Reform needed in UN Security Council after 70 years: experts

Reform needed in UN Security Council after 70 years: experts
After 70 years of striving to maintain global peace, some experts suggest the UN Security Council needs reform to better respond to international disputes and crises.

As an institution, the UN cant do much, Dave Benjamin, a global development professor at the University of Bridgeport, told CTV News Channel. Its the member states, and particularly the permanent five of the Security Council, that have to muster the political will to address the issues.

The UN was formed in 1945 and was tasked with avoiding another major conflict like the Second World War.

The Security Council was created the following year to regulate conflicts between the worlds most powerful nations. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States are now the five permanent members of the council

But despite its 70 years of relative success in maintaining peace between member countries, Benjamin said the council has to re-engineer itself to be less driven by the power politics and more in tune with the long-term strategies that the council needs to address crises, not as they occurred, but in anticipation of them.

The Security Council has faced criticism over its members failure to agree on humanitarian crises, such as the war in Syria or the refugee influx currently overwhelming Europe.

Still relevant

Despite the accusations, former Canadian ambassador to the UN Paul Heinbecker said the United Nations is still a relevant organization.

In 1945, the UN gave itself a mandate of avoiding another global military conflict, growing the economy, improving human rights, and creating an international justice system. And Heinbecker said it has actually succeeded on those four objectives.

There have been other, smaller wars -- terrible wars -- but it isnt the same thing as if you had an exchange between the major nuclear powers, he said.

The 24/7 diplomacy being carried out by the UN is in part responsible for smaller advancement that are often forgotten, Heinbecker said.

You look around the world and people have never been better educated, theyve never been better connected, theyve been healthier, (and) theyve never been richer, Heinbecker said. A lot of progress has been made in the last 70 years and I dont think it would be a good idea to deprecate that.

Canadas role

Canadas new Liberal government will likely play an important role in the future of the UN as the country tries to repair some of its damaged diplomatic ties, Heinbecker suggested.

I dont think the population of Canada, perhaps, is aware of just how ineffective and in what shambles Canadian foreign policy has been.

Heinbecker said Canadas relations with major global partners, such as the U.S., Mexico, China, and countries in the Middle East, have suffered since Canada was voted out of the Security Council in 2010.

The new government has promised a constructive diplomacy and engagement in international affairs, and Id say its not a day too soon, he said.
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