G4 countries call for urgent steps for reform of UN and Security Council

The G4 countries – Brazil, India, Japan and Germany – on Wednesday expressed disappointment at attempts to derail reforms of the United Nations and called for text-based negotiations within a fixed timeframe to revamp the world body.

The foreign ministers of the four countries, during a virtual meeting during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, highlighted the urgency of reforming the world body and updating its main decision-making bodies to better reflect contemporary realities.

The move is in line with India’s position on the reforms of the UN, including the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council, its main decision-making organ.

The foreign ministers – Brazil’s Ernesto Araújo, India’s S Jaishankar, Japan’s Motegi Toshimitsu and Germany’s minister of state in the federal foreign office, Niels Annen, who represented foreign minister Heiko Maas, said the declaration adopted by all heads of state and government on the 75th anniversary of the UN reaffirmed the “common resolve to finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council”.

Jaishankar tweeted that the G4 ministers had “called for a decisive push for UNSC reforms during #UN75”. He said there was a “unanimous call for text-based negotiations in a fixed timeframe” and India’s approach to the UN is guided by reformed multilateralism.

In a joint statement, the G4 ministers noted that the declaration said the “world of today is very different from what it was when the United Nations was created 75 years ago. There are more countries, more people, more challenges but also more solutions. Our working methods need to keep pace and adapt.”

“In keeping with this call, G4 Ministers highlighted the urgency of reforming the United Nations and updating its main decision-making bodies, in order to better reflect contemporary realities,” the joint statement said.

The ministers also “expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency at this 75th anniversary of the UN”.

They also said the expansion of the Security Council in both categories “will be indispensable to make this body more representative, legitimate and effective, enhancing therefore its capacity to deal with the complex challenges the world faces today on questions of international peace and security”.

The ministers insisted that only the reform of the Security Council will stop the body “from becoming obsolete”.

Broader membership of the Security Council, “with increased and enhanced representation of countries with the capacity and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, including from Africa, will allow it to preserve its credibility and create the political backing needed for the peaceful resolution of today’s international crises”, the joint statement said.

The G4 countries have backed each other’s candidature for permanent membership of an expanded Security Council. Except for China, all the other P5 countries – the US, the UK, France and Russia – have also offered unstinted support for India’s membership of the Security Council.

The G4 ministers also expressed concern at the lack of “any meaningful movement forward in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform and expressed their concern that – after two sessions in February and March – the IGN was adjourned due to Covid-19 and no further meetings were held”.

They said these negotiations lack the “necessary openness and transparency” and are constrained by flawed working methods. They further said they were convinced the “time has come to leave behind debates based solely on general statements, without substantive text based negotiations actually taking place in an intergovernmental setting”.

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