[Answered] Discuss the role and relevance of UNSC in 21st century. Why UNSC need various reforms?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Analyse need of UNSC. Various issues in UNSC and reforms required. Conclusion. Way forward.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the organs of the United Nations which deal with the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council consists of five permanent members- the United Kingdom, France, China Russia, and the United States.

Role and relevance of UNSC in present era:

  1. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  2. It play an important role in accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter.
  3. Its powers include:
  4. The establishment of peacekeeping operations.
  5. The establishment of international sanctions.
  6. The authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.

Failure of UNSC:

  1. It has failed to tackle the recent crisis of Syria, Gaza and Ukraine.
  2. It failed to establish itself as a credible and a legitimate body due to use of platform for personal gains by many nations.
  3. It has not raised voice against terrorism as it should have.

Issue of permanent membership in UNSC:

  1. Concentration of powers: UN represents a larger world. Only 5 permanent members in such an important body has led to concentration of powers.
  2. New Realities: Current composition of the Security Council represents the post World War II realities. Thus it is not in pace with the changing balance of power in the world. Reforms are needed.
  3. Emergence of new powers: At the time of the formation of UNSC, big powers were given powers for councils’ proper functioning. Rise of G4 (India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan) as important economies and emerging world powers demand UN Security Council reforms.
  4. No Representation: The regions like far East Asia, South America, Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council.
  5. Serious Consequences: Its powers to establish international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions which are binding to member states can have serious consequences on economies.
  6. Veto Power: Another criticism of the Security Council is the veto power of the five permanent members. One country’s objection, rather than the opinions of a majority of countries, may prevent any possible UN response to a crisis. Recent case of Masood Azhar which was vetoed by China is an example of this.
  7. Lack of transparency: The permanent members meet privately and then present their resolutions to the full council, behaving like a private club who secretly come to decision. This lead to opacity in decision making.

The road for the reforms is not easy. Three powerful members of the UNSC namely Russia, China, and the U.S. are opposed to any major restructuring of the Council. The reform of the Security Council can only take place if two-thirds of UN member states vote in favour, along with an affirmative vote from all the permanent members, who enjoy the veto power. Effectively, even if India secures the support of two-thirds of UN members, who are present and voting, it would still need the five permanent members to not use the veto and thereby, prevent the adoption of the reform process.

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