The Next UN Member? 5 Leading Candidate Countries


The United Nations currently has a
hundred and ninety three member states. However, it’s been almost a decade since
any countries joined. A new member is long overdue. But which country stands the best chance of becoming the 194th member of the organization? In this video I’ll examine five leading candidates. And my first choice might surprise you. [MUSIC] Hi welcome to Independent Thinking. A channel dedicated statehood independence and the origins of countries. My name is James Ker-Lindsay. Membership of the United Nations is the most important goal for any new country. It’s seen as the ultimate symbol of its place in the international community of states. However, joining UN has become increasingly difficult. The pace of new members has slowed drastically over the past couple of
decades. Indeed, since 2000, just six countries have joined the UN. And, since 2010, just one country has joined: South Sudan in 2011. This means we are now experiencing the longest
gap without a new member since the organization was founded in 1945. The UN is overdue a new member. While there are many territories around the world that would like to join the UN, the list of potential candidates is in fact pretty small. For a start, any realistic candidate
must meet several conditions. First of all, it has to have the required attributes of statehood, or else can reasonably expect to have them in the foreseeable future. These attributes are a defined territory, a settled population, government and the ability to enter into relations with other states. I’ve already posted a video about the attributes of the state. See the link above, or in the description below. Secondly, my list of candidates is also focused on those countries that have either attained statehood and widespread recognition, or else have a relatively clear and internationally accepted path to independence. This means that I’ve not included what could otherwise be some popular choices. For example, while Catalonia and Iraqi Kurdistan may well be able to meet the criteria for statehood their path to actual independence appears to be firmly blocked at this stage. So, given these restrictions, which countries are the most likely to be the next UN member? To my mind, there would appear to be five potential prospects to keep an eye on. In fifth place is Palestine. This is actually the only country on the list that has already applied to join. In 2011, it formally submitted a membership application to the Secretary-General. However, the process was halted when the Security Council was unable to make the necessary recommendation for membership to the General Assembly due to an objection from the United States. Despite this, Palestine nevertheless enjoys widespread acceptance on the international stage. For example, it’s recognised by almost 140 UN members – far more than the two-thirds required for a positive vote in the General Assembly. Moreover, since 2012 it has been officially accepted as a non-member observer State at the UN. There’s even talk that it will launch another application for membership in the near future. However, despite all this, at present there seems to be little reason to suppose that Washington will change its mind on full membership. In fourth place is Western Sahara. This territory in northwest Africa had originally been earmarked to become an independent state. Indeed, the United Nations continues to keep it on the list as one of 17 non-self-governing territories worldwide – a designation that’s usually used for colonial territories. However, before it could become an independent country, following the end of Spanish colonial rule, in 1976, it was invaded and annexed by Morocco. Since then, Morocco’s claim to sovereignty has been widely rejected; including by the EU and the United States. Meanwhile, Western Sahara has, at one point or another, been recognized by over 80 countries. A 1991 UN peace plan foresaw a referendum on independence. However, this has never happened – and there seems little prospect that will happen anytime soon. That said, Western Sahara is still widely seen as a viable prospect for eventual independence and UN membership. In third place is Kosovo. This small Balkan state declared independence from Serbia in February 2008. It has since been recognized by the United States,
Britain and France as well as by over a hundred other members
of the United Nations. Crucially, however, its statehood is rejected by Russia and China, and neither seems likely to change its position in the absence of a final agreement with Serbia. With this in mind, both the United States and the European Union are pushing for a final settlement between the sides. To this end, it seems to be widely accepted that Kosovo and Serbia will need to come to an agreement on the terms of Kosovo statehood. This will in turn open the way for admissions to the United Nations – although it’s unclear when this could happen, it would certainly not be beyond the realms of possibility that we could see Kosovo join the UN within the next five years. In second place is Scotland. Although voters there rejected independence from the United Kingdom in a referendum, held in September 2014, a lot has happened since then. Most notably, Britain has voted to leave
the European Union – a decision that was opposed by the large
majority of Scots. This appears to have given a renewed impetus to the independence movement and the Scottish Government has already announced that it wants to hold another vote on statehood in 2020. While it remains to be seen whether this will be authorized by the British Government, which is still formally required to give its permission for any independence vote, there seems to be some evidence that support for independence has grown from the 45% who voted for statehood last time round. This leaves my top choice for the next member of the United Nations. And in many ways it’s a surprising choice in as much as few people will have heard of it. In first place is the small Pacific island of Bougainville. With a population of around a quarter of a million people, this little-known territory is currently a part of Papua New Guinea, in Southeast Asia. Between 1988 and 1998, there was a bitter conflict on the island. This was brought to an end with a peace deal that, amongst other things, promised a referendum on independence. After many delays, this vote is due to be held from 23 November until 7 December 2019. Voters will be given a choice between greater
autonomy and full independence. If they opt for independence, it seems likely that the government of Papua New Guinea will accept the decision. This would then make the country’s membership at the United Nations all but certain. For this reason, Bougainville is my top choice to become 194th member of the UN. Of course, this list is certainly not the last word on the issue of future UN members. There are many other countries and territories out there with a strong claim to independence. For example, I haven’t included Somaliland
– another popular choice. However, these are the five countries that I think stand the best possibility of membership at the United Nations – either by virtue of their current widespread recognition or because there’s a clear and internationally accepted path to independence. Of course, if you disagree or have any other suggestions do you leave comments below. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please take a moment
to hit the like button below. And don’t forget to subscribe to get further content and press the bell to be notified when I upload new videos. And do let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or if there are any other topics that you’d like to see me cover. Thanks again for watching. [MUSIC]

5 thoughts on “The Next UN Member? 5 Leading Candidate Countries

  1. Thanks for watching. So, do you think I got it right? If not, which other countries would you have included, or would you have gone for a different order or top pick? Do let me know. And don't forget to take the poll in the video.

  2. You are a joker.. Somaliland is number one because Somaliland has everything and military force to assert itself .. so mr joker you will most certainly see somaliland recognized soon.. might is right my friend..

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