On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this first meeti ng of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform of the 70th General Assembly. We believe that thematic debates like the one we are having today on the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly can be instrumental in building new convergences among Member States and reinvigorating the IGN process.
The UfC is committed to finding a solution that can garner the widest political support, the ultimate goal of this process. To this end, we are ready to engage in a constructive dialogue, consistent with the widely-shared principles of a more representative, democratic, transparent, accountable and effective Security Council.
The UfC fully supports your advocacy of a comprehensive approach to the reform process based on the inter-linkages among the five key clusters set out in General Assembly Decision 62/557. We are strongly convinced that the principles underpinning proposals on any one cluster – such as the relationship between the General Assembly and the Council, which rests on the principles of accountability and transparency – must be applied consistently to the other four key issues.
Accountability and transparency are enshrined in the UN Charter, and a truly democratic reform can only be achieved through adherence to them. For example, the requirements that the Security Council report to the General Assembly on a regular basis, and that “special reports” be issued on specific occasions, are aimed at making the Council more accountable to the General Assembly and more transparent about its activities.
The UfC envisages a number of practical measures to encourage more interactions between the Council and the general membership, which include:
– More analytical contents in the Security Council’s Annual Report, to be presented during a special session of the General Assembly;
– Increased transparency in the work of the subsidiary bodies, also by improving the quality, frequency and availability of their formal and informal reports and summary records;
– Frequent, timely and more informative briefings for non-Council members on matters discussed in Security Council informal consultations and in its subsidiary bodies;
– More Security Council meetings held in an open format while reducing to a minimum closed meetings and informal consultations, making them the exception – as they were meant to be – rather than the rule;
– Prompt delivery to non-Council members of draft resolutions and presidential statements, as well as other Security Council documents (such as Elements to the Press and Notes by the President);
– A mechanism to ensure that the views and interests of Member States – including Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries and host Countries – affected or concerned by any matter on the agenda are heard and taken into account in the work of the Council.
We share the view that closer attention should be paid to broader security issues that are a matter of concern to most of the membership. We should thus ask ourselves which issues could be included in the Council’s works without encroaching on the General Assembly’s prerogatives.
We believe that the two main organs of the United Nations can be effective facilitators of each other’s decision-making prerogatives. In this regard, the upcoming election of the Secretary General represents a concrete opportunity to enhance the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, and to foster a more transparent, inclusive and democratic selection process.
This relationship can be both complementary and mutually-reinforcing, without prejudice to the fact that the General Assembly is the only UN body with universal representation. In this framework, allow me to stress that it’s essential to have a Council accountable to the wider membership, and that a basic prerequisite for enhancing accountability in an enlarged Council is the periodic election of all new Council members by the General Assembly.
We should also discuss how the Security Council can make better use of all available UN resources, including stronger cooperation with the General Assembly. We could work on measures that establish permanent mechanisms for consultation and information exchange. This also applies to other UN organs, such as the Peacebuilding Commission, where such a mechanism would enhance the Council’s capacity in the field of conflict prevention.
The UfC welcomes your call for a constructive, substantive commitment to finding a compromise among Member States. A true compromise can be achieved through flexibility on substantive matters and a genuine commitment to reform the Council in a manner that takes into account the interests of all Member States.
Our debate needs to be centered on how the Security Council can improve its work and its delivery. An undue focus on numbers would only forestall our shared goal of achieving a more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective Council.
Building on these principles, Madam Chair, the UfC stands ready to cooperate with the rest of the membership in a constructive manner on ideas that can lead us towards a consensual and comprehensive reform of the Security Council.