Member States Call for Removing Veto Power, Expanding Security Council to Include New Permanent Seats, as General Assembly Debates Reform Plans for 15-Member Organ
To meet emerging challenges of today’s increasingly complex international security and peace architecture, the United Nations Security Council must adapt, reform and expand its membership to include underrepresented regions, particularly Africa, the General Assembly heard today.
Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces (Ecuador), opening a day long debate, stressed that the Council must adapt to new political realities, with increased representation boosting its legitimacy and the implementation of its decisions. However, even though the issue of increased Council membership has been on the Assembly’s agenda for two decades, she said no consensus has been reached on how to reform the vital and crucial organ. Pledging full support for Council reform, she recognized that the issue is complex and closely intertwined with efforts to ensure international peace and security.
Delegates discussed a range of ideal solutions. Many called for broadening the number of permanent members beyond the current five (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) and abolishing the permanent membership’s use of veto power to overrule the adoption of draft resolutions.
Sierra Leone’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, spotlighted that most issues discussed in the 15 member organ are related to his continent. Its 54 nations must be involved in decisions concerning not only international peace and security, but its own very continent. Africa demands no less than two permanent seats, including the veto power, if it remains, and five non permanent seats. Widespread support from Member States for this position means that it is time to redress the historical injustice of not being represented in the permanent category.
We cannot afford to remain indifferent, Algeria’s delegate said. Despite having the largest number of Member States in the United Nations, Africa continues to be undermined and has no representation in the permanent category, which is the core decision making unit of the Council.
Guyana’s representative, speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), pointed out that the Council has excluded other regions from permanent membership as well, including Latin America and the Caribbean. Multilateralism and inclusiveness will only strengthen the work of the United Nations and its organs.
Member States also highlighted the role of the Assembly in helping to achieve progress in the intergovernmental negotiations on Council reform. India’s delegate, on behalf of the Group of Four (Brazil, Germany, Japan and his country), emphasized that discussions should operate under normal rules of procedure. He added that nay sayers cannot be allowed to cast a dark shadow and hold the overwhelming majority back.
Delegates expressed concern over a lack of consensus on certain critical issues, with Pakistan’s delegate pointing out that despite agreement on expanding the number of non permanent seats, questions remain concerning the expansion of permanent ones. If the Council cannot reconcile the interests of its five permanent members, how will it cope with the interests of a bigger membership? she asked.
Others questioned the Council’s working methods, with Cuba’s delegate spotlighting the organ’s growing tendency to assume functions outside its purview and usurping the role of other organs.
Some of the Council’s five permanent members also joined the debate, with China’s delegate expressing support to necessary reforms and to prioritizing an increase in the representation of developing countries, particularly African States. The only way to achieve reform is to pursue consensus based solutions, he added.
The representative of the United States said his country supports a modest expansion of the Council in permanent and non permanent categories. Consideration of new permanent membership must take into account the candidates’ ability contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. He also noted his delegation’s opposition to any change to the use of the veto.
The representative of the Russian Federation also defended the veto, highlighting that its use has more than once spared the United Nations from getting involved in dubious enterprises.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Kuwait (on behalf of the Arab Group), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of L.69 Group), Italy (on behalf of the Consensus Group), Iceland (on behalf of Nordic Countries), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Australia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, Maldives, Brazil, Singapore, Argentina, South Africa, Japan, Colombia, Qatar, Slovenia, Turkey, Slovakia, Ukraine, Sudan, Portugal, Indonesia, San Marino, Hungary, Egypt, Latvia, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, France, Malta, Morocco, Germany, Republic of Moldova, Kenya, Bhutan, Malaysia, Iran, Ireland, Spain, Estonia, Congo, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Mexico and Republic of Korea.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 21 November, to mark the commemoration of the abolition of slavery and the trans Atlantic slave trade and to discuss the impact of rapid technological change on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
MARA�A FERNANDA ESPINOSA GARCA�S (Ecuador), President of the General Assembly, said the issue of equitable representation and increased membership in the Security Council has been on the Assembly’s agenda for two decades, as she opened the debate on the matter. However, no consensus has been reached on how to reform the vital and crucial organ of the United Nations. She expressed gratitude to the co-facilitators of negotiations and said Member States are united in their conviction to reform the Council. At least 80 world leaders emphasized this need, she said, referring to discussions during the Assembly’s general debate. The Council must adapt to new political realities, with increased representation boosting its legitimacy and the implementation of its decisions while strengthening the concept of multilateralism.
She said that as Assembly President, she commits her full support to Council reform, a process that must be driven by Member States. We must seriously stick to a framework for dialogue, she noted, encouraging Member States to explore pragmatic approaches to advance progress. The issue is complex and closely intertwined with efforts to ensure international peace and security. As such, Member States must do everything possible to answer calls for greater transparency, she said, reiterating her support for the shared aspiration to increase the Council’s accountability.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said the United Nations is undergoing a sweeping reform process to better position itself to meet international challenges. Reform of the Council is a key pillar for overall organizational reform, he said, adding that the objective must be to position the Council to meet emerging challenges. Noting several relevant initiatives, he called for compromised solutions that enjoy broad support from Member States. Intergovernmental negotiations within the General Assembly are the only avenue to achieve Council reform, he said, underscoring a need for consistency regarding reform discussions.
He warned of the arbitrary use of the veto power, saying that it undermines the Council’s work and renders it unable to preserve international peace and security. The use of the veto reflects the pure political interests of permanent Council members, he said. The overall objective of reform must be to ensure that all geographic groups are fairly represented. As much of the Council’s work pertains to the Arab region, the Arab Group must be fairly represented to guarantee the organ’s credibility and legitimacy. He called for permanent Arab representation within the Council and for proportionate non permanent representation. Pointing at a need to improve the Council’s working methods, he called for the creation of permanent rules of procedure. We must reduce the number of closed door consultations, he said, calling for more open debates and briefings in the Council.
FRANCIS MUSTAPHA KAI-KAI (Sierra Leone), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the continent remains convinced that comprehensive reform of the Organization will significantly contribute to upholding the principles and ideals of the United Nations Charter. Most of the issues discussed in the Security Council are related to Africa. The continent must therefore be in a position to effectively participate in decision making processes. Africa demands no less than two permanent seats, including veto power, and five non permanent seats. Although Africa is opposed in principle to the veto, as long as it exists, it should be made available to all permanent Council members.
The common African position has garnered substantial support from Member States, he continued, reiterating a need to redress the historical injustice of not being represented in the permanent category. However, divergence in the positions of Member States and interest groups on reform models continue to challenge progress on building consensus on all five clusters of the intergovernmental negotiations. We have a unique opportunity to keep the international system on the track of dynamic and effective democratic multilateralism, he said. Africa will continue to advocate for meaningful reform that will make the Security Council more responsive to present and emerging challenges.
RUDOLPH MICHAEL TEN POW (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said continuing Security Council imbalances include the exclusion of entire regions, specifically Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, from permanent membership. This means that almost 50 per cent of the United Nations current membership is barred from permanency on one of its principal organs. The Council has failed to keep up with the membership evolution, he said, adding that its work continues to miss the benefit of important perspectives and experiences.
The Council must adapt to new political realities, he said, noting that the United Nations continues to affirm the value of multilateralism and equitable involvement in decision making. The Council must be restructured to provide opportunity for equitable involvement in peace and security questions, respecting the views of every Member State. Adding that every nation can contribute meaningfully to the dialogue on Council reform, he said maximum participation should be encouraged to enhance the legitimacy of the process.
NEDRA P. MIGUEL (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the L.69 Group, said today’s debate is particularly timely because the world is experiencing fissures in the fabric of the rules based multilateral order. Emphasizing a need to make the United Nations engaged and practical in handling the world’s most pressing challenges, she outlined several steps that the Organization could pursue. First, it is critical to make the Security Council truly representative by expanding its permanent and non permanent membership. The world must see that the United Nations and its Member States are serious about their commitments by moving from rhetoric to action.
Transparency is key in moving forward, she continued, calling on the Assembly President to convene another plenary meeting under this agenda item in the next resumed session. More discussions on the matter are needed. She also requested that the calendar of intergovernmental negotiation meetings be made available in advance. Member States must not be constrained in their planning. While progress on this agenda item has been slow, Member States have made several substantial gains. For instance, the common African position has received overwhelming support in the intergovernmental negotiations.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India), speaking on behalf of the Group of Four (Brazil, Germany, Japan and his country), called for the expansion of both the permanent and non permanent categories of membership to enhance the Council’s legitimacy and effectiveness. We also desire the improvement of its working methods, he said, emphasizing that this sentiment is shared by a broad majority of Member States. After a decade of discussions, it is time to normalize the intergovernmental negotiations process. We need not to reinvent the wheel this session, he continued, underlining a need to build on progress already made. The paper on elements of commonalities and issues for further consideration can be the starting point of an open and transparent way to achieve progress this session.
He welcomed more opportunity for dialogue and discussions, which should begin at an earlier time and should not be constrained by any artificial deadlines. Intergovernmental negotiations should operate under normal rules of procedure, as do all other General Assembly processes. Nay sayers cannot be allowed to cast a dark shadow over the entire membership and hold the overwhelming majority back. The Group of Four, while having a common position, are also respectful of different perspectives in this process. For negotiations to be meaningful, it is crucial to list the various aspects of different positions, which will be especially critical when working on a text for negotiations.
MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy), speaking on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group, said the intergovernmental negotiations have been open, inclusive and transparent. Discussions identified the following convergences among Member States: support for an increase in non permanent seats; expansion of seats favouring underrepresented regions; and limiting or abolishing veto power. Deliberations influence the Council’s current working methods, making it more transparent, open and informative. The General Assembly needs to address the request of Africa to correct its underrepresentation in the Council, she asserted, also calling for greater representation for Asia Pacific, Arab and Latin American States.
She said the Group proposes the creation of new long term non permanent seats, with the possibility of immediate re election and an increase to two year long terms for non permanent seats. Through these proposals, the Council would consist of 26 members, of which 21 would be non permanent, she said, adding that everyone benefits and gains greater access. Reform is needed to strengthen multilateralism, with this being achieved by creating a more representative Council. Small States must have a greater chance to contribute to finding solutions for the maintenance of peace and security, she said. The main roadblock to reforms remains a demand for an increase in permanent membership, she said, warning that these efforts will only benefit a small number of States. It is high time to offer real prospects to underrepresented groups of States and regions in the Council, she concluded.
BERGDIS ELLERTSDOTTIR (Iceland), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said that, given the multifaceted challenges faced today, the Security Council must become more transparent, effective, accountable and representative. Encouraged by progress on United Nations reform in this context, she expressed support for a balanced expansion of the Council with the aim of better reflecting current global political and economic realities and ensuring increased representation of developing counties, including permanent and non permanent seats for Africa. It is also important to enable small States to participate in the Council’s decision making process as elected members, she said. Calling for the commencement of text based negotiations to address Council reform, she said it will be the best way to harness the progress achieved so far in the intergovernmental negotiations process and to move the process forward.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said Council reform is at the heart of broader United Nations reform efforts. The Council must work to secure international peace and security and build peace. However, nowadays, the principles of sovereignty, equality and non interference are openly disregarded by the Council, he said, warning that the organ is rife with unilateralism and has effectively become the Insecurity Council. Reform of the Council must be grounded on the principles of international justice, impartiality and democracy and must ensure full representation of members of the Non Aligned Movement. After a decade of intergovernmental negotiations on the matter, severe divergence remains over expanding the number of permanent seats. As a result, the best avenue for success is to pursue an increase in non permanent seats. Pyongyang strongly opposes Japan’s pursuit of a permanent seat, as that country has committed war crimes.
TEGAN BRINK (Australia) said the international rules and institutions that support security and promote collective responses to global challenges are under strain. Sitting at the apex of the peace and security pillar of the United Nations, the Security Council must be as effective as possible. Nevertheless, substantive reform of the organ is well overdue. To reflect contemporary geopolitical realities, her Government supports greater representation from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Australia is also in favour of veto restraint in situations of mass atrocity, as well as improvements to the Council’s working methods. While she does not underestimate the complexity of the task, Member States deal with complex tasks every day. In that vein, her delegation is committed to efforts towards Council reform to make the organ more legitimate and effective.
ELMAHDI S. ELMAJERBI (Libya), associating himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, said negotiations must provide unprecedented reform to the Council’s work. The Charter of the United Nations aims to prevent crisis and war, he said, noting that those aspirations require all States to work together in good faith. He said new realities require a reconsideration of the Council � the organ tasked with maintaining international peace and security. Reform must be holistic and ensure equitable representation. He said a historic wrong is being done to Africa as it is underrepresented in an organ whose work consistently pertains to the continent. Libya hails the position to resume negotiations at the intergovernmental level, he said, urging increased efforts to reach a common understanding. He said the Council’s work is undemocratic and its permanent members prevent non permanent members from positively contributing to the organ’s work.
GEORG HELMUT ERNST SPARBER (Liechtenstein) said that the prolonged standstill in the intergovernmental negotiations process compounds an already sobering track record of the General Assembly to hold the Council accountable for its performance. The potential for conflict is rising and a strong and robust United Nations is needed more than ever before. Liechtenstein has suggested an enlargement model that could provide some middle ground in going forward: a new category of long term seats of 8 to 10 years, with the possibility of immediate re election. No new veto powers, flexibility to add new two year seats, a strong review clause and a flip flop clause, which bars Member States, which lost an election for long term seats to run for short term seats, are the other main elements of the proposal. Liechtenstein has worked with like minded States to help the Council achieve important results. Subscribing to the code of conduct to prevent and end atrocity crimes is the minimum commitment that should be expected from any Council member.
SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia), associating himself with the L.69 Group, said the Security Council, created in 1945, does not meet the political realities of the twenty first century. Over two decades of Council reform efforts have yielded little progress, with intergovernmental negotiations failing to produce concrete outcomes. We must commence text-based negotiations instead of convening unproductive circular discussions, he said. Mongolia maintains the need to expand permanent and non permanent membership in a way that reflects contemporary realities. The veto must be abolished, he asserted, while clarifying that if the power exists it must be extended to all new permanent members. Expansion efforts must attach importance to equitable geographic representation with a focus on underrepresented groups and regions. Turning to the non permanent category, he said a fair and equitable rotation system must be put in place.
ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) said that a reformed Council should have more permanent members to reflect current political and economic realities. It should also maintain equitable geographic distribution, as required explicitly by the Charter of the United Nations, and comprise developing countries, including small States. Meanwhile, such countries should not have to spend a fortune to become elected. Despite their constraints in resources, smaller States are expected to undertake expensive campaigns, and those who cannot afford to do so lose out. This is why only eight small island developing States have managed to secure a seat on the Council since the establishment of the United Nations. If given a chance to serve, smaller States could bring unique perspectives and fresh ideas to the table. Beyond traditional security issues, the Council must also address emerging threats such as climate change and sea level rise, he said.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) said that, a decade after its establishment, the intergovernmental negotiations have still not made sufficient progress. It should not be an endless debate of abstract concepts that lead to nowhere. Such an approach does not contribute to the interest of the majority of Member States and has the potential to endanger the legitimacy of the intergovernmental negotiations as a whole, he said before calling for the launch of text based negotiations. Expressing support for the three step strategy proposed by the Group of Four, he said there needs to be guaranteed continuity to the intergovernmental negotiations. The next session should begin with a debate on the document Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration, based on the outcome papers of previous sessions, as well as interventions from the floor. This will ensure that positions that have received overwhelming support from Member States are taken into account. Forthcoming meetings should start as early as possible and without an artificial deadline for the conclusion of the debate. They also must follow the normal rules of procedure, without obstruction from any State.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) reiterated his position that the Security Council must reflect and exemplify the diversity among Member States today, with greater geographical representation and inclusivity, including from Africa. Expanded membership must include permanent and non permanent categories, and small island developing States should not be excluded due to their size. Stating that paralysis due to political divisions or veto prevents the Council from acting in an efficient, effective and timely manner, he also called for more accountability and transparency, particularly in the sanctions committees. The subterranean world of sanctions is an area requiring greater clarity.
MARTA�N GARCA�A MORITA�N (Argentina), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said that the negotiating process must be guided by a spirit of multilateralism. Outcomes must be arrived at democratically. Argentina will continue to stand ready to propose innovative and coherent methods to make the Council more transparent and inclusive. He highlighted a need to focus on initiatives that garner consensus and general support. Argentina believes that all delegations must act in the same multilateral spirit. Only through this spirit will we be able to make progress after ten years of negotiations, he added. On the use of the veto, he recalled Argentina’s opposition to it since the founding of the United Nations. The sovereign equality of all States will only be honoured when the wider international community curtails the privilege given to only a handful of countries. The Security Council must work more openly and transparently, with its work held accountable by all Member States.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) observed that 53 years have passed since the first and only expansion of the Security Council, which led to an increase in only the number of non permanent members. Urging all Member States to exercise political will in reinvigorating negotiations to achieve Council reform, he said both the world and Council’s work have changed markedly over the past 73 years, with an ever increasing focus on Africa. It remains an anomaly that the over 1 billion people on this continent remain without permanent Council membership, which cannot continue to be justified. The Council’s current make up will continue to undermine its legitimacy, credibility and high standing should necessary and required reforms fail to be implemented. In addition, a stalemate in the Council on many key issues and a glaring failure to maintain international peace and security is largely attributed to its present configuration.
KORO BESSHO (Japan), associating himself with the Group of Four, said that the long overdue commencement of text based negotiations must begin immediately. This is a natural next step following the work of the past decade. Expressing concern that even after a decade of intergovernmental negotiations Member States still do not even have a text to negotiate on, he said such an absence impairs the ability of those States to move forward. More than 160 countries have expressed support for text based negotiations. Japan has long believed that the Council should be expanded in both permanent and non permanent categories. A text that clearly reflects the positions of all Member States will allow engagements in give and take discussions necessary to reach an agreement. The current intergovernmental negotiations process should be reviewed, he continued, adding that the current working methods give a de facto veto over the entire process to just a few countries.
GUILLERMO ROQUE FERNA�NDEZ DE SOTO VALDERRAMA (Colombia), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said Council reform directly addresses the organ’s legitimacy. Collective decision making processes related to Council reform must not focus on the concession of privileges to a fistful of members. As a result, new permanent seats with veto power will not positively benefit the Council’s work. Colombia will work to ensure genuinely democratic reform, he said, adding that the Group has always worked with other entities to reach consensus on reform matters. The veto is one of the key elements hindering discussions. The veto is a violation of foundational principles of the United Nations, namely the sovereign equality of States, he asserted. Regional rotation based on elections must be at the core of expanding the Council’s membership to ensure equitable geographic representation. While United Nations membership has expanded, that of the Council has remained the same and as a result is not inclusive.
RODNEY M. HUNTER (United States) said his country supports a modest expansion of the Council in the permanent and non permanent categories. Consideration of new permanent membership must consider candidates’ ability and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, he said, noting that the United States opposes any change to the veto. He affirmed his Government’s openness to any form of intergovernmental negotiations � whether text based or otherwise � as long as the format allows for broad consensus. The United States seeks an effective and efficient Council and only supports reforms that work towards that end. Reform efforts must advance the Council’s core mandate of addressing challenges to international peace and security. A modernized Council must not only be representative of the twenty first century, it must also be capable of responding to new challenges, he said, concluding that thoughtful expansion of the organ can help maintain its long term effectiveness.
MA ZHAOXU (China), recalling the candid negotiations in 2017 on Council reform, said a mutual understanding on priorities has been achieved. Council reform involves the vital interests of all Member States and the long term success of the United Nations. Beijing supports necessary reforms and prioritizes an increase in the representation of developing countries, namely African States. The only way to achieve reform is to implement relevant General Assembly resolutions and to pursue consensus based solutions. Attempts to set artificial timelines and arbitrarily launch text based negotiations will undermine unity and have a negative impact on the contributions of small States, he warned. Member States must pursue frank and in depth negotiations to better understand each other’s positions, he said, calling for intergovernmental negotiations to remain a State driven endeavour.
TALAL RASHID N. M. AL-KHALIFA (Qatar), associating himself with the Arab Group, said increasing international challenges in peace and security continue to compel Member States to propose reforms to improve the Council. Such reforms remain vital to the overall credibility of the United Nations. Ensuring success of the reform process requires Member States’ recognition of the interrelation between the clusters under discussion. Qatar will continue to support comprehensive reform that renders the Council more inclusive and effective. We must grant small and medium sized countries more opportunity, he said, adding that such an initiative should also go hand in hand with improving the Council’s working methods. Restricting the use of the veto has been proven to stop and reduce heinous crimes.
ANAYANSI RODRA�GUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba) said the five clusters on Council reform must be analysed in a comprehensive manner and not separately. Expressing concern over the Council’s growing tendency to consider issues and assume functions outside its purview while increasingly usurping the role assigned by the Charter to other organs, she said this trend must cease immediately. The Council has been frequently and prematurely addressing issues that do not necessarily pose an immediate threat to international peace and security. Closed Council meetings and informal consultations should be the exception and not the rule. To increase transparency and the level of accountability, a final text should be adopted to regulate the work of the Council. It is unbelievable that the Security Council rules remain provisional for 70 years, she added. The main objective of expanding the Council must be to rectify the underrepresentation of developing countries, namely from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan), associating herself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said the Assembly’s high level segment was characterized by calls for collective action. The United Nations must not only act on behalf of Member States, but it must also act for them, she said, adding that for the Organization to be credible it must represent and reflect the interests of all Member States. That must be the point of departure for Council reform efforts, she said, referring to the reform process as a true expression of our commitment to the fundamentals of multilateralism. She said consensus exists on the expansion of non permanent seats, while questions remain concerning the expansion of permanent ones. If the Council cannot reconcile the interests of its five permanent members, how will it cope with the interests of a bigger membership? she asked, noting that non permanent members have traditionally championed inclusiveness and transparency. She said membership expansion must focus on the non permanent category to ensure equitable geographic representation, especially for African States.
DARJA BAVDAZ KURET (Slovenia) said that the goal United Nations Member States set for themselves is to make the Security Council broadly representative, efficient and its work more transparent. The options and proposals have been debated and examined in depth and a couple of sessions have been spent every year on them, she said, declaring that the time has come to start the real negotiations. The world has changed significantly since the establishment of the United Nations, but almost none of these changes are reflected in the Council. Slovenia supports the proposal to expand both the permanent and non permanent membership, in particular an additional non permanent seat for the Eastern European Group, as well as the French Mexican initiative to restrict veto power in case of atrocity crimes.
ASSIA JAZAIRY (Algeria), associating himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, reiterated the continent’s common position that it should be represented in both categories of the Security Council. The veto should be extended to all new permanent members unless it is abolished. Despite having the largest number of Member States in the United Nations and being in three quarters of the agenda of the Security Council, Africa continues to be undermined. Africa has no representation in the permanent category, the core decision making unit of the Council. Africa demands its rightful place in the maintenance of peace in security. We cannot afford to remain indifferent to the realities of our rapidly changing global circumstances, he said.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOGLU (Turkey), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said the Council must be reformed in an urgent manner to reflect current realities. Reform efforts must be undertaken through consensus so as not to create a static body. The reform process is hampered by the insistence on an increase in the number of permanent seats, he said, adding that the veto power only serves the national interests of the States that hold it. The veto makes the Council dysfunctional, unaccountable and undemocratic and erodes trust in the United Nations. The Council will be more representative and responsive if reforms increase the number of elected seats and the possibility of all Member States to serve in the organ. The Council will be more accountable if the performance of members is subjected to periodic elections, he said.
ALEXEY R. BOGUSLAVSKIY (Russian Federation) said that while discussions have been ongoing, a universal decision is still not in sight. Approaches of major players in the reform field continue to be different or even diametrically opposed. The Russian Federation, as a permanent representative of the Council, agrees with the calls to make the Council more representative. However, efforts in this area should not have an impact on the Council’s ability to effectively and efficiently react to challenges. In this regard, the Russian Federation is in favour of maintaining the Council’s compact nature, he said, adding that the maximum membership should not exceed the low twenties. Turning to its working methods, he said that the use of the veto more than once has spared the United Nations from getting involved in dubious enterprises. The reform process should be owned by all Member States. Its outcome should enjoy maximum and broad support. Reforms in the Council cannot occur only through an arithmetical manner alone. Progress cannot be achieved by imposing negotiating texts. Progress will depend on the political will of Member States and their willingness to reach consensus. Such painstaking work can be carried out in a transparent and calm manner without arbitrary guidelines or artificial deadlines.
MICHAL MLYNA�R (Slovakia) emphasized a need to commit to multilateralism at a time when international peace and security is confronted by new and complex challenges. Reforming the Security Council would be an investment in the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core. Reform efforts must therefore be accelerated. Slovakia supports expanding permanent and non permanent Council membership, respecting geographical balance, with a total of no more than 25 Council members, including an additional non permanent seat for the Group of Eastern European States. More attention should go towards ensuring Africa is more widely represented, including in the permanent member category.
EDUARD FESKO (Ukraine) said that while Member States agree that the Council is in dire need of serious reform, consensus on the matter ends there. While the Council’s working methods have improved and its activities have become more transparent, the deficiencies in its design, composition and decision making processes remain largely unaddressed. In its current form, the Council is ill suited to effectively address twenty first century challenges. Yet, Member States are stuck in a perpetual cycle repeating well known positions on Council reform year after year, unable to make any tangible progress. While the United Nations procrastinates on Council reform, people are dying because the organ is simply incapable of helping them. Without genuine reform, the Council will also lose its relevance and standing in the wider international context. As the Assembly embarks on a new round of consultations through intergovernmental negotiations, his delegation is open to all progressive options and new approaches to Council reform, in particular those aimed at streamlining the negotiation process and making it more pragmatic and result oriented. More specifically, he called for an additional seat to be allocated to the Group of Eastern European States in the category of elected members, and expressed support for all initiatives aimed at limiting the veto right of permanent Council members.
MAGDI AHMED MOFADAL ELNOUR (Sudan), associating himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, said reform of the Council is an essential element of overall United Nations reform efforts. The credibility and image of the United Nations relies on efforts to make the Council more representative and capable of addressing emerging global challenges. He expressed concern over the slow pace of negotiations on the matter, adding that reforms must account for the organ’s membership and work methods. The Council’s work must meet the needs of developing States, he said, pointing to the injustice committed against Africa due to the continent’s lack of representation. He called for an increase in public Council meetings and said all United Nations entities must uphold their respective mandates. Sudan is concerned that the Council is stepping on the Assembly’s mandate. He further voiced concern over the increased use of sanctions within the Council and called for respect of the Charter of the United Nations.
NUNO VAULTIER MATHIAS (Portugal) said negotiations on Council reform must be inclusive, transparent and comprehensive and must lead to consensus based solutions. He said the number of permanent and non permanent seats must be expanded to reinforce the Council’s inclusiveness, while at the same time warning against the creation of new forms of membership. Council reform efforts must account for the organ’s working methods, he said, noting that his Government pursued such efforts while occupying a Council seat. The Council must live up to the high expectations we all have of its work and duly reflect the circumstances of today’s world, he asserted, adding that not reforming the organ ignores the geopolitics of the twenty first century. He said a reformed Council requires, at the very least, the presence of the African continent, Brazil and India.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said the Security Council has failed to uphold international humanitarian law, human rights law and the Charter of the United Nations principles on numerous occasions. He urged comprehensive reform of that organ to make it effective, accountable, democratic and equitably representative. While his delegation supports abolishing veto rights, he said it also welcomes steps that will regulate veto use, expressing support for initiatives on veto refrain in situations of massive crimes. Moreover, he called for at least four additional non permanent Council seats each for Asia and Africa as well as more seats for Latin America and the Caribbean. Better communication and coordination is also required, he observed, calling for intensive dialogues between the Council and countries hosting peacekeeping operations, which could determine the success of a mission.
DAMIANO BELEFFI (San Marino), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said credible Council reform requires a comprehensive, Member State driven approach. Intergovernmental negotiations have allowed for broad commonalities to emerge among States, he said, calling for increased efforts to reach a compromised solution and to create a more representative Council. The solution proposed by the Uniting for Consensus Group integrates principles of transparency and accountability through an enlarged Council. The proposal is comprehensive and takes into account the interests of all Member States, he said.
KATALIN ANNAMA�RIA BOGYAY (Hungary) said the United Nations reform process will be incomplete until its main executive organ, the Security Council, adapts to today’s challenges. Her delegation is a long time supporter of such reform, she said, calling for a reasonably ambitious but realistic agenda in that regard, with result oriented practical discussions in all five reform clusters. Hungary supports the enlargement of the Security Council in both permanent and non permanent categories. At the same time, her delegation is ready to examine all practical proposals aiming for interim solutions. Enlargement must be based on equitable geographical representation, she emphasized, calling for a second non permanent seat for the Eastern European Group. Moreover, enlargement will require an overhaul of the organ’s working methods. As such, more needs to be done in terms of the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly to achieve clearer and more detailed rules on coordination and cooperation.
MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt), associating himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, said that as the United Nations is undergoing several reforms to better position itself to meet emerging challenges, an essential aspect of these efforts must be Council reform. He asked how the Council could represent all Member States when it does not equitably reflect the makeup of the United Nations. The African Group, representing more than 25 per cent of all Member States, is underrepresented in the Council. Reaffirming Egypt’s support for the common African position on Council reform, he said there is increasing recognition within the Assembly to right the historic injustice against Africa and allow the continent to play its rightful role in the Council. African questions are the lion’s share of the Council’s work, he noted, adding that an increasing percentage of the organ’s work also pertains the Arab Group. The Council must account for the needs of developing States as well, he said, calling for an end to the hegemony of permanent members over the Council stemming from the use of the veto.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVICS (Latvia) said there has been a consistent call to make the Council more representative, effective and transparent to reflect current political realities. Reform is overdue, he said, adding that despite repeated calls for text based negotiations, the cycle of repeating well known positions continues. Results must be achieved through consensus and Latvia is ready to participate in negotiations to achieve long awaited Council reform. He called for all regions to be adequately represented in permanent and non permanent positions in the Council, including at least one additional non permanent seat for the Eastern European Group. Turning to the use of the veto, he said Council permanent members must refrain from exercising that power in situations of mass atrocity crimes. He voiced support for efforts aimed at improving the Council’s working methods to increase its transparency and inclusiveness. The United Nations capacity to address current global challenges largely depends on the political will to move forward with Security Council reform, he concluded.
RODRIGO A. CARAZO (Costa Rica) said reform must be based on consensus and the principles of democracy and inclusiveness. It is upon these principles that Costa Rica has been building its own initiatives and proposals. As such, his delegation welcomes a more equitable representation in the Council. Progress will move forward on this issue only through open and inclusive dialogue. All States should feel truly represented in the Security Council. As part of the Uniting for Consensus Group, Costa Rica will continue to seek agreements aimed at bolstering intergovernmental negotiations. The main objective should be to achieve a Security Council which is fully representative and effective.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) underscored the need for sustaining the momentum of discussions to identify elements of convergence among Member States regarding Council reform and called for the start of text based negotiations. It must be in the shared interest of all Member States to maintain the forward leaning thrust of these discussions. He said the text resulting from intergovernmental negotiations outlines the positions of myriad groups of States as a means to guide deliberations. Bangladesh supports the expansion of permanent and non permanent membership in the Council, he said, identifying 26 as the ideal number of members. He called for adequate representation for different regional blocs and voiced support for restraints on the use of the veto in cases related to grave crimes under international law. He concluded by urging upcoming United Nations reforms to be seen as a means to create momentum for Council reform.
ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said discussions on Council reform have been ongoing for years without deciding on concrete initiatives. What little progress has been made must not conceal the inability of Member States to reach consensus. Council reform is as urgent as ever before, she said, adding that it is up to the Assembly to shoulder its responsibilities and conduct negotiations. The Council must be more representative to maintain international peace and security. To make decisive progress, text based negotiations must begin as soon as possible. France wants the Council to account for the needs of new powers and supports the candidacy of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan as permanent members alongside the increased representation of African States in permanent and non permanent positions. Our response to crisis must not be hindered by divisions in the Council, she said, adding that permanent members must voluntarily suspend use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities. The difficulty of reform must not diminish its necessity, she concluded.
CARMELO INGUANEZ (Malta), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, said a new and enlarged Security Council would bring relevance to today’s global challenges and to the practice of multilateralism, especially when the international rules based order is under strong pressure and criticism. Multilateralism is weakened when the organ that represents the epitome of that notion is defective, he noted, saying that the United Nations of today does not reflect current realities. Improvement in multilateralism will not be achieved through an increase of the number of the haves, he warned, pointing out that his group presented a complete model which is egalitarian, comprehensive and rectifying in approach, and one that aims to counterbalance the weight of the permanent five members of the Security Council.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), associating himself with the Arab Group and the African Group, said reforming the Council should enable it to become more representative without compromising its effectiveness. The Council is designated by the United Nations Charter as the major organ entrusted with maintaining peace and security. Africa is the only region not represented as a permanent member in the Council. We must see to it that there is a permanent seat for Africa, he said, expressing support to the common African position. He also welcomed more Arab representation on the Council, pledging his full support for inclusiveness and discussions aimed at reforming the Council.
MATHIAS LICHARZ (Germany), associating himself with the Group of Four, said that intergovernmental negotiations appear to be less and less the right forum to achieve progress on this important issue. Member States cannot allow the majority of Member States who want to make progress to be held hostage by a small number of nations who refuse to move from a circular discussion to a linear negotiation process. If we do not succeed in reforming the Security Council, the Security Council will lose even more of its already dented credibility and will be overshadowed by other global decision making bodies or worse: unilateral decision making alone, he warned. If Member States do not change it, the Council will become irrelevant.
VICTOR MORARU (Republic of Moldova) stressed that the Council must better reflect today’s world, which means more representation for Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. However, Council reform must go beyond increasing the number of seats, leading to better effectiveness, accountability, inclusiveness and transparency. It should also ensure that the Council is bound to act in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, with its decisions reflecting the collective will of the general membership. The threat and use of the veto is one of the biggest obstacles to the Council’s effective performance, irrespective of its configuration. Reform should be seen as a way of minimizing the veto, rather than creating premises for its expansion, which could jeopardize the Council’s effectiveness. It must also lead to improvements in the Council’s working methods and gradual approval of its rules of procedure, so that they are no longer provisional.
LAZARUS OMBAI AMAYO (Kenya), associating himself with the African Group, said his continent’s goal is to be fully represented in all decision making organs of the United Nations, particularly the Council. As a result, Kenya calls for the expansion of the permanent and non permanent categories of the Council. He reaffirmed the position that the enlarged Council must be composed of no less than 26 members and Africa must retain the responsibility to select its candidate. The clusters of reforms considered during intergovernmental negotiations are mutually reinforcing and States must bring their positions closer to muster the political will to pursue reforms. The African common position on Council reform provides a solid basis for bridging divergent positions, he noted, recognizing that most Member States support the organ’s expansion. The time has come to respect the legitimate aspirations of the majority of Member States, he said.
KARMA SONAM TSHOSAR (Bhutan), associating himself with the L.69 Group, said during the high level segment of the current session, a majority of world leaders underscored a need to strengthen multilateralism. Reform and expansion of the Security Council are necessary for its continued legitimacy and accountability. Every institution must adapt to remain relevant. He expressed support for including unrepresented and underrepresented regions and expanding the Council’s permanent and non permanent membership. Small countries bring important perspectives that could be useful to the Council’s work. It is imperative to take the next step of commencing negotiations in good faith.
KENNEDY MAYONG ONON (Malaysia) said Council reform must address the organ’s working methods and the expansion of its membership to make it legitimate, representative and democratic. Malaysia supports the expansion of both categories of membership, he said, noting that an increase in non permanent members will increase the frequency with which Member States can serve in the organ. He called for the abolishment of the present form of the veto. He said that for the veto to be exercised, it should be done by at least two permanent members and supported by three non permanent members and then be followed by support of a simple majority in the Assembly. He said text based negotiations are the ideal step forward in deliberations and urged Member States to demonstrate openness and flexibility to find mutually acceptable solutions.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), noting that the complexity and sensitivity of Security Council reform should not justify a delay in the process, called for progress on matters such as the size and composition of the body, its accountability and veto power. The Council must become more democratic, representative and effective, he said, underscoring a need for developing countries to be more fairly represented. The Council’s failure to adequately improve its working methods has resulted in a trust deficit and the loss of legitimacy of its decisions, including with respect to the use of sanctions in cases where no action was necessary. As the Council acts on behalf of all Member States, it should therefore remain accountable to all States, he said. Certain decisions do not reflect the views of the United Nations general membership and in some cases do not even represent the genuine opinion of its own membership. According to the Charter, the Security Council should avoid consideration of issues that do not pose a threat to international peace and security or those related to internal matters of States, he pointed out, warning against the tendency to downgrade the Council to a tool in the tool box of a permanent member.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said the Security Council no longer represents the composition of the United Nations, adding that the unjust historic underrepresentation on the Council of countries from Africa is particularly egregious. Moreover, the voices of the most vulnerable must be heard, including small island developing States. Reform efforts should also make the Council more accountable, democratic and transparent, she said, noting that elected members must play a fully equal role on the body, including the responsibility for drafting Council products and shaping its decisions. The veto is a responsibility, not a right, which has been frequently misused, she observed, favouring its eventual abolition. Calling for an early move to text based negotiations, she said Ireland is willing to consider any model capable of commanding sufficient consensus. While creating new permanent seats has not been her delegation’s preferred model, Ireland would agree if such a proposal earns sufficient support.
FERNANDO VALENZUELA (Spain), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus Group, stressed the need to seek a coherent agreement with the aim of reforming the Council. Multilateralism is an important method for finding joint solutions to humanity’s common challenges. We need a more democratic, representative and transparent Council, prepared to take on global challenges of the twenty first century, he added. Spain’s position is both flexible and balanced, based on the belief that participating in the Council is not a privilege but an obligation. He urged Member States to come together to agree on how to make the Council fit for purpose.
GERT AUVA�A�RT (Estonia) expressed support for the code of conduct calling for all Council members not to vote against credible Council resolutions that are aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. His delegation also supports the French Mexican initiative on the use of the veto. Estonia believes that every country, big or small, should have the opportunity to be represented on the Council. A stronger voice of small nations, especially small island developing States, is vital. Estonia also empathizes with the African common position, which would increase representativeness and legitimacy of the United Nations as a whole and is the only way to rectify the historical injustice endured by the African continent, he said.
RAYMOND SERGE BALA� (Congo), associating himself with the African Group, said representation in the Council is not equitable and called for increased membership in the organ. Reform of the Council is within the purview of the Assembly, he said, highlighting decisions made to pursue informal consultations on the matter. He said intergovernmental negotiations on Council reform will soon turn 10 years old and have consumed the energy of a generation of diplomats. Negotiations have not offered positive results, he warned, urging efforts to make the Council more democratic and transparent. The world has changed, and we must face the reality of new geopolitical trends, he said. The United Nations must not be stuck in the past, he said, pointing to ongoing reform efforts aimed at making the United Nations more capable of responding to emerging challenges. The representation of Africa within the Council is a matter of fairness, he said, adding that the outcome document of the 2017 intergovernmental negotiations points to consensus regarding an increase in the Council’s membership. Congo supports the addition of two permanent and two non-permanent seats for African States.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said the appetite for reform of the Council is growing among Member States. The world has changed but the Council’s composition has not responded to that change, he noted, asserting that the principal organ for the maintenance of peace and security must represent the world it seeks to protect. The United Kingdom supports efforts to modernize the Council’s working practices and welcomes initiatives aimed at making the organ’s work more efficient, inclusive and transparent. He said Council reform must ensure that its effectiveness is not compromised, adding that too great an increase in size risks a cumbersome and slow decision making process. By the same token, the issue of the veto must not be allowed to slow down progress on expansion of the Council. The United Kingdom is proud not to have vetoed a resolution since 1989, he said, noting that the veto would only be used in exceptional circumstances. He called on Member States to work together in a flexible manner to find areas of convergence that can result in progress.
MODEST JONATHAN MERO (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group, voiced concern over the slow pace of the reform process and over his continent’s underrepresentation in the Council. He said African States, including his own, contribute to peacekeeping operations. Pointing to the African common position on Council reform, he demanded not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges, including the right of veto for African States. While the continent is opposed in principle to the veto, it believes that if the right exists it must be made available to all permanent members. He voiced concern that the document on Council reform which resulted from negotiations during the seventy second session of the General Assembly did not adequately reflect the African common position.
MARA�A ANTONIETA SOCORRO JA�QUEZ HUACUJA (Mexico), associating herself with the Uniting for Consensus group, said that the new intergovernmental negotiations session is vital and must not be limited to merely compiling proposals. Council reform must be guided by the common goals of democracy and inclusivity. Any change in the composition of the Council must reflect the current membership of the Organization. The Council must be more transparent and effective to all Member States. She also noted that the broad majority of States oppose the use of the veto. The relationship between the Council and Assembly must be conducted with transparency, impartiality and objectively. We must learn from the past mistakes of intergovernmental negotiations, she added.
CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Uniting for Consensus group, said that expanding the Council to a size bigger than the mid 20s will seriously affect its impact. Increasing non permanent seats favouring underrepresented regions of the world without expanding the veto best reflects the broad convergences among Member States. It will also help to achieve a reform of the Council that is anchored by the most viable formula that would enjoy the widest possible support. This proposal would add 11 more non permanent members, all of which would be democratically elected and held accountable periodically based on their contributions in the Council. This would ensure that the Council functions in a more effective and transparent manner with a minimum number of vetoes.
Source: United Nation