Sierra Leone and Algeria have been elected to United Nations Security Council (UNSC), winning a term of two years each to represent Africa on the UN’s most powerful organ.
The two countries were voted for at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to fill positions in the non-permanent member category for the 15-member council. Their terms begin on January 1, 2024, and will replace Ghana and Gabon, respectively, in a rotational allocation of seats.
The UNSC, one of six organs of the UN, has the most significant task, that of maintaining international peace and security.
Only five countries - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - have permanent status in the council.
The group, collectively known as the P5, each wields the power to veto a resolution.
The remaining 10 members are elected to serve on a rotational two-year, non-consecutive term without veto power.
But the seats in the non-permanent category are allocated per region. Africa has three, which Kenya, Ghana and Gabon currently occupy.
In this election, however, only the two seats occupied by Ghana and Gabon were up for replacement.
Other countries elected on Tuesday are Belarus, Guyana, the Republic of Korea and Slovenia.
Sierra Leone’s bid
In May 2022, Sierra Leone launched its bid for the UNSC seat to lobby regional powers for support. Nigeria, which had expressed interest in the seat, dropped out with the mediation of the West African bloc, Ecowas.
Sierra Leone later received the African Union’s endorsement at its 39th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Algeria’s earlier at its 37th session.
Sierra Leone has served in the UNSC once, from 1970 to 1971, since it joined the UN in 1961.
When he announced his country’s bid last year, President Julius Maada Bio described the move as a step towards fulfilling a desire to advance and sustain global peace.
His government said it wanted to use the country’s civil war experience to promote global peace and enhance efforts by Africa towards a reformed UN Security Council.
Sierra Leone currently chairs the African Union’s Committee of Ten (C-10), which is charged with negotiating the continent’s position on the reform of the UNSC. Other committee members are Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Zambia, Libya, Algeria, Senegal and Uganda.
Africa wants to have two permanent representatives in the council and an additional two seats as non-permanent representatives, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, also called the African Common Position.