President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the UN assembly to endorse Nigeria’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
The UN Security Council is the most powerful branch of the UN. It has power to authorize the deployment of UN member states’ militaries, can mandate a cease-fire during conflicts, and can enforce penalties on countries if they do not comply with given mandates.
The council is composed of representatives from 15 countries of which five are permanent members and ten rotating members.
Citing reasons for this request at the UN General Assembly’s high-level debate at its Headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Jonathan said that Nigeria’s election to the UN Security Council will further enhance international peace and security, noting that the country’s performance on previous occasions when it held a non-permanent seat on the council was commendable.
“Our support for the United Nations Security Council in its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security has been total and unwavering. We have, in previous membership of the council, demonstrated both the political will and capacity to engage in key council responsibilities,” he said.
Jonathan also called for faster action toward the democratisation of the UN Security Council, stressing that Nigeria and other developing countries were concerned about the lack of progress in the reformation of the UN.
“I believe that I express the concern of many about the slow pace of effort and apparent lack of progress in the reform of the United Nations, especially the Security Council. We believe, strongly, that the call for democratisation worldwide should not be for states only but also for international organisations, such as the United Nations” he stated.
He noted that the democratisation of the Security Council was desirable for the enthronement of justice, equity, and fairness and also for the promotion of a sense of inclusiveness and balance in the world.
Jonathan also called for a renewed and concerted effort, by the international community, to effectively resolve all issues that currently impeded global peace, stability and progress.
His words: “Our world continues to be confronted by pressing problems and threats. No statement that will be made during this session can exhaust the extent of these problems. The world looks to us, as leaders, to provide hope in the midst of crisis, to provide guidance through difficult socio-political divisions and to ensure that we live in a better world”.
The President further stressed that “the reign of terror anywhere in the world is an assault on our collective humanity”.
Earlier, in a wide-ranging call to action delivered as he opened the General Assembly’s annual debate, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon urged world leaders to shoulder their responsibilities on peace and security, human rights, arms proliferation and sustainable development, calling for increased global commitment to the United Nations system and the principles on which the Organization was founded.
“Let us empower the United Nations to be more than a first responder or a last resort,” he said, pointing to the ever more entwined fates of Member States and the transformed global landscape in which new ways of governing, partnering and problem-solving had to be found.
Stressing the size of the opportunity before world leaders, he said it was their job to serve their various peoples – “We must prove ourselves fit for purpose,” he emphasized.
Describing the Syria crisis as “the biggest peace and security challenge in the world”, Ki-Moon said it had torn the country apart and left the Middle East dangerously destabilized.
He called on the Syrian government to fully and quickly honour its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, with the international community bringing to justice those responsible for the “worst chemical weapons attack on civilians in a quarter of a century”.
Turning to development, he noted “remarkable gains” made through the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, but also lagging progress on some targets as well as growing inequality.
Echoing the Secretary-General’s comments and citing the theme he had chosen for the sixty-eighth session – “The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage” – the Assembly’s President, John Ashe said the new development framework was expected to have poverty eradication as its central and overarching goal, and to address the inseparable link connecting economic growth, equity and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
He added that there was an urgent need for tangible results and action by the Assembly, while, on the other hand, high levels of pessimism and cynicism persisted.
“Let us prove the naysayers wrong,” he urged. “Dogged determination and a commitment to negotiate and work cooperatively would be required to achieve that and to make multilateralism work effectively,” he added.
Ashe also charged participants not to see the annual gathering of world leaders and dignitaries as just “another September routine or tradition”, but as an opportunity for Member States and other stakeholders to recommit to the noble ideals at the Organization’s core.