The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Unlike the G8, where the common denominator is the economy and long-term political motives, the G4's primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council. Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN's establishment. Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5). However, the G4's bids are often opposed by certain countries, particularly their economic competitors or political rivals.
The UN currently has five permanent members with veto powers in the Security Council: the People's Republic of China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The G4 nations are regularly elected to two-year terms on the Security Council as non-permanent members by their respective regional groups: in the 24-year period from 1987 to 2010, Japan was elected for five terms, Brazil for five terms, Germany for four terms and India for two terms. Cumulatively, the G4 has spent 64 years on the Security Council since the UN's inception, with each country serving at least a decade. By comparison, the three permanent members of the Security Council who have maintained their seats since the UN's founding (France, the U.K., and the U.S.) have each accrued 68 years of membership. The People's Republic of China has held its permanent seat for 42 years, since it replaced the Republic of China in 1971, and the Soviet Union held a permanent seat for 45 years before being replaced by Russia.
|Quick Comparison of G4 and P5 Members|
|Brazil||G4||190,732,694 (5th)||$2,443 (7th)||1.611% (14th)||$35.4 (10th)||327,710 (14th)||NO|
|Germany||G4||82,329,758 (16th)||$3,577 (4th)||8.018% (3rd)||$46.7 (9th)||250,613 (22nd)||NO3|
|India||G4||1,210,193,422 (2nd)||$1,827 (10th)||0.534% (27th)||$46.8 (7th)||1,325,000 (3rd)||YES|
|Japan||G4||128,056,026 (10th)||$5,867 (3rd)||12.53% (2nd)||$59.3 (6th)||230,300 (24th)||NO|
|China||P5||1,347,338,352 (1st)||$7,298 (2nd)||3.189% (8th)||$143.0 (2nd)||2,285,000 (1st)||YES|
|France||P5||65,821,885 (21st)||$2,778 (5th)||6.123% (5th)||$62.5 (5th)||352,771 (13th)||YES|
|Russia||P5||143,056,383 (9th)||$1,850 (8th)||1.602% (15th)||$71.9 (3rd)||1,027,000 (5th)||YES|
|UK||P5||63,047,162 (22nd)||$2,494 (6th)||6.604% (4th)||$62.7 (4th)||197,780 (26th)||YES|
|US||P5||312,913,872 (3rd)||$15,076 (1st)||22.00% (1st)||$711.0 (1st)||1,458,219 (2nd)||YES|
|1$US billions 2Percent contributed to total UN budget 3Takes part in NATO nuclear weapons sharing agreement|
According to the IMF, all countries in the current "P5" members of the Security Council and the G4 currently rank among the 10 economies with the highest nominal GDP in the world, both regarding the calculation of GDP by Purchasing Power Parity, and nominal GDP, with Italy being the only non P5 or G4 member among them. They also account for 9 of the world's ten largest defense budgets, with Saudi Arabia being the only non P5 or G4 member among them. In both scenarios, the P5 and G4 countries combined account for over 60% of the world's GDP, and around half of the world's total population.
There has been discontent among the present permanent members regarding the inclusion of controversial nations or countries not supported by them. For instance, Japan's bid is heavily opposed by the People's Republic of China and South Korea, who believes that Japan needs to atone further for its war crimes in World War II. At the same time Japan finds strong support from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Under the leadership of Italy, countries that strongly oppose the G4 countries' bids have formed the Uniting for Consensus movement, or the Coffee Club, composed mainly of regional powers that oppose the rise of some nearby country to permanent member status. In East Asia, both China and South Korea heavily oppose Japan's bid. In Latin America, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico are opposing a seat for Brazil. In South Asia, Pakistan is opposing India's bid.
The G4 suggested that two African nations, in addition to themselves, be included in the enlarged UNSC. In several conferences during the summer of 2005, the African Union was unable to agree on two nominees: Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa all lay claim to a permanent African UNSC seat.
A UN General Assembly in September 2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the UN and the members were to decide on a number of necessary reforms—including the enlarged SC. However the unwillingness to find a negotiable position stopped even the most urgent reforms; the September 2005 General Assembly was a setback for the UN.
The G4 retain their goal of permanent UNSC membership for all four nations (plus two African nations). In January 2006, Japan announced it would not support putting the G4 resolution back on the table, not to interfere with any effort by the African Union to unite behind a single plan. And meanwhile, Japan's continuing relations with the G4 were not mutually exclusive.
G4 issued joint statement in February 12, 2011, in which their foreign ministers agreed to seek concrete outcome in the current session of the UN General Assembly.
- "Japan Says No to G4 Bid". Globalpolicy.org. 2006-01-07. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- Membership of the Security Council
- List of members of the United Nations Security Council
- US backs Japan's UNSC bid despite setback to momentum, People's Daily, 19 April 2005
- UK backs Japan for UNSC bid, Central Chronicle, 11 January 2007
- "Players and Proposals in the Security Council Debate", Global Policy Forum, 3 July 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2006.
- Africa's Battle for Power in the Security Council[dead link], United Nations Radio, 21 July 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2006.
- Africa: Security Council Expansion, AfricaFocus Bulletin, 30 April 2005. Retrieved 14 May 2006.
- International Review, Summer, 2006 by Emily Bruemmer
- Japan Says No to G4 Bid, Global Policy Forum, News24.com, 7 Jan 2006
- Thaindian News Sat Feb 12 2011 by IANS