A view of the Security Council during a high-level meeting on diplomacy and conflict prevention on Sept. 22. Prime Minister Gonsalves says that the council is “an outmoded and increasingly illegitimate body” that must be reformed. (UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

NEW YORK, USA – St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is adamant that the United Nations Security Council must be reformed, the nation’s prime minister told the General Debate on Saturday.

Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said that as “the winds of change encircle the planet, the United Nations itself seems trapped in the doldrums of stasis and stagnation”.

“It should be a source of alarm and international embarrassment that the composition of the United Nations Security Council is an ossified relic of World War II, seemingly immune to the modern realities of new countries and new global powers,” said Gonsalves, who is also his nation’s minister of national security.

The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the U.N. Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council is composed of five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States — and ten, revolving, non-permanent members.

Gonsalves described as “an outrageous act of international irresponsibility” the reality that “such an outmoded and increasingly illegitimate body is allowed to decisively insert itself into local and regional conflicts.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines is adamant that the Security Council must

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (U.N. photo)

be reformed, and that the reform be underpinned by the expansion of the council in both permanent and non-permanent categories, with full regard to the legitimate aspirations of Africa and the necessary accommodations for Small Island Developing States, which have valuable and creative perspectives to peace-building and conflict resolution,” Gonsalves said. He further said that the “raging geopolitical squalls that have reshaped the world and continue to buffet our peoples and governments seem powerless against the UN’s institutionalised and fossilised fortifications of the status quo”.

The Vincentian leader said that even when compared with “our outmoded global financial architecture, the United Nations seems singularly incapable of meaningful self-analysis and far-reaching reform”.

Gonsalves said that SVG was this year honoured to serve as a co-facilitator of the U.N. Working Group for the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly.

SVG, he said, was heartened by the commitment of the president of the General Assembly “to building upon our work and enhancing the role, authority, effectiveness and efficiency of the General Assembly”.

The modern and multifaceted global challenges require “a nimble, responsive and action-oriented” U.N., Gonsalves argued.

“A failure to adapt along these lines will relegate the U.N. to, at best, becoming a glorified continuing university seminar. If that is to be the case, let us hand out diplomas to our diplomats, send young students here to hone their debating skills, and seek out new modalities for actively solving our global and regional challenges,” he said.

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