Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, alla Riunione Informale dell’Assemblea Generale sulle Negoziazioni Intergovernative per la Questione dell’Equa Rappresentanza e dell’Aumento dei Membri del Consiglio di Sicurezza —
Thank you for convening this first IGN meeting, and for your commitment to advancing the Security Council reform process. We were glad to see your positive assessment of the first round of informal consultations in your January 9 letter. The constructive spirit shared by the many delegations, which you mentioned in your letter, will be crucial in addressing the persistence of such very different approaches to Security Council reform.
In past IGN sessions, the UfC group has repeatedly stressed the need to build on broad convergences among Member States, and to achieve progress through flexibility and a spirit of compromise. This is the consensual path – pursued by last year’s IGN Chair – that we consider fundamental to achieving concrete results.
During this IGN session, we should continue along the same path and have a discussion of the inter-linkages and the underlying principles of the areas of convergence identified in Ambassador Lucas’s “elements paper.” A focus on the key principles, in particular, would benefit the whole process and lay the groundwork for a true convergence among Member States also on the remaining reform clusters.
The membership has stated support for the principles of a more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective Council, but do we have the same understanding of these principles? Are we in agreement on how to achieve them? The UfC group is firmly convinced that the cornerstone of these principles – the key to implementing them – is periodic elections and rotation.
Elections by definition make the Council more representative, accountable and democratic. The one-time election of a new permanent member would not fulfill these principles. On the contrary, it would undermine both accountability and democratic representation, which can only be guaranteed through periodic elections.
Elections are imperative to ensuring a Council that is accountable and accessible, with fixed terms and rotation, guaranteeing maximum and equal opportunity for representation. We want a Council in which membership is earned as a responsibility and not granted as a permanent privilege to individual countries in fulfillment of their national aspirations.
Elections make the Council flexible and adaptable – and thus more effective – to the constant upheavals in the world’s political and economic landscape. At the time when attempts are being made to limit the use of the veto and to counter blockage of Council action – such as the French-Mexican initiative and the ACT Code of Conduct in cases of mass atrocities – how could anyone think that new permanent members, and new veto holders, would render the Council more effective? On the contrary, the Council’s decision-making and its legitimacy will benefit by strengthening the voice of elected members in the Council.
Elections would also increase the transparency of the Council through a periodic assessment of how elected members have discharged their duties. We feel that Member States should have the right to cast such a vote. For small and developing countries in particular, elections are the primary tool to make their voices heard and set their contributions on an equal footing with equal dignity. Today the UfC reiterates its appeal to these same Countries, and to the wider UN membership, to protect the most important prerogative of UN Members States: their right to vote, their freedom to choose.
Our goal during this IGN session should be to further reduce the gaps separating negotiating groups on the reform principles. If we can agree on the fundamental role of elections across Security Council reform, this session could become a landmark step in the reform process.
On this basis, UfC would be willing to take under consideration any idea that shows true flexibility and a spirit of compromise. This is one reason why in the past few weeks we have had a series of informal meetings with other negotiating groups to explore possible common ground. This is a path we will continue to follow.
The reform models that our group has formally proposed or informally suggested over the years reflect such need for flexibility and constructiveness, including our embrace of the compromise approach based on longer-term seats. At the same time, we will continue to actively promote what we believe are the core principles for achieving a modern new Security Council.
In fulfillment of your mandate, we urge you to facilitate a common definition of the principles that should inspire Security Council reform across the negotiating groups. There is no doubt that once a consensus on these principles has been reached, the next stages of the reform process – including the drafting of a negotiating text – would be more fluid.
There are no procedural shortcuts for achieving Security Council reform. This is one of the main lessons learned over these years of collective work: non-consensual approaches have proved counter-productive.
This is why we need the co-Chairs to offer crucial input, by setting a clear agenda of work, in full transparency and with full predictability. In view of this morning announcement that tomorrow’s meeting will be dedicated to a session for questions and comments, we have to reiterate that each Member State, regardless of the negotiating group to which it belongs, needs to have timely information and a clear vision of the destination point of the IGN session. This is how each of us can feel confident in contributing to this membership-driven process. Transparency and predictability are also key ingredients to foster wider engagement among Member States.
The Uniting for Consensus Group stands ready to cooperate with you and the entire membership to advance this process, in good faith and in mutual respect, true to the need for confidence-building among all the stakeholders in this process. In keeping with Decision 62/557, we will continue to work for a comprehensive reform that can gather the widest consensus, guided by our firm conviction that a truly democratic Security Council reform is possible and necessary.
Thank you, Mr. Co-Chairs.