United Nations Security Council Reform: why is it so hard?

Baleson, Dagny (2020-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the 1990s UNSC reform has been a dominant topic in International Relations, especially since the establishment of a working group by the UN to explore UNSC reform proposals. The UN, and accordingly the UNSC, was founded after World War II by the superpowers and their allies. The UNSC is the most powerful supranational organ in international relations, because it has the power to authorise legally binding resolutions and deploy peacekeeping operations. This is in conjunction with the most important responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The creators of the UN, or the Permanent Members of the UNSC, wanted to pursue the prospect of a new international order enshrined through an international institution that would encourage increased multilateralism among the dominant international actors on the premise that there should be equality among sovereign states. The founders of the UNSC also granted themselves the highest power in the multilateral organisation; the UK, the USA, Russia, China and France, ensured their permanent presence in the UN as they possessed veto powers. However, the emergence of the UN occurred in conjunction with the Cold War, and the decolonisation and independence movements from the mid-1950s. Consequently, this created a surge of new independent power contenders for seats on the UNSC from the Global South. The UNSC instituted one reform in 1965 with the addition of four non-permanent members. The UNSC has undergone no reforms since then, yet almost all UN member states continue to advocate for further expansion and reform of the UNSC. The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s brought increased criticism of the Council because of its inefficiency in dealing with international tensions since WWII. Hence, UN members set up the Open-Ended Working Group. UNSC reform has become an acceptable discourse since members of the international community broadly endorse it. In order to determine the influence that international actors have in international norm dynamics, it is essential to understand how norms emerge, how they cascade through the legal framework, and what kind of resistance inhibits their internalisation. The theoretical framework devised by Finnemore and Sikkink (1998) is utilised to illustrate the respective roles actors play in the pursuit of UNSC reform. But the question remains: Why is it so hard? Without reform of the UNSC, it runs the risk of becoming obsolete or inconsequential.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert die 1990’s, is die hervorming van die VNVR 'n dominante onderwerp in internasionale betrekkinge, veral sedert die stigting van 'n werkgroep deur die VN om die voorstelle betreffende die VNVR se hervorming te ondersoek. Die VN, en daarmee saam die VNVR, is deur die supermoondhede en hul bondgenote na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog gestig. Die VNVR is die magtigste supranasionale orgaan in internasionale betrekkinge omdat hulle die mag het om regsbindende besluite te bekragtig en om vredesoperasies te ontplooi. Hierdie bestaan in samewerking met die belangrikste verantwoordelikheid: om internasionale vrede en veiligheid te handhaaf. Die skeppers van die VN, insgelyks die permanente lede van die VNVR, het die vooruitsig gehad om 'n nuwe internasionale bestel te skep wat in 'n internasionale instelling verskans is, wat verhoogde multilateralisme onder dominante internasionale akteurs sal aanmoedig, met die veronderstelling dat daar gelykheid tussen soewereine state sal wees. Die stigters van die VNVR het aan hulle-self ook die hoogste mag in die multilaterale organisasie toegestaan: die VK, die VSA, Rusland, Sjina en Frankryk het hul permanensie in die VN met die besit van vetoreg verseker. Die opkoms van die VN het egter gelyktydig met die Koue Oorlog, dekolonisasie en onafhanklikheidsbewegings in die 1950's plaasgevind. Dit het 'n oplewing in nuwe onafhanklike magsaanspraakmakers vanuit die Globale Suide tot gevolg gehad. Die VNVR het in 1965 een hervorming ondergaan met die toevoeging van vier nie-permanente lede. Die VNVR het sedertdien geen hervorming ondergaan nie maar nogtans ondersteun byna alle lidlande van die VN verdere uitbreiding en hervorming van die VNVR. Die beëindiging van die Koue Oorlog in die 1990’s het toenemende kritiek weens die ondoeltreffende hantering van die oorlog op die Raad gebring -vandaar die vorming van die Oop-Einde Werkgroep deur die VN. VNVR-hervorming het 'n aanvaarbare norm geword omdat lede van die internasionale gemeenskap dit in die breë onderskryf.Ten einde te bepaal watter invloed akteurs op internasionale norm dinamika het, is dit noodsaaklik om te verstaan hoe norme ontstaan, hoe hulle deur die wetlike raamwerk kaskadeer, en watter vorm van weerstand hulle internalisering inhibeer. Die teoretiese raamwerk wat Finnemore en Sikkink (1998) geskep het, word gebruik om die onderskeie rolle wat akteurs in die strewe na die hervorming van die VNVR speel, te illustreer: Maar die vraag bly: Waarom is dit so moeilik? Sonder die hervorming, loop die VNVR die risiko om verouderd of onbeduidend te word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109195
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