Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maurizio Massari
on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group
Annual debate on agenda item 125 entitled “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council”
17 November 2022
On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus group, I wish to thank you for convening this debate. We thank you for appointing early on in the process two skillful Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), Ambassador Tareq Albanai and Michal Mlynár. You are the custodians of one of the most important processes within the Organization.
The UfC Group continues to stand ready to actively and constructively support your action and work within the next IGN session and looks forward to cooperating with them in full transparency and willingness to make progress. We believe that in their new capacity they shall help Member States get closer to the common goal of a comprehensively reformed Security Council.
The UfC also takes this occasion to thank the previous IGN Co-Chairs for the excellent work they have done in the past year.
The UfC group feels strongly about the need for progress in the negotiations, especially after this year’s upheavals in the international system, including the current crisis in Ukraine.
We will once again approach the next IGN with a constructive spirit, confident that we can build up on the positive gains achieved. During the 76th session of work we have advanced on several issues and it is worthwhile to highlight that the convergences have increased. For example, on the question of the veto there was a strong support among MS for voluntarily refraining from the use of veto, or on the need for the increased representation of developing countries and small- and medium-sized states, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), convergences duly reflected in the “Revised Elements” paper.
In fact, the Co-Chairs’ “Revised Elements” could be a good base to start our work, notwithstanding the fact that there are important points on which the negotiating groups still have principled different views and readings for a starter, on the democratic principle (which for UfC, together with the principle of accountability, goes hand in hand with regular elections) or on the principle of regional representation, which should not be confused with the individual quest for self-representation in the council.
In UfC’s view, a satisfactory reform should increase the legitimacy of the Security Council in the eyes of the general membership. To this end, the broadest possible consensus is needed.
As already stated in the past, in our view, a reformed Security Council that fulfills this aspiration should be more transparent, representative, accountable, democratic and effective.
- More transparent means a Council where the decisions are taken not by an exclusive few who hold an ultimate power, but by all the SC members in a fully inclusive way and taking into due consideration other voices;
- More representative means going beyond a simple increase in the number of SC members; it means giving true consideration to increasing the opportunities for all Member States to sit periodically on the Council so that all Regions and all voices are heard, including those of small, insular Countries;
- More accountable means that every new member of a reformed Security Council would need to answer to the whole Membership. It also entails a containment of the number of States with the permanent seats to the current ones, while, at the same time, restraining the use of the veto;
- More democratic simply means that every new member of a reformed SC must be elected;
- More effective means less avenues for paralysis, and a Council that can act expeditiously, ultimately making it more legitimate; one that – because it is transparent, representative, accountable and democratic – enjoys more credibility in the eyes of all Member States and whose decisions are fully observed and implemented, thus delivering better on its mandate.
Unlike others, UfC is not asking anything for our individual members, we are not aspiring to permanent membership equally for us or for any other State! We want a reform for all, not for few, a reform of the Security Council that is beneficial for all Member States and for the UN itself. We are convinced that our idea of reform, which is the only one that has been adjusted over the years in order to take into consideration the positions of all negotiating groups, serves the whole membership. Under UfC proposal, everyone benefits; no one is left behind or left out; and everyone gains better access to the Council to contribute to a more peaceful world. Besides, our proposal is the most detailed and pragmatic on the table, as several Member States from various Regional Groups have repeatedly acknowledged. It would give all MS, big and small, from all regional groups, a fair chance to be represented and it wouldn’t discriminate by introducing new situations of privilege.
The ongoing crises, the increasing number of conflicts and in particular the war against Ukraine have put a renewed pressure on the need of a meaningful reform of the SC, need that we share as UfC. However, new permanent seats and new vetoes would only serve the purpose to further paralyze it. Let me reiterate that, here, all Member States are equal, thus an approach to reform that only serves a few cannot be a solution for the entire membership.
If a condominium is falling apart, due to the fact that the members of the condominium board are fighting amongst themselves, simply adding new members by right to the board is not going to solve the real problem. Let me reiterate that here all member states are equal, thus an approach to reform that only serves a few cannot be a solution for the entire membership.
More in concrete, we propose, on the one hand, to increase the number of two year-term elected seats in order to ensure a fairer system of rotation in the Council. Bear in mind that 60 Member States have never yet served in the Security Council! On the other, we propose the creation of long-term, non-permanent elected seats, with the possibility of immediate re-election. This innovation is meant to accommodate those Member States that legitimately aspire, and have the means to, make a sustained contribution to the work of the Council.
In our proposal, the Security Council would consist of twenty-six members: on top of the current 15 seats, there would be nine long-term, non-permanent elected seats distributed among regional groups as follows: 3 for Africa, 3 for Asia Pacific, 2 for GRULAC and 1 for WEOG. Plus, two additional of the current two-year, elected seats assigned: one to the Eastern European Group and one, as a rotating seat, to Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States. This rotating seat would not prevent them from running within their regional group, but would – instead – be an additional way for them have fairer chances to gain access to the Security Council.
Let me underline that this reform model would greatly enhance regional representation: Africa would constitute the largest group in the reformed Council; the Asia-Pacific region would have the highest percent increase; both Latin America and Eastern Europe would double their representation. Our proposed distribution would also allow an increased and more stable representation for cross-regional groupings, such as the Arab group.
Looking at the next IGN, we confirm once again our openness to constructive discussion, bearing in mind that there are no procedural shortcuts to consensus on achieving Security Council reform. This is one of the main lessons learned over the years: the reform process can only succeed if the views and positions of every Member of the United Nations is taken into account.
In order for it to be successful, it is crucial that the Co-Chairs set a clear agenda of work, so that when the IGN begins, the whole focus will be on substantive issues and not on procedures. That means agreeing in advance on a predefined number of sessions, on an IGN calendar and on the topics to be discussed at each session.
Our ultimate goal during next IGN session should be to further reduce the main gaps separating negotiating groups and build and grow more convergences between MS. Let us be clear that the ultimate goal is to achieve that convergence.
The UfC group stands ready to cooperate to this precise end with you Mr. President, with the new IGN co-Chairs and the whole membership.