The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has called on the new United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Mr António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, to spearhead the democratic reforms of the UN Security Council.
Such reforms, he said, should include the full representation of Africa on the Security Council, as proposed by the African Union (AU) in Swaziland in 2005.
Addressing a breakfast meeting between African Heads of State and the new UN Secretary-General in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of the Ordinary Session of the 28th Assembly of the AU, President Akufo-Addo urged Mr Guterres to take the lead in effecting reforms at the UN to promote and deepen international co-operation.
He said ensuring the full representation of Africa on the Security Council, as envisaged in the Ezulwuni Consensus, would mean having not less than two permanent seats, with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto and five non-permanent seats, and that the AU ought to be responsible for the selection of Africa’s representatives on the Security Council.
The Ezulwuni Consensus is a position on international relations and a reform of the UN agreed on by the AU in 2005.
According to President Akufo-Addo, with the reform of the Security Council being the most debated topic at the UN since 1993, it was important for Mr Guterres, during his tenure, to ensure the implementation of reforms of the council and, indeed, all other organs of the UN.
The President recounted how he, as Ghana’s Foreign Minister and Chairman of the AU Ministerial Conclave in Swaziland in 2005, together with his colleague AU Foreign Ministers, drafted the Ezulwuni Consensus, which called for a more representative and democratic Security Council.
The goal of the AU, as contained in the Ezulwuni Consensus, he said, was to be fully represented in all the decision-making organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, the principal decision-making organ in matters relating to international peace and security.
President Akufo-Addo said very little progress had been made since the drawing up of the consensus in Swaziland and urged Mr Guterres to hasten efforts towards the full realisation of the consensus.
With the new UN Secretary-General advocating “conflict management and prevention” as one of his topmost priorities in office, the President expressed concern over the growing rift between some AU member states and the International Criminal Court (ICC).
His concern was hinged on the fact that in 2016 as many as six African countries, namely, The Gambia, Burundi, Uganda, Namibia, Kenya and South Africa, announced their intention to pull out, with South Africa actually withdrawing from the tribunal, after claims of “inappropriate targeting of Africa” by the ICC.
To that end, President Akufo-Addo called for a closer engagement between the AU and the UN in the spirit of mutual respect and trust and reiterated Ghana’s continued support for and confidence in the ICC.
AU Agenda 2063
In his opening remarks, the outgoing Chairperson of the AU, President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad, outlined the areas of immediate concern to the AU which should serve as the basis for enhanced collaboration between the two organisations.
The concerns are in the areas of peace and security, as well as the harmonisation of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, together with the AU’s Agenda 2063.
The meeting was also addressed by the outgoing Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who did not only underscore the need for the UN to take Africa’s concerns seriously but also the AU’s new approach to the funding of peacekeeping operations on the continent.
For his part, Mr Guterres welcomed the issues raised, emphasising that without Africa’s strong participation and contribution, the UN’s initiatives, aimed at resolving current global challenges, would not achieve the desired results.
Therefore, in his view, the global order had to be urgently reformed to enable Africa to play a central role in world affairs.