Addis Ababa – Reform of the United Nations has been a top concern for the world body but it has to reconcile many different views on how it should be done, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday.
Ban told journalists on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday that UN member states had been working hard to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of UN systems, including the secretariat and particularly the security council.
The economic, social, and cultural council of the world body had already taken significant reform measures to strengthen the rules of the general assembly.
Reform of the UN Security Council was at the core of the changes that needed to be effected. Member states had been discussing it for decades and the consensus was that the council had to be reformed in a more democratic, representative, and transparent manner, he said.
The UN had been working hard and there had been informal general assembly negotiations on the reforms.
“I think they have identified many important elements to make security council reform possible and effective. At the same time it is true that almost all the member states have presented all different ideas which will not be able to be reconciled among so many important elements,” he said.
“It’s a matter of how they reconcile all this to make some consolidated proposals to the member states. That’s up to the member states.”
Ban said some of the issues were how many members should sit on the security council, who should be given a seat as permanent or non-permanent members, and what their veto powers should be.
The president of the general assembly had appointed a facilitator to speed up the process of reform. Hopefully they would take into consideration the views of all the different parties, including the AU.
“On my part as secretary general, I have also been working very hard to make the secretariat of the UN more effective and transparent and efficient,” he said.
Member states “should show some unity rather than promoting their own individuals elements based on national interest”, otherwise security council reform might not be realised.
Outgoing AU chairman and Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on Saturday made a strong call for UN reforms that would give Africa more power in the world body.
The AU’s position is embodied in the “Ezulwini Consensus” which calls for Africa to get two permanent seats on an expanded and more representative security council. As Mugabe pointed out in his speech on Saturday, those seats should come with the same powers as existing permanent members of the council. That would include veto powers, unless those were scrapped for all members.