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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

UN General Assembly elects five non-permanent members to the Security Council

United Nations General Assembly is set to convene today to elect five non-permanent members to the Security Council.

The United Nations General Assembly is set to convene today to elect five non-permanent members to the Security Council. The newly elected members will begin their two-year terms on January 1, 2025, replacing Japan, Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique, and Switzerland, whose terms expire at the end of this year.

Pakistan’s Unopposed Bid for the Asian Seat

Pakistan, a seasoned contender, is running unopposed for the Asian seat vacated by Japan. This marks Pakistan’s eighth term on the Security Council, having previously served in 2012-13, 2003-04, 1993-94, 1983-84, 1976-77, 1968-69, and 1952-53. Endorsed by the 53-member Asian Group, Pakistan’s diplomatic corps, led by Ambassador Munir Akram, has been actively lobbying for months to secure this position.

Read More: US Vetoes UNSC Ceasefire Resolution for Gaza, World Condemns

Ambassador Akram expressed confidence in Pakistan’s election, citing extensive diplomatic efforts and support from the Asian Group. He emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to the UN Charter’s principles, particularly in maintaining international peace and security and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Other Contenders and Regional Representation

In addition to Pakistan, four other countries are vying for seats on the Security Council:

  • Somalia and Mauritius are competing for the African seat.
  • Denmark and Greece are contending for a Western European seat.
  • Panama is the sole candidate for the Latin American seat.

Each candidate requires a two-thirds majority of votes from the General Assembly, equivalent to 128 votes, to be elected, even if running uncontested. The voting is conducted by secret ballot, and if a candidate does not secure the necessary votes, re-polls are conducted until the target is achieved. In cases of deadlock, compromise candidates may be introduced.

Role and Composition of the Security Council

The Security Council is tasked with the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. It comprises 15 members, including five permanent members with veto power: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The other 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly based on geographical distribution.

Currently, the Council includes Algeria, Guyana, South Korea, Sierra Leone, and Slovenia, elected last year, alongside the permanent members. The newly elected members will serve alongside them, contributing to critical decisions on global security issues.

Challenges and Calls for Reform

Despite its crucial role, the Security Council faces significant challenges, particularly regarding the use of veto power by permanent members. For instance, Russia’s veto has stymied action on Ukraine, while the US’s close ties with Israel have influenced the Council’s stance on Gaza.

Read More: UNSC postpones vote on Gaza ceasefire for the third time

There is broad consensus on the need to reform the Security Council to reflect contemporary global realities rather than the post-World War II era. However, achieving significant reform has been elusive due to deep-seated disagreements among the UN’s 193 member states on the specifics of expansion and representation.