Global Policy Forum

Excerpt of Kofi Annan's Report on UN Reform:


March 21, 2005

Security Council




Kofi Annan's Report on UN Reform: In Larger Freedom (March 21, 2005)

Security Council

167. By adhering to the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States recognize that the Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and agree to be bound by its decisions. It is therefore of vital importance, not only to the Organization but to the world, that the Council should be equipped to carry out this responsibility and that its decisions should command worldwide respect.

168. In the Millennium Declaration, all States resolved to intensify their efforts "to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects" (see General Assembly resolution 55/2, para. 30). This reflected the view, long held by the majority, that a change in the Council's composition is needed to make it more broadly representative of the international community as a whole, as well as of the geopolitical realities of today, and thereby more legitimate in the eyes of the world. Its working methods also need to be made more efficient and transparent. The Council must be not only more representative but also more able and willing to take action when action is needed. Reconciling these two imperatives is the hard test that any reform proposal must pass.

169. Two years ago, I declared that in my view no reform of the United Nations would be complete without reform of the Security Council. That is still my belief. The Security Council must be broadly representative of the realities of power in today's world. I therefore support the position set out in the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (A/59/565) concerning the reforms of the Security Council, namely:

(a) They should, in honouring Article 23 of the Charter, increase the involvement in decision-making of those who contribute most to the United Nations financially, militarily and diplomatically, specifically in terms of contributions to United Nations assessed budgets, participation in mandated peace operations, contributions to voluntary activities of the United Nations in the areas of security and development, and diplomatic activities in support of United Nations objectives and mandates. Among developed countries, achieving or making substantial progress towards the internationally agreed level of 0.7 per cent of GNP for ODA should be considered an important criterion of contribution;

(b) They should bring into the decision-making process countries more representative of the broader membership, especially of the developing world;

(c) They should not impair the effectiveness of the Security Council;

(d) They should increase the democratic and accountable nature of the body.

170. I urge Member States to consider the two options, models A and B, proposed in that report (see box 5), or any other viable proposals in terms of size and balance that have emerged on the basis of either model. Member States should agree to take a decision on this important issue before the summit in September 2005. It would be very preferable for Member States to take this vital decision by consensus, but if they are unable to reach consensus this must not become an excuse for postponing action.

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