President Nana Akufo-Addo has said the UN Security Council must be reformed.
“It has been talked about and scheduled for a long time, but, somehow, we have never found the courage and the will to reform the United Nations,” he said on Thursday, 21 September when he delivered his maiden speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Ghana supports the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus,” the Ghanaian leader said.
According to him, “The time is long overdue to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa.”
Under the Charter, the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members, five of which are permanent (China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 others non-permanent derived through a process of rotation.
Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement. In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorise the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
The Security Council also recommends to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new Members to the United Nations. And, together with the General Assembly, it elects the judges of the International Court of Justice.
Before his UN speech, Nana Akufo-Addo had called on the new Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, to take the lead in effecting reforms at the UN so as to promote and deepen international co-operation.
According to Mr Akufo-Addo, with the reform of the Security Council being the most debated topic at the UN since 1993, it is important that António Guterres, during his tenure of office, ensures the implementation of reforms of this important organ and, indeed, all other organs of the UN.
To this end, the president urged the new UN Secretary-General to ensure the realisation of the Ezulwuni Consensus, a position on international relations and reform of the United Nations agreed by the African Union in 2005.
Nana Akufo-Addo made the call when he spoke at a breakfast meeting between African heads of state and Mr Guterres, on Sunday, January 29, 2017, in Addis Ababa, ahead of the commencement of the Ordinary Session of the 28th Assembly of the African Union.
The president recounted how he, as Ghana’s Foreign Minister and Chairman of the AU Ministerial conclave in Swaziland, in 2005, together with his colleague AU Foreign Ministers drafted the Ezulwuni consensus, which called for a more representative and democratic Security Council.
The goal of the AU, as contained in the Ezulwuni Consensus, was 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.
Full representation of Africa on the Security Council would mean having not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including the right of veto; five non-permanent seats; and that the AU should be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives on the Security Council.
Nearly 12 years down the line, Mr Akufo-Addo lamented the fact that little progress had been made since the drawing up of the Consensus in Swaziland. He, thus, urged Mr Guterres to hasten efforts towards the full realisation of this consensus.