Strengthening a “Young and Robust” UN: Q&A with Antonio de Aguiar Patriota

“I really see the UN at 70 as a young and robust organization capable of adapting to a new world, to new challenges, but there are also rigidities, there are also resistances to change,” said UN Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil.

Speaking with Global Observatory Editor Marie O’Reilly on the sidelines of the first ICM retreat on February 20, the ambassador said one area that acutely resisted change was the Security Council.

“There are significant contributions that other countries could make if they were allowed to participate more actively,” Mr. Patriota said, noting that the vast majority of draft resolutions were produced by two or three countries in the Security Council, and that “resolutions having to do with Africa are produced by the former colonizers rather than by Africans themselves.”

“Now, until and unless you have African permanent members [on the Security Council], I don’t see the situation changing. And how can Africans feel that they, their voice, and their concerns are being adequately dealt with through these current procedures? I don’t think that this is satisfactory, and in my opinion, it’s not sustainable,” the ambassador said.

The solution to what he described as “stagnation or push-back” in the system was enhanced multilateralism. “The stronger the United Nations, the more nations from around the world gather to discuss challenges and examine difficulties, possibly the better the prospects that we will improve the livelihood of the greatest possible number of people.”

Listen to the interview: