Peace Gridlock

In the global pursuit of peace, the United Nations Security Council encounters a significant obstacle—the veto power wielded by its permanent members. The use of this veto power has proven to be a stumbling block, hindering the council’s efficacy in addressing con­flicts and fostering peace in specific regions like Gaza and Ukraine.

The US, being a close ally of Israel, had previously shown hesita­tion to heed the Council’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza. This highlights a critical flaw in the way the council operates. Despite the major­ity of council members advocating for a ceasefire, the veto power held by some members introduces bias into crucial decision-mak­ing processes. Sadly, this has translated into the Council taking little substantive action to alleviate the suffering in Gaza. As lives are lost, the countries wielding the veto power remain conspicuously silent. Veto power grants a permanent member the authority to block any substantial resolution, even with widespread support from other council members. This power dynamic raises unsettling questions about the efficacy of the council and undermines the voice of devel­oping nations in critical matters.

Munir Akram, representing Pakistan at the UN, aptly voices con­cerns about how the veto power exercised by certain countries im­pedes the Council’s ability to make collective decisions. The need to curtail this veto power is evident, and one solution lies in reimagin­ing the composition of the Security Council. An initiative worth con­sidering is the expansion of non-permanent elected seats within the council, making it more representative and inclusive. With a com­position of 27 members, a majority from developing nations, the disproportionate influence wielded by a handful of veto-wielding countries would diminish. This shift would pave the way for more effective decision-making and action within the Security Council.

It is crucial to acknowledge that discussions surrounding reforms to the UNSC, particularly regarding the veto power issue, have persist­ed for years. Achieving consensus among member states on substan­tial changes remains challenging due to varying perspectives. Howev­er, prioritizing a more inclusive and representative Security Council is a step towards breaking the peace gridlock caused by the misuse of veto power and fostering a more collaborative global effort for lasting peace.

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