Africa And The United Nations Millennium Reforms; A Critical Appraisal

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

Africa And The United Nations Millennium Reforms; A Critical Appraisal


Abstract


Since its (United Nations) establishment in 1945, the United Nations has been in a constant state of transition as various international stakeholders seek ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.N. system. Controversies, such as the unhealthy use of veto by the Permanent 5 (P5), lopsided composition of the Security Council, and instances of waste, fraud and abuse by U.N. staff, have focused renewed attention on the need for change and improvement of the United Nations. Many in the international community, including the African continent, have increased pressure on U.N. member states to implement substantive reforms. This study has been designed to critically appraise Africa and the UN millennium reforms.

The objectives of the study are: First, to ascertain the role of the Permanent members of the UN and how it impinges on African chances at benefiting from the current UN reforms. Two, to examine if there is any relationship between the lack of consensus on what should be the goal of reform and the divergent views by members. Three, to ascertain weather the UN reform have consequences for the UN Charter and the Security Council. To achieve the above objectives of the study, we raised the following research questions: One, does the role of the Permanent members of the UN impinge on African chances at benefiting from the current UN reforms? Two, is there any relationship between the lack of consensus on what should be the goal of reform and the divergent views by members? Three, does the UN reforms have consequences for the UN Charter and the Security Council? To investigate the above research questions, the study anchored analysis on the Realist Theory.

The framework helps us to understand why we still live with the prejudices and biases of the pre-UN era, many years after the establishment of the UN. It will also help us to explain why the Security Council remains the way it is with its anachronistic tendencies that are unreflective of today’s realities. The study is basically library research hence we relied on documentary method of data collection. We collected data from secondary sources. Such secondary sources are text books; journals; AU, NIIA and UN publications; seminar, conference and workshop papers; magazines, newspapers and internet materials. Descriptive and explanatory methods of analysis were adopted because the study is qualitative method.

The study also applied statistical tools where necessary. After a critical analysis of available literature and data, the study revealed as follows: First, the position and activities of the Permanent members on the UN reform impinges on African chances at benefiting from the reform. Second, there is a relationship between the lack of consensus on what should be the goal of reform and the divergent views held by members and finally, the UN reforms have consequences for the UN Charter and the Security Council.

Based on the foregoing, the study recommends that a holistic reform of the UN system with special focus on the Security Council must be brought to a conclusive end; and Africa must have at least one slot in the permanent seat of the Security Council. The members of the UN must of necessity find a middle ground on what should be the goal of the reform and re-create itself to assure that all states without any exception must adhere to the fundamental norms and values enshrined in its Charter. Further, to play an assertive and strategic role in the UN system, African states and leaders must take economic and political integration and demands on the UN beyond lip-service.

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