Uniting for Consensus

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Uniting for Consensus core members

Uniting for Consensus (UfC) is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Under the leadership of Italy,[1][2] it aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) and is calling for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.


Italy, through the ambassador Francesco Paolo Fulci, along with Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt, in 1995 founded the "Coffee Club".[3] The four countries were united by a rejection of the increase of the permanent members of the Security Council and the desire to encourage rather the expansion of non-permanent seats. The founders of the group were soon joined by other countries, including Spain, Argentina, Turkey, Canada, and South Korea, and in a short time the group came to include about 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.[3] The thesis of the Uniting for Consensus group is that the increase of permanent seats would have further accentuated the disparity between the member countries and resulted in the extension of a series of privileges with a cascade effect. The new permanent members would have in fact benefited from the method of electing particularly advantageous in a number of specific organs of the United Nations System.

After having agreed with the need to increase the representativeness of the Security Council, in 2005 during the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the UfC group — led by the representatives of Canada, Italy, Colombia and Pakistan — made a proposal[4] that centres on an enlargement of the number of non-permanent members from ten to twenty. The non-permanent members would be elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term and would be eligible for immediate re-election, subject to the decision of their respective geographical groups.[5] The other members and co-sponsors of the text, entitled "Reform of the Security Council", were listed as Argentina, Costa Rica, Malta, Mexico, San Marino, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.[6] Although the proposal was not accepted, the initiative found broad consensus among member states, including permanent member China.[7]

On 20 April 2009, Colombia and Italy, acting as representatives of the UfC group, provided a new model of reform,[8] which was presented as a concrete attempt to reach a deal. The document proposed creating a new category of seats, still non-permanent, but elected for an extended duration (3 to 5 years terms) without the possibility of immediate re-elections. This new kind of seat would not be allocated to single national countries but rather to regional groups on a rotational basis. As far as traditional categories of seats are concerned, the UfC proposal does not imply any change, but only the introduction of small and medium size states among groups eligible for regular seats. This proposal includes even the question of veto, giving a range of options that goes from abolition to limitation of the application of the veto only to Chapter VII matters.

During the last round, Italy firmly rejected the G4 proposal as well as the African Union one and even denounced the unfair behaviour of G4 countries. According to Italy, the G4 is attempting to exclude the UfC proposal from the floor, “on the basis of a presumed level of support”.[9] Moreover, Italy believes that it has shown flexibility by putting forward a new proposal on April 2009, while the G4 remained tied to its 2005 document.[10] Italy's active role in current discussions started in February 2009 before the beginning of intergovernmental negotiations, when Minister of Foreign Affairs Franco Frattini hosted more than 75 countries to develop a shared path towards a reform of the Security Council.[11] On May 2011, the members states which have participated in the group meeting held in Rome rose to 120.[12][13]


As of 19 February 2009, core members of the Uniting for Consensus group[14][15] were:

Country UN budget International Trade
(Millions of USD)
GDP (nominal)
(Millions of USD)
(Millions of USD)
Defense budget
(Millions of USD)
Active military Population G8 G20 OECD DAC
 Italy 4.999% 1,050,100 2,198,730 1,846,950 32,700 293,202 60,849,247 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
 South Korea 1.994% 1,084,000 1,304,554 1,554,149 33,900 687,000 50,004,441 Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
 Canada 3.207% 910,200 1,736,869 1,396,131 24,700 68,250 34,953,100 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY
 Spain 3.177% 715,200 1,493,513 1,413,468 13,984 128,013 46,163,116 Red XN Red XN Green tickY Green tickY
 Mexico 1.842% 678,200 1,260,915 1,661,640 4,859 267,506 112,336,538 Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
 Turkey 0.617% 373,800 778,089 1,073,565 18,687 666,576 74,724,269 Red XN Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
 Argentina 0.287% 136,300 447,644 716,419 3,179 73,100 40,117,096 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN
 Indonesia 0.238% 335,100 845,680 1,124,649 5,220 302,000 237,641,326 Red XN Green tickY Red XN Red XN
 Colombia 0.144% 92,760 327,626 471,890 10,290 285,220 46,748,000 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
 Pakistan 0.082% 58,000 210,566 488,580 5,160 617,000 180,991,000 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
 Costa Rica 0.034% 24,460 40,947 55,020 4,301,712 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
 Malta 0.017% 9,200 8,896 10,757 58 1,954 417,617 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN
 San Marino 0.003% 6,201 2,048 1,136 10 32,404 Red XN Red XN Red XN Red XN

See also


  1. Ayca Ariyoruk (3 July 2005). "Players and Proposals in the Security Council Debate". Global Policy Forum. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  2. Nicoletta Pirozzi; Natalino Ronzitti (May 2011). "The European Union and the Reform of the UN Security Council: Toward a New Regionalism?" (PDF). Istituto Affari Internazionali. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pamela Preschern (2009). "La riforma del Consiglio di Sicurezza dagli anni '90 ad oggi: problemi e prospettive" (PDF) (in Italian). Istituto Affari Internazionali. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  4. "Uniting for Consensus group of States introduces text on Security Council reform to General Assembly". United Nations. 26 July 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  5. Kulwant Rai Gupta (2006). Reform of the United Nations. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 232. ISBN 81-269-0668-5. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  6. "Draft resolution: Reform of the Security Council". United Nations. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  7. "Remarks by Ambassador Wang Guangya at Meeting on Uniting for Consensus". Permanent mission of the PRC to the UN. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  8. "Security Council reform" (PDF). Permanent mission of Italy to the UN. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  9. "Meeting of the informal plenary of the General Assembly on the question of the Security Council and related matters". Permanent mission of Italy to the UN. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  10. Nicoletta Pirozzi (10 June 2009). "L'Italia e la riforma del Consiglio di Sicurezza dell’Onu" (in Italian). Istituto Affari Internazionali. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  11. "Italy hosts ministerial meeting on UNSC reform in Rome". Kyodo News. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  12. "Riforma ONU: Frattini, il Consiglio di Sicurezza sia più rappresentativo" (in Italian). Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  13. Vincenzo Nigro (15 May 2011). "Consiglio di sicurezza Onu: Roma con 120 voti sfida Berlino" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  14. http://www.centerforunreform.org/node/386
  15. Lydia Swart (24 February 2009). "Countries welcome work plan as Security Council reform process commences new phase" (PDF). Center for UN Reform Education. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 

External links