On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I first wish to thank you for convening this preliminary meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform. We appreciate your initiative to listen to the views of Member States on how to structure our work, in a way that enables the entire membership to move the process forward. We appreciate your call for flexibility and also for informality. This is what we have repeatedly called for during the past year. Mr. Chair, substance is an integral part of this process, so our statement will talk also about substance.
The President of the General Assembly has repeatedly urged a new dynamic, most recently at the Assembly of the African Union. On that occasion, President Kutesa has also referred to the undemocratic nature of the current council. The UfC is ready to address what it understands to be a challenge for the membership. Our proposal stems from a truly democratic vision of the Security Council, in keeping with the principle of “comprehensive reform” as established by decision 62/557.
This important question cannot be reduced to a mere distribution of seats and membership classifications. Our first concern must be to make the Security Council more functional. The UfC believes that the main outcome of a truly democratic reform should be a more accountable and therefore a more effective Security Council. Its effectiveness would be guaranteed by periodic reviews of the contributions made by its Members to the maintenance of international peace and security. Merit and efficiency should be the bedrock of the new Security Council.
A more democratic Security Council would also be more transparent. The increase in open debates and greater interaction with the General Assembly and organs such as the Peace Building Commission are just two of the measures supported by a large portion of the membership. The goal is to also improve the Security Council’s working methods and, ultimately, make it more inclusive.
We are convinced that accountability and inclusiveness would make the Security Council work better. This is why the UfC cannot accept a reform that would increase the exclusive nature of the Security Council by further limiting access to the Council and the sharing of its work. Democratic principles should always inspire our overall approach.
Does anyone really think that the membership is ready to recognize the legitimacy of new Council members without requiring periodic accountability? If that were true, then we would not have been arguing – for more than twenty years – about a reform that we all, without exception, have been clamoring for. A true reform, a reform that responds to the aspirations of the Member States and its peoples, can only be achieved through flexibility and a genuine spirit of compromise. This is a prerequisite of actual negotiations. True to the principles of accountability, inclusiveness and effectiveness, UfC has proposed a model of reform that would foster, democratically, a greater participation of Member States through rotation.
The path towards the reform should also follow this participatory approach. The UfC has already shown openness to text-based negotiations, provided that all proposals are given equal consideration. UfC’s support for Rev2 stems, from the need to acknowledge the full legitimacy of the only text that has, to date, gathered the consensus of the entire membership, because it places on an equal footing all the negotiating positions.
At the same time, we look forward to hearing your ideas and of the other Member States, Mr. Chairman, on the next steps that should be taken. And whatever formula you and Member States may choose, we expect the process to remain membership-driven without predefined outcomes or deadlines. Member States’ ownership of the process is crucial to any advancement. We cannot afford initiatives whose sole outcome would be to further impede progress.
Concrete negotiations can only start when there is real political will for compromise. Italy and its UfC partners have persistently shown such a will. We are ready to engage in a fruitful new round of Intergovernmental Negotiations and in any informal gathering that may help advance the process. The leadership of the President of the General Assembly and your own patient work as Facilitator will be vital to encouraging other Groups to take a step forward.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.