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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, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, 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 fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, focusing on the linkages between the issues of regional representation, size of an enlarged Council and categories of membership. We welcome this opportunity, since our group believes that a discussion of the nature of added seats is integral to our consideration of both the size of and regional representation on an expanded Council.

According to the elements of convergence identified last year, an enlarged Council should consist of a total number of members in the mid-twenties. During the meeting held in April, the UfC group reiterated its support for a compromise solution, which could see an increase of up to eleven additional seats, for a total number of twenty-six Security Council members. However, our support would be contingent on the nature of these additional seats, and only if all of these seats are non-permanent.

Similarly, the nature of additional seats is inseparable from the very definition of regional representation, since – as UfC and others highlighted during the March meeting – enhancing regional representation cannot be achieved by expanding permanent membership. With regard to the commonalities on regional representation included in the Food for Thought paper, the UfC group agrees that “ensuring a fair equitable geographical distribution should be reflected in an expanded Council’s membership.”

But for the UfC, a more representative Council means much more than the general notion of enlarging its membership. We strongly believe that any new seat being sought on behalf of a region must remain available to all members of that regional group. In other words, regional representation is contingent on periodic elections, possibility of rotation, and fair geographical distribution. These are key-elements to ensuring a meaningful implementation of this concept.

To this end, I wish to recall the compromise proposal offered by the UfC for a new Security Council consisting of twenty-six members with the following regional distribution of the twenty-one non-permanent members, including those with a longer term:

– 6 seats to the African group, which would amount to 29% of elected members and 100% increase in African regional representation on the Council;

– 5 seats to the Asia-Pacific group, 24% of elected members and 150% increase in Asia-Pacific regional representation;

– 4 seats to the Latin America and Caribbean group, 19% of elected members and 100% increase in GRULAC regional representation;

– 3 seats to the Western European and Others group, 14% of elected members and 50% increase in WEOG regional representation;

– 2 seats to the Eastern European group, 9% of elected members and 100% increase in Eastern European regional representation;

– 1 seat to rotate among existing regional groups, reserved for Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States, which is 5% of elected members and entirely new.

With regard to the rotating seat, I also wish to reiterate that it would not prevent SIDS and Small States from running for a seat within their regional group; it would instead be an additional way for them to gain access to the Security Council.

In terms of regional representation, Africa would become the first group in the reformed Council; Asia-Pacific would have the highest percent increase; while Latin America and Eastern Europe would double their representation. This distribution would also allow an increased and more stable representation to cross-regional groupings, such as the Arab group.

Mr. Co-Chairs,

All Member States agree that it is high time for a reform leading to a new Security Council that enjoys greater legitimacy and authority. This can be done by building a reformed Security Council based on legitimacy, engagement and responsibility, not privilege. It can be done by making the most of this Organization’s unique resource: its universal membership. We need an inclusive and consensual reform – bringing together ideas and assets of all Member States.

Proposals envisaging an increase in permanent members would only make our Council more exclusive rather than inclusive, and many acknowledge that such an approach is the main reason for the lack of progress so far in the reform process. While our original proposal of expanding the 2-year non-permanent seats is still on the table, for the sake of making progress, the UfC has shown flexibility and readiness to work on a compromise solution based on new longer term non-permanent seats with the possibility of an immediate re-election.

A more representative Security Council means offering greater opportunity to all Member States to serve periodically on the Council. An increase in non-permanent members would foster an improved dynamic between elected and existing permanent members within the Council, contributing to decision-making, inclusiveness, transparency, and to the representativeness of the Council.

After almost 25 years debating the creation of new permanent members, it is time to give a concrete chance to this reform process by exploring alternative and compromise approaches, and offer real prospects to those groups of States and regions of the world under-represented in the Council. In this way, we will increase the Council’s legitimacy in the eyes of both the general membership and the international public opinion, thus enhancing its authority and, ultimately, its effectiveness.

Thank you, Mr. Co-Chairs.