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It is widely recognized that international realities have undergone profound changes in the last two decades, adding new and increasingly complex challenges to world governance as embodied in the United Nations institutional architecture. The capacity of the Organization to satisfactorily meet new demands, in exercise of its collective responsibilities, has not evolved with the speed and in the direction required by current global dynamics.

This situation is particularly distressing in relation to the discharging, by the Security Council, of its primary role in the maintenance of international peace and security. The transformations in the nature of conflicts, along with enduring traditional challenges to peace, compose a scenario that reveals severe deficiencies. The lack of a reform impacts deeply on perceptions regarding the authority of the Council, as it falls short of generating the necessary levels of trust in its capacity to perform with efficiency and effectiveness.

Among the causes for these shortcomings, two stand out as particularly relevant: the twin deficits of representativeness and legitimacy. Almost 70 years since the creation of the United Nations and the steep increase in its membership, from the original 51 to 193 states today, the structure of the Security Council remains unchanged in its permanent category and has had only one limited increase in its non-permanent category, from 6 to 10 members.

A governance structure that excludes new centers of regional and global influence and disregards the need for proportionality and diversity in its composition adds to the growing frustration and doubts about the legitimacy of its decisions. When the United Nations was created, five permanent members acted in representation of 51 countries (at the ratio of one permanent seat for 10 members). Today, we have the same five permanent members for 193 countries (therefore, at the ratio of one permanent seat for almost 40 countries). A similar deficit in proportionality is observed in relation to the non-permanent category, despite the adjustment made in 1965. While the number of United Nations member states has grown almost fourfold, the increase in non-permanent membership has been marginal. There is clearly an imperative for expansion of the Council also in the non-permanent category.

The more we protract the unavoidable reform, the more the international community will face the serious limitations that have compromised its capacity to act in the promotion of international peace and security. The harsh challenges of recent years in the economic and financial arena have led to some significant changes. The stronger role of the G-20 and the reforms in the IMF and World Bank governance were meaningful manifestations of realism and capacity for adaptation to new realities. However, and after almost twenty years of debate, reform of the Security Council lags behind.

Brazil will persist in its efforts to bring about the urgent enlargement of the Security Council both in its permanent and non-permanent categories. This is the position supported by a majority of United Nations Member States and, as we know, consensus is built upon the views of the majority.

As a country that has served 10 times in the Security Council, Brazil recognizes the strenuous efforts made by permanent and non-permanent members in seeking to guarantee international peace and security. However, structural changes will have to occur soon. Indeed, even if there are differences in perspectives among UN member states, no single member of the United Nations today raises doubts about the urgency and inevitability of reform.

On the basis of these considerations, Brazil has decided to organize a Seminar to bring together representatives from government, academia the media and non-governmental organizations. The perception that the UNSC, in its current composition and working methods, is failing to devise solutions and adequately perform its Charter responsibilities is the central consideration stimulating this initiative.


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