Reform of the United Nations has been a central theme of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the United Nations this week, and on Thursday he met with his counterparts from Germany, Brazil and Japan under The Group of Four (G4) banner following the BRICS meeting on Thursday. The group is primarily focused on U.N. Security Council (UNSC) reform, and permanent membership of the body for G4 members, among others. On Thursday, they reiterated their commitment to pushing forward reform and expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of progress in this regard.
“Reiterated our joint commitment to work towards text based negotiations that leads to Reformed Multilateralism. Will continue our cooperation towards this goal,” Mr. Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting. India is currently a non-permanent member of the Council, with its two year term ending on December 31 this year.
In addition to reiterating their support for each other’s bids to become permanent members of the UNSC, the G4 also reiterated its support for African countries being represented in a permanent and non-permanent capacity on a reformed Council.
The G4 felt that the U.N. decision making bodies needed to be urgently reformed as global issues were increasingly complex and interconnected, a joint press statement from the group said. The “inability” of the UNSC to “effectively” address these problems “vividly demonstrate[s] the urgent need” for UNSC reform, the statement said.
U.S. President Joe Biden emphasized U.S. support for expanding permanent and non-permanent seats on the Council, during his UNGA address on Wednesday. However, State Department spokesperson Ned Price had said in August 2021 that the U.S. supports expansion of body provided it “does not alter or expand the veto”.
On Thursday, the G4 ministers expressed concern that the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly (i.e., the year-long session that just concluded) did not make “meaningful progress” in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN), which, according to the G4, was constrained by a lack of transparency.
The G4 Ministers welcomed the recommendation of the President of the 76th General Assembly to “gradually move the process towards text based negotiations”, and hoped this principle would be followed in the 77th General Assembly Session.