Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, on behalf of the Uniting for consensus group in occasion of the General Assembly meeting on the Security Council reform.—
On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this annual debate on the Security Council reform. And commend you on your commitment to a reform process that is credible, transparent and inclusive.
Building on these same principles, the UfC group looks forward to cooperating with the new co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh and Christian Brown. We warmly welcome them in their new capacity and wish to express our full support for them in the upcoming IGN session.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. By decision 62/557, adopted on 15 September 2008, the General Assembly agreed to start intergovernmental negotiations, “in good faith, with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner”. Over the years, the IGN has met these expectations. There has always been transparency and inclusivity and the discussions have allowed us to identify broad convergences among Member States, such as:
(1) An increase in non-permanent seats is supported by all Member States, and is common ground for advancing Security Council reform;
(2) All Member States agree that such an expansion of seats should favor under-represented regions of the world; and
(3) A significant, growing number of Member States oppose expanding the veto to other States and support, instead, limiting or abolishing it.
Our deliberations already have an impact on the current working methods of the Security Council: more transparency, open-format meetings, informative briefings, and better access to information have already improved the Council’s performance.
But our work is far from complete. We need to do more to achieve the broadest possible consensus on a comprehensive reform of the Security Council.
In the past years, the UfC group has complemented our participation in IGN meetings through a series of informal consultations with other negotiating groups. The purpose of these consultations is to explore and identify common ground, in parallel to the IGN’s efforts to reduce divergences among Member States. One of the most recurrent concerns we have heard is: “How many more chances will we have to serve in an enlarged Security Council?” Looking ahead, we believe that this concrete question should be at the center of our debates.
The General Assembly needs to properly address the request of Africa to correct its under-representation in the Council.
The General Assembly has to consider the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions and grant them a more equitable representation.
Arab countries are asking for a more proportionate and more stable representation than the “swinging seat” they currently have.
We should listen to the call of over 60 countries – mainly Small States and Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS) – that have never had the opportunity to serve in the Council, and will very rarely do so without a proper reform, as well as the appeal of the 23 Eastern European countries who wish to obtain one more seat, thus increasing their chances of serving in the Council.
In calling attention to these appeals, and in a true spirit of flexibility, the UfC group has put on the table the most detailed and comprehensive proposal, trying to take into consideration the demands of all negotiating groups. This proposal is the result of many adjustments made over the years in response to feedback from the different rounds of negotiations.
Our proposal is to create new longer-term non-permanent seats, with the possibility of immediate re-election, and to increase the two year-term non-permanent seats, coupled with a more equitable distribution of seats among regional groups. The longer-term seats would fulfill the legitimate desire of some Member States to make a greater contribution to the work of the Council, and at the same time foster a fairer system of rotation.
The Security Council would consist then of twenty-six members, twenty-one of which non-permanent assigned as follows:
– 6 seats to the African group, 3 of which with a longer term;
– 5 seats to the Asia-Pacific group, 3 of which with a longer term;
– 4 seats to the Latin America and Caribbean group, 2 of which with a longer term;
– 3 seats to the Western European and Others group, 1 of which with a longer term;
– 2 seats to the Eastern European group; and
– 1 seat reserved to Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States. This rotating seat would not prevent them from running within their regional group, but would – instead – be an additional way for them to gain access to the Security Council. Attached to this statement are copies of the breakdown of our regional representation proposal and a comparison between the present Security Council and the one we envisage.
Everyone benefits and everyone gains greater access to the Council under UfC’s compromise proposal. No one loses out and the Council’s ability to take decisions remains undiminished.
Multilateralism has been debated in various fora recently. There is a widespread consensus that Security Council reform is needed to strengthen multilateralism. But to foster the trust of the public opinion in this institution, the Security Council needs to become truly representative, accountable, democratic, transparent and effective. Not to enlarge the small circle of permanent members, but to give all member States, even the smallest ones, a greater chance to contribute to finding solutions for the maintenance of peace and security. Concerning the veto, we fail to see how the addition of new vetoes could make a new Council more effective and more responsive to international crises.
For many years now, UfC has pointed to the main roadblock to reform: namely, the demand for an increase in the number of permanent members. After 25 years of focusing only on demands for new permanent seats, which would benefit only a handful of Member States, it is high time to give a concrete chance to all Member States. It is high time to offer real prospects to the groups of States and regions of the world that are under-represented in the Council.
To move this process forward, the UfC group is ready to cooperate with you, Madam President, the new co-Chairs and the whole membership. Our common goal must be to increase the Council’s legitimacy in the eyes of both the general membership and international public opinion. This would enhance the Council’s authority and, ultimately, its effectiveness. We are ready to redouble our efforts to achieve a reform, building on the many convergences that exist among Member States.
Thank you, Madam President.