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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maurizio Massari on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group Annual Debate on agenda item 121 entitled, “Question of Equitable Representation on and increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council” 16 November 2023


Mr. President,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus group, I wish to thank you for
convening this important debate. Thanks to your leadership and
commitment to advancing the Security Council reform process, we are
confident that we will be able to achieve significant progress during the
incoming IGN. The UfC group is ready to support and work with you.
We thank you also for reappointing early on in the process two extremely
competent, skillful and experienced Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental
Negotiations (IGN), H.E. Mr. Alexander Marschik, PR of Austria, and
H.E. Mr. Tareq M. A. M. Albanai, PR of Kuwait, who managed the last
session of the IGN with great balance.

We look forward to cooperating with them in full transparency and
willingness to make progress also during this session. We trust that they
will help Member States get closer to the common goal of a reformed
Security Council. The UfC group is ready to continue its constructive
approach in the next IGN, confident that we can build on the positive gains
achieved during the last IGN.

Mr. President,
The UfC group feels strongly about the need for progress in the negotiations. Recent developments have shown how urgent the need for reform is and how it should no longer be postponed.
However, we stress that we do not want reform at any price. This is not an easy undertaking and a solution to move the process forward cannot be improvised or fast-tracked. We cannot afford to make mistakes.
We have to aim at a comprehensive reform that would make the UNSC truly representative, democratic, accountable, transparent, effective and adaptable over time. In particular, we need to strengthen the voice of underrepresented regions.

We believe the UfC proposal would achieve all of those objectives.
In order to bridge the gaps still remaining between the various positions held regarding UNSC reform, we feel it is important to continue our work in the IGN. This is especially so in light of the progress made during the IGN’s last session, and noting that important innovations to our working methods (i.e., web streaming of the meetings, IGN website and the convening of informal-informal meetings), have reinvigorated the process. The IGN still has an untapped potential to bring about a compromise solution.
Furthermore, the recommendations made by the Co-Chairs in their letter to the former PGA, dated 2 June 2023, represent a good basis for further progress.

In particular, we look forward to discussing the five clusters mentioned in UNGA Decision 62/557. These should be addressed in a comprehensive and focused manner, shedding light on the interlinkages and connections between these clusters and eventually building further, new convergences among Member States. This discussion cannot be sidestepped if we really want to advance, and eventually move to negotiations on a text, as positions still diverge on some main pillars of the reform.
We also welcome and look forward to participating in a Structured Dialogue on the conceptual models proposed by States and Groups.
Finally, in the context of next year’s Summit of the Future, we look forward to providing our contribution on UNSC reform, within the IGN. It is important that this remains a separate process, distinct from the Our Common Agenda and the Summit of the Future processes.
The IGN is a Member State-led and owned process and has been agreed by all of us as the sole forum through which to engage on UNSC reform; it is important that it remains that way.

We welcome the recommendation and can be amenable to have the IGN produce the input for the Summit of the Future. No new parallel processes should be created to fast-track Security Council reform, as this would only add confusion and stop us from achieving our overall goal.
All Member States should approach the Security Council reform process in good faith and show more flexibility. We are all eager to ask for something, but, if we really want to succeed in this endeavor, we should also be ready to concede something.

The UfC’s positions on each of the clusters of the UNSC reform are clear and known, and I will not dwell on them today for the sake of brevity.
Nevertheless, let me recall that over the years the UfC has listened carefully to others and we have displayed flexibility, adjusting our position to take into consideration the positions of all negotiating groups; we will continue to show flexibility. We expect other groups/countries to display similar flexibility. They too should present their “compromises” on the 5 clusters.
Our proposal of longer-term, re-electable seats stems from the understanding that some Member States, irrespective of their size, legitimately desire to make a greater contribution to the work of the Council, and have the means to do so. At the same time, increasing the number of two year-term non-permanent seats stems from the understanding that a fairer system of rotation in the Council is critically needed.
We reject the creation of new permanent members, however, as we believe that permanent membership, with or without veto, is undemocratic. There are no guardrails of accountability between permanent members and the wider membership, the General Assembly. Life tenure is incompatible with the principles of democracy, accountability and equality among Member States.
As we have reiterated many times, UfC is not asking anything for our individual members, we are not aspiring to permanent membership. Rather, we are working for the common good, a reform for all, a reform of the Security Council that is beneficial to all Member States and to the UN itself. We firmly believe that our idea of reform serves the whole membership. Under the UfC proposal, everyone benefits; no one is left behind or left out; and everyone gains better access to the Council.

To date, 59 Member States have never served in the Security Council, a little less than a third of the whole membership. It is high time to offer better access to all.

Mr. President,
Looking at the next IGN, we confirm our openness to constructive discussion, bearing in mind that there are no procedural shortcuts. This is one of the main lessons learned over the years: the reform process can only succeed underpinned by the widest possible political acceptance translated into an amendment of the Charter that will be approved and ratified by the required majority, including the five Permanent Members.
Let me conclude by reiterating 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.
The UfC group stands ready to cooperate with you, Mr. President, the IGN co-Chairs and the entire membership in order to advance this process in earnest.

I thank you.