28/04/2022

UN General Assembly adopts resolution mandating debate after each usage of veto by permanent member of Security Council

NEW YORK — The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution  by consensus, to a burst of applause, mandating a debate be held 10 working days after a veto is issued by one of the five permanent members of the Security Council (UNSC).

While the move doesn’t eliminate or limit the use of the veto by the permanent members of the UNSC — the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia — it does have the potential to increase the political costs of wielding the veto in self-interest.

The resolution was proposed by Liechtenstein two years ago in an effort to reform the United Nations and restore its role of resolving state crises and problems. More than 80 countries, including the United States, France, Britain and other major countries of the European Union, joined the sponsorship of the resolution.

The Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the U.N., Christian Wenaweser, asserted that the draft does not specifically target any one member of the UNSC. However, wider support for the resolution is likely a result of Russia vetoing UNSC resolutions over its invasion of Ukraine. Though not naming Russia directly, Wenaweser stated that, “There has never been a stronger need for effective multilateralism than today, and there has never been a stronger need for innovation in order to secure the central role and voice of the United Nations.”

The decision has been contentious in some political circles. John Bolton, former U.S. National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative of the United States to the U.N. under President George W. Bush called the initiative  irrational and futile, claiming that it weakens the veto right. Bolton is a long-standing critic of international institutions, including the U.N. and the International Criminal Court.

Russia, Belarus, India, among other countries, opposed the resolution.