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General Assembly – Informal Meeting on the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council”

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Ambassador Mariangela Zappia at the Informal meeting of the General Assembly “On the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council” —

Distinguished Madam Co-Chairs,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus group, I wish to thank you for convening this first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform. We welcome your appointment and commend your commitment to this important and sensitive role. The UfC group looks forward to cooperating with you on advancing the reform process.
President of the General Assembly, thank you for your presence today and also thank you for your important remarks.

Co-Chairs, last week the Secretary General again underscored that “multilateral institutions are needed more than ever and must be tuned to the challenges of the 21st century”. Those words should guide us in this very important special year for the United Nations: Member States should celebrate the 75th anniversary with a renewed commitment to multilateralism and to the core principles upon which the United Nations was founded: democracy and “equal rights for Nations large and small”, inclusivity.

On this special anniversary, we should double our effort to strengthen the multilateral system, by reaffirming those same principles.
Reforming the Security Council must be a fundamental part of this process. However, the Security Council reform is not an end in itself. The reform must be comprehensive and produce a better council than we have now. This is why we ask for a democratic, accountable, transparent, representative and efficient Council.

These guiding principles should inspire a reform leading to a new Security Council that will enjoy greater legitimacy and authority, a Council that can take timely decisions in support of international peace and security.

A Security Council that genuinely reflects the collective aspirations of all the Members of the United Nations.
To achieve this goal, we need to build more trust. Indeed, we firmly believe that no reform proposal will inspire sufficient trust unless it is based on the ‘widest political acceptance’. This is simply a matter of adhering to the spirit of universality upon which the United Nations was founded 75 years ago.

The question is: how shall we proceed? The UfC group agrees with the assessment of the PGA and reiterates that the IGN – as established by Decision 62/557 of the General Assembly – remains the legitimate and appropriate setting for the negotiations. Only through a Member State-driven process will we be able to jointly define a consensual path to a fruitful reform that is good for all and not only for a few.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

The United for Consensus group is ready to cooperate actively with the whole membership on a consensual path towards reform. For us, the search for consensus is indeed paramount. We believe that the only way forward, toward which we are committed more than ever, is to engage constructively with a true spirit of cooperation. Thus, we are open and ready to discuss with any group and any Member in order to bridge positions and to expand the areas of convergence amongst us all.

In our view, altogether, we have to:

• properly address the request of Africa to correct the historical injustice against African countries and the Continent’s under-representation in the Council;
• consider the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific, Eastern European and Latin American regions and grant them a more equitable representation;
• 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;
• address the Arab group’s request for a more proportionate representation in an enlarged Council;

The current IGN format based on the five clusters has helped us achieve important progress, which is reflected in the Co-Chairs’ document and must be safeguarded.
We suggest in-depth discussion on the connections between all five clusters and, in this regard, in particular on the following issues:

– implications of categories of membership for an inclusive and accountable Security Council;
– implications of regional representation for a democratic and legitimate Security Council;
– implications of the question of the veto for an efficient Security Council;

Over the years, UFC has updated its proposal in order to better address the legitimate interests of all. We appeal to all other Groups and Member States to show the same openness and flexibility.

We continue to hear requests for text-based negotiations. Would that really be a way forward? We beg to disagree. Let me be very clear: our group is not a priori opposed to negotiating on a text. Quite simply we are convinced that unless we first agree on principles, to start text-based negotiations now would mean derailing the entire process.

Some groups believe that the Intergovernmental Negotiation is taking too long. Reforming the Security Council requires patience and perseverance, since hasty decisions would be detrimental to all. Indeed, it would be devastating to throw away what we have built in the last few years. And it would be a failure for all Member States, especially were it to happen in 2020, the year of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations: a moment to confirm our commitment to enhancing this institution.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

I wish to reiterate that no matter which reform we will be able to reach, it must enjoy the backing of the overwhelming majority of the Member States. Simply because otherwise, we will compromise the effectiveness of the reformed Council by depriving it of the legitimacy, credibility and authority it requires.

We must never forget the immense commitment we, all Member States of the UN, make in conferring the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security on the Security Council. We do so in accepting, as art. 24 of the Charter stipulates, that “in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the UNSC acts on their behalf”. If Security Council members act on our behalf, they must be accountable to us.

If we can all agree that our common reform project should be forward-looking, we should not look back on the logic of the past.

The world of today is not the same as it was 75 years ago, and it will not be the same in 20 years from now. If we can all agree on that, then why continue advocating for exclusivity instead of inclusivity? Do we really want to foment the current stalemate afflicting the Security Council?

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

The Uniting for Consensus Group is ready to cooperate with you, the PGA and the entire membership to advance this process. We do so in good faith and in mutual respect, true to the need for confidence-building among all the stakeholders. In keeping with Decision 62/557, we shall continue to work for a comprehensive reform capable of gathering the widest consensus and guided by our firm conviction that a truly democratic Security Council reform is both possible and necessary.

Thank you.