“When the UN Charter was adopted in 1945 – “we the peoples”- in whose name the Charter was agreed to numbered about 2.35 billion worldwide. Today “ we the people” are estimated to be more than 7.3 billion . “We the peoples” have more than trebled since 1945,” Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Envoy to the United Nations, told the world body members, while urging equitable representation at the United Nations and the Security Council.
Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations was addressing the Informal Plenary Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on ‘Question of equitable representation on an increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council’: ‘ Size of an Enlarged Council and Working Methods of the Council’ on 22nd February, 2016.
Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin pointed out that at the time of the signing of the UN Charter in 1945, the Security Council had 11 members including five permanent members and 6 non-permanent members and the UN comprised of 51 members. In other words, there was one Council member for every five Member-States and 1 permanent member for every 10 members of the General Assembly. Today the membership of the UN has increased more than 3 times.
In essence, it was difficult to understand that if since 1945 the total population of the UN’s membership has increased more than 3 times, the number of countries members of the UN has increased more than 3 times, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin asked, there are “voices saying that increase of the size to less than 3 times what it was in 1945 is too much. Can someone explain to me the rationale of this numbers game?:
Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin criticized the argument by some at the United Nations that the low 20’s is compact and efficient while the mid 20’s or 27 seats results in undermining the efficiency and effectiveness of the Council. “Efficiency is not merely an issue of numbers but stems from a broader set of factors such as credibility, equitability, legitimacy and representativeness,” he argued. “We therefore must recognize that the case for optimal size of the expanded Council needs to be built on contemporary realities, as well as the need to ensure that the under-represented & unrepresented regions including the developing countries of Africa, Latin America and Caribbean and the vast majority of Asia and Pacific find their due place in this long overdue expansion of the size of the Council.”
Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said, “Enlarged Council should enhance cooperation and coordination with regional and sub-regional organizations, particularly with the African Union as put forward by 5 countries (Australia, Poland, Romania, Viet Nam, Malaysia) and 42 members of L.69 Group. This proposal also has support of 54 African Countries.” Her also urged the UN to “formalize the provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council in order to improve its transparency and accountability as proposed by 14 countries (Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, Malaysia, Cuba) and 54 Member States from Africa.”