Liechtenstein Resolution Provides a Mechanism to Hold the P-5 Accountable

By Hemachandra Basappa

A remarkable and logical question wasrecently posed by the Permanent Mission of Liechtensteinvia a Resolution broached for discussion at the77th session of the General Assembly (GA), which is scheduled to begin on the 13th of September 2022.The Liechtenstein Resolution calls for the President of the GA to invite permanent member/s of the UN Security Council (P-5), to come before the GA and explain their stand within ten days of applying the veto power.  The resolution asks that these P-5 members submit a special report at least 72 hours before the relevant discussions in the GA.

The Charter of the UN is very clear in outlining the organization’s mission of saving“succeeding generations from the scourge of war,”whereby the Security Council (SC) has been granted the power to act on the GA’s behalf in achieving this aim through Article 24 of the UN Charter.Ironically, the veto power granted to P-5 members has been superfluously applied to block various peace keeping initiatives. By their continued use of the Veto, the P-5 has continued to let the peoples of the world down and has left the Nations of the world in paralysis of sorts.In such instances, the P-5 have abdicated their responsibility under Article 24-1, and have failed to maintain peace and security, as entrusted to them by the member states.The proposed Liechtenstein resolution provides an opportunity to finally hold the P-5 somewhat accountable to their obligations, as they would have to explain their decision to use of the veto to the GA.

All in all, the resolution highlights the need for UN reform; at the time that the UN came into being followingthe discussions in San Francisco in 1945, there were just 40 Nations, with Poland joining as the 41st Nation. However, we have all emerged from the domination of our colonial past, with the People’s Republic of Chinafinally joining the Security Council in Oct 1971.Today, the membership of the UN has risen to 193 Nations; with this in mind, should the same criteria, parametersor priorities that existed in 1945 still be applied today?

As we speak, the world is confronted with new dangersthat were largely unconceived in 1945, e.g., Climate change. Considering the great and unprecedented challenges that now face us, shouldn’t we expect greater responsibility and leadership from the P-5?

The Liechtenstein resolution is a first step towards pushing for greater responsibility and accountability from those we have entrusted. Even so, the resolution has left out a salient point in failing to suggest that the P-5 members should handover their chairing responsibility to anon-P-5 member of the SCduring times where they have used orintend to use their veto power. This may have made a difference in the flow of discussion at the Security Council earlier this year, as Russia chaired a discussion on its own involvement in the war in Ukraine.

It is worth noting that aside from the resolution, there are many other existing initiatives geared towards reforms of the Security Council, and the UN at large, including, but not limited to those proposed by the World Citizen’s Initiative for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. One thing is certain: change and reforms are required; as such, advocacy for these initiatives requires widespread support and attention.

The WFM-IGP and its membership(MOs, AOs and IMOs) should discuss this resolution and should acknowledge key concerns with a view to strengthening it. Thereafter, the organization should work towards endorsing the resolution,and should call on their respective governments to support the initiative. This is a positive step towards change thatis long overdue.