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General Assembly – IGN on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the SC

Statement by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Informal Meeting on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council —

Mr. Co-Chairs,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, focusing on the two key-issues of “regional representation” and “size of an enlarged Council.” We are glad for this opportunity to reflect on the interlinkages between two important reform clusters, bearing in mind that a comprehensive reform is our common objective and that the Council’s size and working methods are indivisible parts of a single key issue of Security Council reform.

Regional representation and the size of the Council are closely linked to other key issues of the reform, such as categories of membership. This is why the “elements paper” of last year mentioned that the exact number should emerge from the discussions of Member States on the key issues of “categories of membership” and “regional representation.” Our discussions must never lose sight of the bedrock of Security Council reform – its underlying principles. I refer again to last year’s “elements paper,” which underlines that the total size of the Council should ensure a balance between the representation and effectiveness of an enlarged Council.”

In considering the size of a reformed Council, topics such as the ratio between Council members and UN Members, and the issue “size versus effectiveness” have been fully explored over the past IGN sessions. As a result, today there is a growing consensus that enlarging the Council to the mid-twenties would make the Council more representative without harming effectiveness.

Mr. Co-Chairs,

At the beginning of our 7 March meeting, you rightly stressed that the ratio of Member States to elected seats within the Security Council has increased dramatically from one seat per fewer than eight countries in 1945 to one seat per nineteen countries today. This is why the UfC supports an enlargement of the Council that would bring the number of elected non-permanent seats to twenty-one in a new twenty-six-member Security Council.

In terms of proportionality, such an increase in elected members would allow us to get back to the single-digit ratio of one elected seat per nine UN Member States. More non-permanent members will also foster a new dynamic between elected and existing permanent members within the Council, contributing to decision-making, transparency, working methods and, ultimately the effectiveness of the Council.

In terms of the functionality of the Security Council, we believe that it would not be affected by such an enlargement. This has been demonstrated by other similar-sized bodies of global governance.

At the same time, to enhance regional representation on the Council, we should look at the ratios within each regional group and readjust them in pursuit of our shared goal of more equitable representation. To this end, the UfC proposes that the twenty-one elected members of an enlarged Security Council be distributed as follows:

– 6 seats to the African group, by adding 3 non-permanent seats;
– 5 seats to the Asia-Pacific group, by adding 3 non-permanent seats;
– 4 seats to the Latin America and Caribbean group, by adding 2 non-permanent seats;
– 3 seats to the Western European and Others group, by adding 1 non-permanent seat;
– 2 seats to the Eastern European group, by adding 1 non-permanent seat;
– 1 seat to rotate among existing regional groups, reserved for Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States.

You may notice that according to this distribution scheme, Africa would become the group with the highest representation in the reformed Council.

All Member States will be able to run, on an equal footing, for the non-permanent seats – whether two-year or longer-term – assigned to their regional group. Any new seats being sought on behalf of a region will remain available to all members of that regional group, and we believe this position addresses the need for improved regional representation of Africa, as well as other under-represented groups.

With regard to the rotating seat, UfC believes that Security Council reform should address the particular challenges facing SIDS and Small States, as well as the appropriate, enhanced representation of these States in a reformed Security Council. According to our proposal, this rotating seat would not prevent SIDS and Small States from running for a seat within their regional group instead, should they choose to do so; it would be an additional way for them to gain access to the Security Council. Given the uneven distribution of SIDS and Small States within the regional groups, the general membership will have to determine the eligibility criteria and the election modalities for this seat, including a fair rotation pattern.

Such an enlargement would also assure an increased and more stable representation to other regional cross-cutting categories of Member States: if regional groups have more elected seats available, accommodating countries belonging to cross-regional groupings, such as Arab countries, will become practical and easier.

Mr. Co-Chairs,

This is how we envision a modern reform of the Security Council, centered on new elective non-permanent seats. A reform that would enhance rather than undermine the Council’s democratic nature, accountability and effectiveness. This is the reform that UfC advocates, reflecting the reality of the twenty-first century, which is grounded in the principles of democracy and accountability.

The UfC countries are ready to engage with other negotiating groups on the basis of these principles, aiming for more equitable regional representation in the interest of all Member States. There is a clear opportunity for a reform enjoying the widest political acceptance required by Decision 62/557, building on the shared elements of the past IGN session and the new ones we will be able to identify by the end of the current session. Mr. Co-Chairs, you can rest assured of the UfC’s commitment to achieving concrete results during this session of work and expanding the common foundation for a consensual and necessary reform of the Security Council.

Finally, I would like to commend the approach that the Co-Chairs have taken, both from the substantial and the procedural perspective of our work in the IGN – we think it is a balanced approach, one that will allow progress on this very sensitive issue by identifying further commonalities – we look forward to give our assessment on the ‘Food for thought’ document tomorrow.

Thank you.