Africa’s call for UN reforms gather momentum …as Committee of 10 tasks Foreign Ministers to table decision in July

By Southern Times Writer

WINDHOEK – The African Union’s Committee of 10 Heads of State and Government on the reforms of the United Nations have instructed their Ministers of Foreign Affairs to come up with a decision on a progressive approach for advancing Africa’s position on the reforms and that this be tabled at the next AU Summit in July.

At its Fourth Consultative Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 17 May 2017, the Committee of 10, chaired by Sierra Leone President Earnest Bai Koroma, reaffirmed the Common African Position as espoused in Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration as the only viable options to redress the historical injustice done to the African continent.

They said the reform of the UN Security Council should be comprehensive in accordance with Decision 62/557 of the UN General Assembly and stressed the critical importance for heightened engagement with the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.

Decision 62/557 of the UN General Assembly seeks to address the issue of equitable representation and an increase in the membership of the Security Council, the most powerful organ of the world body.

Africa’s common position on the UN Security Council reforms is clearly contained in the Ezulwini Consensus made in Swaziland in 2005 and adopted the same year at Sirte, Libya, and at an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU in Ethiopia.

The consensus calls for the need to expand the size of the Security Council from 15 to 26 members, with fair representation of Africa.

“Africa’s goal is to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and security,” reads part of the Ezulwini Consensus.

“Full representation of Africa in the Security Council means not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto, and five non-permanent seats.”

Even though Africa is opposed in principle to the veto provision, the continent is of the view that so long as it exists and as a matter of common justice, veto power should be made available to all permanent members of the council.

The Committee of 10 Summit was hosted by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and was attended by Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo; Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob, Zambian President Edgar Lungu, and representatives of the presidents of Uganda, Senegal, Algeria, Libya, Kenya and Guinea, who constitute members of the committee.

A communique released after the meeting said that in their deliberations, the leaders reviewed 12 years of activities of the Committee on the reform of the UN Security Council.

They noted the continued support for the Common African Position by UN Member States but emphasised that African countries should stay united on the reform of the Security Council, speak with one voice and unequivocally support their position in terms of allocating two seats in the permanent category with all its prerogatives and privileges including the right of veto, and two additional seats in the non-permanent category.

They further expressed concern that the dividend of all Africa’s effort as well as that of the intergovernmental negotiations in advocating for a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council remains minimal, disappointing and frustrating.

“Reflecting on the present geopolitical realities in terms of Africa’s numerical strength, growing economic power, population dynamics and increasing role at multilateral fora and the urgent need for equitable representation at the Security Council, it is evident that Africa deserves a place in the Permanent Category of the United Nations Security Council with all the prerogatives and privileges including the right of veto, as well as two additional non-permanent seats.

“In this regard, no other interest group/member state can challenge the Common African Position in terms of its legitimacy,” reads the communique.

May 2017
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