The G4 nations - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan - have renewed their calls for an enlarged United Nations Security Council. The G4 issued a joint statement on Feb 12, pressing for tangible results in enlarging the council before the current session of the UN General Assembly ends in September.
Given the complexity and importance of reforming the Security Council any attempt to rush through premature plans could harm the reform process. It would also run the risk of undermining the unity of UN member nations and jeopardize the interests of all parties.
Mature reform plans will only be agreed on the basis of broad consensus among member countries. Thorough and in-depth consultations are necessary to pave the way for a wider consensus on all the key issues concerning the reform.
The G4 alleged in their joint statement that their proposal for enlarging the council is widely supported by UN member nations, but did not indicate how many or which countries have sided with them. Hence, it is still too early to say that there is now a broad acceptance among the 192 UN member countries on how to reform the world's supreme peace and security body.
Since 2005, the G4 nations have been pressing for expanding the current five permanent members of the UN Security Council into nine with themselves being included as new members. They also back enlarging the council's non-permanent membership. Their proposal calls for an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent membership of the council to 26 from the current 15 members.
As each of the four countries is wielding growing economic and political clout in world and regional affairs, it is understandable that they should seek to raise their international status and shoulder greater international responsibilities.
Nonetheless, reform of the council concerns the future of the world body and should proceed with prudence and patience. Due to serious differences and wide gaps on various issues among governments, nothing significant has been achieved since negotiations started in 2009.
As the largest international organization playing a leading role in maintaining world peace and security, the UN should respond more timely and act more effectively to lead world efforts to combat a series of global challenges such as climate change, as well as some international and regional hot spot issues.
Reform is the only way for the world body to play such a greater and more desirable role.
The UN Security Council is an important part of international governance. There have been growing calls for improving international governance, and the UN should set an example in promoting the momentum.
UN member nations, while making efforts to accommodate the interests and concerns of all the parties, should seek a package of solutions for the reform based on broad and democratic consultation. Priority should be given to increasing the representation of developing countries.
Such an arduous task will need time and patience. The attempt to set a timetable for it is not a responsible approach.