanent seats to achieve a more fully representative Security Council, Mr Annan said for instance Pakistan objected to India’s membership and Nigeria opposed the recommendations of Egypt for two permanent representatives — one from north Africa and one from sub-Saharan Africa.
Annan said his belief in the need for reform of the Security Council hasn’t wavered. “If we do not reform, we are not going to get the cooperation that we are going to need from these emerging countries,” he stated.
Mr Annan said he continues to believe such reform is “absolutely essential.”
Touching on Africa’s prospect, Mr Annan was of the view that if Africa is able to quench political and tribal conflicts such as the situation in Mali, he believes that the economic and social future of African nations over the next 20 years is bright.
He stated that young Africans educated abroad are returning to their home countries in increasing numbers and contributing in dynamic ways to their nations’ economic and cultural development.
“The next generation of Africans are determined to make a difference,” said Annan.
By Ekow Quandzie
Watch Mr Annan’s full presentation