Statement delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group, at the Intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council (8 February 2022). —
The Uniting for Consensus (UfC) Group welcomes this first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform for the 76th Session of the General Assembly.
We are glad that the recent easing of the health restrictions allows us to hold this meeting in person and with the assistance of our experts, which is helpful due to the interactive nature of this exercise.
UfC looks forward to cooperating with you and interacting with the whole membership on advancing a reform process that, as underlined by the President of the General Assembly, is credible, transparent and inclusive.
UfC remains committed to moving the process forward with a view to reaching a solution that can garner consensus and enjoy the widest possible support. To this end, we are ready to engage in a constructive dialogue, consistent with the widely-shared objective of a more representative, democratic, transparent, accountable and effective Security Council. Through the reform, we also aim at increasing the Council’s legitimacy and autority in the eyes of the international community and the global public opinion.
We trust that, drawing from the experience of the complicated adoption of the rollover decision in June of last year, all delegations are mindful of the importance of maintaining a constructive spirit in the course of this IGN session.
In your letter of December 27th, you invited us to reflect and share our views on the IGN process and on what steps could be taken to give it a “renewed momentum”.
In the view of the UfC, focusing our attention on process and procedure might not result in any added value. On the contrary, it has already proved to be confrontational and, often, counter-productive.
Renewing the momentum for a Security Council reform should imply, first and foremost, engaging in an open-minded discussion on substantive proposals for an improved Council and avoiding time-consuming exchanges on procedural issues.
However, our position on these aspects is well known and clear: the IGN remains the only credible platform for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council and we believe it is crucial to maintain its consolidated format, so as to preserve its distinctive informality and interactivity.
The format of the IGN was decided upon precisely with the scope of moving the negotiations out of the impasse occurred within the Open Ended Working Group. The lesson learnt is that the obstacles to the reform are not attributable to the current setting, but rather to persistent divergences on key principled elements.
It is also important to reaffirm the integrity of the IGN as a Member-States driven process and to keep in mind that a credible and viable reform of the Council requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, addressing all the five key issues, as outlined in Decision 62/557. Any piecemeal approach, which does not take into due consideration the inter-linkages between the issues at stake, would not succeed. For this reason, the UfC considers more prudent that the Co-Chairs update their document only close to the very end of the IGN Session, so that views expressed by delegations during the negotiations on all the clusters can be reflected.
As to the modalities of the meetings, it is key to preserve the informal and interactive character of the IGN, which has demonstrated its effectiveness to foster dialogue and understanding, which are essential to take the process forward.
UfC has always been keen to illustrate its views and positions in a detailed manner, also by distributing a written outline of its proposal, and remains eager to reach out to any group or individual State to provide further elements to increase mutual understanding. If this approach were unanimously followed, the negotiating scenario would be clearer to all.
At the same time, we deem it essential that the IGN process can count, from the beginning of each annual session, on a programme and calendar provided by the Co-Chair’s. Each Group and each Member State needs to know beforehand the length and pace of the process in order to effectively organize its work. Predictability is a key ingredient to foster wider engagement by Member States. In this regard, the UfC considers that 5 full meetings should be sufficient to continue discussing the clusters and their interlinkages and allow for a timely, smooth and consensual roll-over decision.
You have also asked us to illustrate our position on the cluster of “Regional Representation” and reflect on the interlinkages with other clusters.
First of all, the UfC would like to clarify our view on concepts such as “equitable geographical distribution” and “regional representation”:
– “Equitable geographical distribution”, as reflected under Article 23 of the UN Charter, means that the composition of the Council must equitably reflect the different geographical groups within the UN membership;
– “Regional representation”, on the other hand, refers to one or more Member States representing the interests and positions of others, such as a regional group.
In this respect, it is important to note that the Charter (article 23) refers to elections and geographical distribution as characteristics of “equitable representation” only with regard to non-permanent members, whereas it makes no reference to regional or equitable representation in its definition of permanent members.
Both these concepts, though distinct, could pursue the same goal of Security Council representativeness. In a way, therefore, they are mutually reinforcing.
UfC is committed to strenghtening and enhancing both regional representation and equitable geographical distribution in order to pursue the goal of a better represented Council. This can only be achieved by increasing the number of elected members. In the UfC compromise proposal:
– Africa would become the largest group in the reformed Council (it would have 100% more seats than it has at present);
– Asia-Pacific would have the highest percentage increase (150%);
– Latin America and Eastern Europe would also double their representation;
– SIDS and Small States would be assigned a rotating two-year non-permanent seat, that would ensure their continued presence in the Council.
This formula would also allow for an increased and more stable representation for cross-regional groupings: that is, if more seats are made available to regional groups, it will become easier and more feasible to ensure representation for cross-regional groups, such as the Arab Countries. In our view, this is the only way to help heal historical injustices, at the same time benefiting us all, by making the reformed Security Council truly fit for purpose.
As to the question of regional representation, in UfC’s view, this necessarily results from two factors: first, all regions must be represented in a more equitable manner; and second, Council members must be more accountable to the UN membership as a whole. The only way to achieve this, is through periodical elections and a greater democratization of the Security Council. The possibility of reelection increases the accountability, especially of longer-term Members, as at the end of their mandate their activity as members of the Council would be assessed by the membership as a whole and by the respective regional groups in order to consider their re-elections.
Distinguished Co-Chairs, dear colleagues,
We look forward to articulating our views further during the interactiver session. At the same time, we will listen attentively to the views of the other Groups and Member States.
Let me conclude by renewing UFC’s willingness to engage in this new session of the IGN in a constructive and committed manner, in accordance with your inputs and guidance.
I thank you.