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International Relations

G4 Foreign Ministers Meeting

  • 24 Sep 2020
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, Foreign Ministers from the Group of 4 (G4), consisting of India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, participated in a virtual meeting.

Key Points

  • G4 will seek concrete and time-bound outcomes during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • The Ministers reaffirmed their common resolve to finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council that was envisaged by Heads of State and Government in the 2005 World Summit.
    • The 2005 World Summit was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
    • All governments expressed strong and unambiguous commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
    • It set up two new bodies, a Peacebuilding Commission to help countries in transition from war to peace, and a strengthened Human Rights Council.
  • G4 on UNSC Reforms
    • Ensuring greater representation for Africa: Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of UNSC to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation in the Security Council.
    • Enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the UN: To make UNSC more legitimate, effective and representative, it is needed to increase the number of permanent (from 5 to 11) and non-permanent (from 10 to 14) seats.
      • The permanent seats shall be elected in the following manner: Two from African States; Two from Asian States; One from Latin American and Caribbean States ; One from Western European and Other States.
      • Non-permanent members shall be elected according to the following pattern : One from African States ; One from Asian States ; One from Eastern European States ; One from Latin American and Caribbean State
    • The UNSC reforms proposed earlier had been opposed by the five permanent members (P5) of UNSC as they demanded veto power for new members as well (Rizali Plan). However, later the new countries decided to forego the veto power for new countries which was accepted by P5 countries (Rizali Reform Plan).
  • Text-Based Negotiations: The G4 will work with other reform-minded countries and groups to start text-based negotiations (TBN)
    • India is a proponent of TBN at the UN. Countries opposed to UNSC reform, including China, are hesitant to have TBN for intergovernmental negotiations on the grounds that the matter is too sensitive for text.
  • Concerns over IGN: Two sessions in February and March 2020 of Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on UNSC reform were adjourned due to Covid-19, which could have taken place virtually.
    • The countries expressed concern that IGN lacks the necessary openness and transparency and is constrained by flawed working methods.
    • IGN should also have included a reflection of the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
      • The Ezulwini Consensus (2005) is a position on international relations and reform of the United Nations, agreed by the African Union. It calls for a more representative and democratic Security council, in which Africa, like all other world regions, is represented.
      • The Sirte Declaration (1999) was the resolution adopted to establish the African Union.
  • Groups Opposed to UNSC Reforms: An informal "coffee club" or Uniting for Consensus Group has opposed UNSC reforms.
    • Most members of the club are middle-sized states who oppose bigger regional powers grabbing permanent seats in the UN Security Council.
    • While Italy and Spain are opposed to Germany's bid for UNSC’s permanent membership, Pakistan is opposed to India's bid. Similarly, Argentina is against Brazil's bid and Australia opposes Japan's.
  • India’s Position: India, will commence a two-year non-permanent term on the UNSC in January, 2021
    • It has long sought a permanent seat at the Council.
    • Four of the five permanent members of the Security Council – USA, UK, France and Russia support giving India a permanent seat at the Council. Only China is opposed to this.
    • India is also seeking reforms to democratize the UN, such as UNSC reforms and UN peacekeeping reforms.

Intergovernmental Negotiations

Source: TH

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