African leaders converged in Windhoek yesterday to develop a strategy on how the continent can present its demand for key reforms at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including creating a permanent seat for Africa.
It was stressed yesterday that there is need for the continent to stand together to advance its demands for such reforms.
Speaking during the opening of the Consultative Summit of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State (C-10) on the Reform of the UNSC that started in Windhoek yesterday, Sierra Leone Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Samura Kamara urged delegates not to initiate discussions that will divide the continent, but to act as a united front.
African leaders have over the years been accused of failing to come up with substantive recommendations when it comes to pushing for a seat on the council, something that prompted Kamara to question whether African states, that are home to more than one billion people, are really committed to pushing for African representation on the council. “Have we made any concrete recommendations, or are we scared to come up with recommendations, or is it a thing of us not being committed to the process?” Kamara asked. He further said: “During the discussions we must not repeat things that have been discussed already, we need to make bold suggestions.”
China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are the Security Council’s five permanent members. There are also 10 non-permanent members, elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.With the Security Council being one of UN’s most powerful bodies, Kamara said the high profile of the council would require African states to stand firm, united and be resilient. African states have been pleading to be included on the council since 2005, but those requests have thus far fallen on deaf ears.
Minister for International Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said: “It is disappointing that since 2005 no substantive progress has been made.” She said most positions on the reform process have become entrenched.
Although the UN Charter does not explicitly outline the qualification criteria for membership in the permanent category of the UNSC, Nandi-Ndaitwah said the principle of equitable geographical representation is key.
“Namibia reiterates that correcting the historical injustice suffered by the African continent, as the only continent not represented in the permanent category of the UNSC, and at the same time under-represented in the non-permanent category is imperative, long overdue and, therefore, should be addressed as a matter of great priority,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
African leaders have repeatedly called on the UN to consider offering a permanent seat on the UNSC to Africa, saying it is the only way it will acquire legitimacy and unconditional acceptance of its decisions, which have often been questioned.
The AU delegates in Windhoek are expected to adopt the summit report before the summit ends today.
President Hage Geingob, AU chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as well as Sierra Leone President Dr Ernest Koroma will also address delegates today. Countries attending the summit include Kenya, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria, Namibia, Sierra Leone, the Republic of Congo, Zambia, Uganda and Senegal.