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AU’s Inclusion In G20 Under India’s Initiative Should Inspire UN: Amb Kamboj

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UNITED NATIONS, Dec 14: India’s initiative to include the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 under its presidency is a significant step in reform that should inspire the “much older” United Nations to make the Security Council contemporary, New Delhi’s envoy to the UN has said.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj told the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) meeting on Security Council Reforms on Wednesday that upon India’s initiative, the African Union became a permanent member of the G20 at the New Delhi Summit in September this year.

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The inclusion of the African Union in the G20 ensured that an “important and valuable voice from the Global South is added to an influential institution of global governance and decision-making.

“This significant step in reform should inspire the United Nations, a much older organisation, to also make the Security Council contemporary. Broad representation is, after all, a prerequisite for both effectiveness and credibility,” Kamboj said.

She underlined that it was India’s firm conviction that with Africa’s full participation in the G20, the grouping would truly be a more representative and relevant institution.

Kamboj stressed that the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024 provides a “golden opportunity” to reaffirm “our common commitment to the UN Charter and undertake a review of the Charter focused on reforms in general, including Security Council reform.”

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The UN has termed the Summit of the Future as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to enhance cooperation on critical challenges and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the United Nations Charter, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives.

Kuwait and Austria, Co-Chairs of the IGN process, held an early first round of discussions here as India highlighted the urgency of addressing the “burning issues” related to the reform of the UN Security Council in a comprehensive and holistic fashion.

“As we make greater efforts to bridge divergences and find convergences since 2009, stepping into the 15th year of IGN, my delegation is firmly of the view that we cannot have old wine in new bottles and expect new results, which is comprehensive reforms,” Kamboj said.

She recalled that during the annual high-level UNGA session in September this year, the General Assembly heard “unequivocal calls” for comprehensive and meaningful reforms from more than 85 global leaders.

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“These calls must be answered. We must all realize that the clock is ticking, and turning the other way in the face of global challenges is just not an option…Multilateral institutions rarely die, they simply fade into irrelevance,” she said.

India has been at the forefront of years-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member at the UN high table, which in its current form does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st Century.

Kamboj said India, as the world’s largest democracy, will continue to strive for the voice of the Global South to be heard on the urgency of immediate action on UNSC reform.

She added that a large majority of the Member States support expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of UNSC membership.

“Expanding only in the non-permanent category will not solve the problem, it will in fact not reform one category of the UNSC at all and – in fact it will widen the difference between permanent and non-permanent members even more, further entrenching a dispensation that is no longer relevant in the current geopolitical context,” she said.

India warned that the collective failure of the international community to make concrete progress on the issue of Security Council Reform at this critical juncture will be “interpreted as an attempt towards the preservation of the failed status quo, the brunt of which is borne by real people around the world, who are grappling with real threats, both existing and emerging.” (PTI)

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