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- October 7, 2019 12:38 PM
UNITED NATIONS -- In a world shadowed by the turmoil in Ukraine and Gaza, the urgency for reforming the UN Security Council has reached an unprecedented peak, Dennis Francis, president of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), said on Thursday.
Amid the assembly's annual discourse, evaluating the United Nations' foremost platform for peace and security, Francis conveyed with deep conviction that without fundamental structural reform, the council's effectiveness and credibility are destined to progressively diminish.
"Violence and war continue to spread in regions across the world, while the United Nations seems paralyzed due largely to the divisions in the Security Council," he said.
With the world changing quickly, the council is "dangerously falling short" of its mandate as the primary custodian for the maintenance of international peace and security, he said, adding, "Absent structural reform, its performance and legitimacy will inevitably continue to suffer, and so too, the credibility and relevance of the UN itself."
While the question of equitable representation has been on the assembly's agenda since 1979, the calls for reform have grown amid widening conflict worldwide, underscored the UNGA president.
At September's annual high-level debate, council reform was a common refrain from the podium, including expanding its membership.
Recent crises and the inability of the Security Council to agree on a unified position such as on the Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Palestine crisis, have further underscored that urgency.
The Security Council passed its first resolution on the Israel-Palestine conflict on Wednesday since the crisis erupted on Oct. 7.
In his speech, Francis went on to warn the assembly that gridlock on the Security Council can be just as challenging as dealing with chaos.
"I caution this august house that stasis can be as formidable a foe as chaos. We cannot usefully perpetuate positions that, while familiar, fail to bring us closer together," he said, urging fresh, innovative thinking on reforms.
"One of the ways we can repair trust," Francis said, is to strengthen solidarity and conciliation, highlighting the importance of the Summit of the Future next year.
He called on member states to "grasp this opportunity" to break through ingrained positions, and to promote Security Council reform through practical steps that support effectiveness and represent the full diversity today's world.