On behalf of the “Uniting for Consensus” (UfC) group, I join the previous speakers in thanking you for convening this fifth informal meeting of the 10th round of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.
A central goal of a comprehensive reform of the Security Council is enhanced accountability of the organ towards the entire membership. As we stated in our previous meetings, the basic pre-requisite for enhancing its accountability is assuring the periodic election of all new Council members by the General Assembly.
Only a reform centered on elections of its members will enable to increase equitable and democratic representation. Standing for elections is the only way to assure that a Member State will carry out its duties in an “accountable” way, in line with the expectations of the General Assembly. For the same reasons, elections are a fundamental guarantee of accountability and legitimacy in our societies. Why should another standards be applied to the reform of such a fundamental institution of the United Nations?
Once this important precondition has been met, a number of practical measures could be envisaged to strengthen the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, in a reform that includes the vast range of ideas flagged in previous sessions.
Specific guidelines are already envisaged in the UN Charter: for example, the requirement that the Council reports on a regular basis to the Assembly, and through “special reports” on specific occasions, as stated in Paragraph 1 of Article 15, and Paragraph 3 of Article 24. These measures bring into the realm of international relations a “checks and balances” model, as those enshrined in many constitutions and systems of government worldwide. The main objective of such procedures is to make executive bodies accountable to the Assemblies that elect them. Accountability is therefore enshrined in the Charter, and should be fully implemented.
The Security Council should not only be more accountable to the General Assembly. A reform should also strengthen the relationship between the Security Council and the other principal organs, through measures that institutionalize consultations and exchange of information. This would intensify and increase the occasions in which the Council interacts with, and responds to Member States.
The General Assembly’s prerogatives in the Council’s decision-making mechanisms should also be enhanced, particularly in relation to the use of the veto. At our March 19th informal IGN meeting, broad convergence emerged in support of possible measures aimed at self-refraining or limiting the use of the veto power. UfC and others proposed, for example, a scenario in which the General Assembly would have to be provided with an appropriate explanation, justifying the use of the veto. Other statements, even flagged the idea of involving directly the General Assembly, granting it the power to over-ride a veto by a two-thirds majority vote.
Many proposals have been tabled to improve the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, and we are certain that still others will emerge during today’s discussion. UfC is ready to discuss all different points of view. We are confident that, like at the informal meeting of April 11th, we can find important areas of convergence, as a useful base for a fruitful continuation of the negotiations.
We believe that this is the direction for an improved interaction between the Security Council and the General Assembly, in the framework of a comprehensive reform that will bring a benefit to the entire membership, particularly the many small States that have a lower access to the Council.
At the end of the 10th round of the IGN sessions, it is unmistakably clear that all Member States, Regional Groups, other categories of States, all share the vital interest in reaching an agreement on the reform of the Security Council. A comprehensive, equitable reform, and reflective of the pluralism of contemporary reality, is a common and collective objective.
The Inter-Governmental Negotiations offer us all this unique opportunity: to move away from the divisiveness of the past and work together in good faith, in order to identify a negotiated solution that takes into proper account the interests and positions of all, and that promotes the supreme objectives of the United Nations.
During the previous meetings several colleagues -including some Permanent Members of the Council- either preferring different solutions or not favoring any particular model of reform, all recognized the need to work towards alternative and compromise solutions.
UfC has long been asking for just this, in the conviction that only negotiating with a true spirit of flexibility and compromise will allow us to reach an agreement on a package solution for a comprehensive reform that can reasonably meet the expectations of the whole membership.
But compromise cannot be achieved by imposing the voice of a section of membership over the voice of other sections of membership. Compromise is, by definition, a middle ground between those, like UfC, who were initially in favor of a model of reform that envisaged solely the enlargement of the Council to biennial non-permanent seats and those, instead, who aspire to new permanent seats. The solution is clear: to create new longer-term seats, with greater than two-year terms, and with the possibility of immediate re-election. It is the only formula that allows us to respond reasonably to the legitimate aspirations of all.
I wish to conclude my statement by appealing, once again, to the great sense of balance you have demonstrated throughout this round of the negotiations, and by asking you to carefully consider the consequences of using the non-paper as a basis for the negotiations or to produce a summary of the just-concluded negotiating sessions. Such a move would undermine the positive atmosphere we have developed in the past two months of negotiations. And it would not advance the IGN process.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.