The Urgent Need for UNSC Reform: A Path to Global Peace

Copyright © 2023 Noble World Foundation. All rights reserved.

By Shiv R. Jhawar, MAS, EA, CA

In a world repeatedly scarred by the ravages of war, the call for a universal prohibition on conflict echoes louder than ever. Founded in 1945, the UN’s vision of global governance, as reflected in the opening phrase of the UN Charter, “We the Peoples,” prioritizes humanity’s well-being over individual national interests.

Urgent need for UNSC reform

Under the UN Charter’s Article 2(4), it is illegal for a country to take over another country’s territory by force or threat of force. However, Article 51 Allows the right to self-defense in the event of an armed attack, a clause often misused to justify wars.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), empowered by the UN Charter to maintain world peace and security, can pass legally binding resolutions for all 193 UN member states. However, when the UNSC fails to take action, it becomes indirectly responsible for deaths, injuries, and the destruction of infrastructure. This inherent flaw calls for urgent reform of the UNSC’s structure.

The veto power held by its five permanent members (P5)—the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom—often hinders the UNSC’s ability to resolve recent conflicts, such as those in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Palestine.

Proposal for a Representative UNSC

In response to the urgent need for reform, Noble World Foundation (NWF) proposes transferring membership and veto rights from singular nations to regional organizations that embody pooled sovereignty like the European Union (EU). This structural reform would grant regional organizations veto power, effectively reducing the dominance of any single nation and promoting democratic decision-making. It ensures that the veto power within the UNSC reflects the collective interests of multiple nations, rather than the perspective of a single nation.

Overview of the Current UNSC System

The UNSC currently has 15 members: 5 permanent members (P5) with veto power and 10 non-permanent members elected based on regional representation:  African Group: 3 seats; Asia-Pacific Group: 2 seats; Eastern European Group: 1 seat; Latin American and Caribbean Group: 2 seats; and Western European and Others Group (WEOG): 2 seats.

Principles of Regional Representation

Extending the principle of regional representation to permanent members is consistent with the UNSC’s existing practice of selecting non-permanent members based on regional representation. This approach can enhance the legitimacy, fairness, and effectiveness of the UNSC.

The EU’s functional and legal sovereignty

The UN Charter currently restricts membership to sovereign states. However, the EU presents a compelling case for reconsideration, with its sovereignty based on a legal framework that supports pooled sovereignty. This  was significantly endorsed by the European Court of Justice in a landmark 1964 decision, which affirmed the supremacy of EU law over the national laws of its member states, showcasing a modern interpretation of sovereignty. Due to its legal identity, the EU received the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for its contributions to peace, democracy, and human rights.

Admitting the EU to UN membership requires a practical interpretation of sovereignty. The European Court of Justice’s 1964 decision validates the EU’s pooled sovereignty within the UN framework.

The EU’s Recognition without the UN Charter Amendment

In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved into 15 independent countries. Russia was recognized as the successor state to the Soviet Union and inherited the permanent seat on the UN Security Council without a Charter amendment. This practical decision sets a precedent for recognizing the EU’s functional and legal sovereignty without needing to amend the UN Charter.

The EU as a peace-loving entity

Article 4 of the Charter clearly states that membership is available to states that are peace-loving, accept the obligations outlined in the Charter, and, as determined by the UN, possess the ability and willingness to fulfill these obligations. The EU qualifies as a peace-loving entity capable of fulfilling the duties of UN membership.

Developing Regional Unions Using the EU Model

The EU’s track record in averting conflicts among its member states showcases the potential for regional integration as a model. Use the European Union as a model for regional cooperation and collective decision-making.

Strengthen other regional organizations, such as the African Union (AU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Union of South American Nations (USAN), the Arab League, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

This structural reform could herald a new era in global governance, where groups of nations, rather than individual states, become pivotal players on the world stage.

Achieving EU Membership in the UNSC

For the EU to achieve permanent membership on the UNSC, a theoretically feasible process involves key steps: firstly, all EU member states would give up their separate UN memberships to avoid duplication, Secondly, France, a current P5 nation with a veto right, would nominate the EU as its successor by resigning from the UN. Finally, this transition would follow the precedent of Russia taking over the USSR’s permanent seat without requiring a UN Charter amendment.

Establishing a Hierarchical System

Establish a system where nations voice their concerns through regional unions. These regional unions, in turn, act as intermediaries between individual countries and the UNSC. This system allows for a more localized understanding of the issues at hand, as regional unions are likely to grasp better the unique dynamics and challenges within their respective regions.

The Role of Independent Media in UNSC Reform

The news media can raise public awareness and support for UNSC reform. Independent journalism is crucial for explaining the reasons for this reform and educating the public about its benefits.

Conclusion

Franklin Roosevelt, the chief architect of the UN Charter, foresaw the need for continuous evolution. He remarked, “No plan is perfect. Whatever is adopted will have to be amended over the years.” This perspective underlines the importance of adaptability and foresight in the governance of global affairs.

NWF urges political leaders and international bodies to recognize the potential of regional unions in conflict prevention and support their membership within the UNSC. Yogananda Paramhansa (1892–1952), a renowned spiritual master from India, envisioned a future marked by unity and peace: “Wars are bound to go on until the United States of Europe and the United States of Asia are evolved, to prepare the way for the United States of the World, with God guiding all nations.” This foresight aligns with NWF’s belief that unified regions and a world united by a higher purpose can bring an end to wars.

 

About the Author

Shiv R. Jhawar, an author and tax expert, supports this proposal. With credentials as a Master of Accounting Science (MAS), an Enrolled Agent (EA), and a Chartered Accountant (CA), he is also the author of Building a Noble World and founder of the Noble World Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to fostering global peace and understanding.

About Noble World Foundation

Founded in 2004, the Noble World Foundation (NWF) in Chicago is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our mission is not to change the world directly, but to inspire change in individuals through meditation. Individuals are the “world.” When an individual changes, the world changes. Join us at nobleworld.org.

Timeline: Ukraine War and UN Actions

  • 23-24 Feb 2022: Russia initiates military offensive against Ukraine, breaching its sovereignty and the UN Charter principles.

  • 25 Feb 2022: UN Security Council’s US-Albanian draft resolution to end the Ukraine crisis is vetoed by Russia. Russia’s aggression violated Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force against any state’s territorial integrity or political independence.

  • 2 Mar 2022: UN General Assembly condemns Russia’s aggression with 141 votes in favor, deploring the attack against Ukraine.

  • 16 Mar 2022: The International Court of Justice ordered Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine.

  • 7 Apr 2022: The UN General Assembly votes to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, with 93 in favor.

  • 26 Apr 2022: The UN General Assembly calls for the justification of veto use by Security Council’s permanent members.

  • 30 Sep 2022: Russia vetoes the UN Security Council resolution against its annexation attempts of Ukrainian regions.

  • 12 Oct 2022: The General Assembly opposes Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions, demanding Russia’s withdrawal (143 in favor, 5 against).

  • 23 Feb 2023: The General Assembly seeks an end to the war, demanding Russia’s immediate withdrawal in accordance with the UN Charter.

  • 17 Mar 2023: ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, citing investigations into war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
  • 31 Jan 2024: The ICJ finds Russia in violation of anti-terrorism and anti-racial discrimination treaties, but dismisses most charges related to the 2014 annexation.
Scroll to Top