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

Date:

11/07/2017


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

Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Annual Debate on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council ---

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this annual debate on Security Council reform, and commend your commitment to a reform process that is credible, transparent and inclusive. Building on these same principles, the UfC group looks forward to cooperating with the new Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform, Ambassadors Nusseibeh and Imnadze. We warmly welcome them in their new capacity and wish to express our full support for them in the upcoming IGN session.

The credibility of a membership-driven process, such as the IGN, depends on its transparency and inclusiveness. Only through a transparent process, which takes into account the voices of all Member States, can we jointly define the consensual path that the UfC group believes is the key to making concrete progress. All we have to do is avoid the obstacles that have thus far impeded the achievement of our common goal and work in a true spirit of flexibility and compromise.

Mr. President,

Over the years, the UfC group has pointed out the main roadblock to reform: namely, the demand for an increase in the number of permanent members on the Council. At the same time, we have offered a compromise solution consisting of longer-term non-permanent members with possibility of an immediate re-election, coupled with a more equitable distribution of seats among regional groups.

Longer-term seats would fulfill the legitimate desire of some Member States to make a greater contribution to the work of the Council. This reform model would enhance regional representation as follows: Africa would constitute the largest group in the reformed Council; the Asia-Pacific region would have the highest percent increase; and 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. At the IGN meeting of 8 May 2017, we distributed a chart with a breakdown of our regional representation proposal. A copy of it is attached to this statement.

Our initiative is the fruit of an inclusive vision that we are firmly convinced would bring about a more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective Council. So we were taken aback at the opposition expressed by some delegations last year to the principles of democracy and representation. On the one hand, this disclosed the true underlying reasons for the current stalemate. On the other hand, it pressed upon us the urgent need for a serious discussion of the principles underpinning Security Council reform. For without clarity on what we are aiming for, we will never reach our destination.

We expect Member States to finally be given the opportunity to engage in just such a discussion during this session of work. This discussion would pave the way to the next steps before us, including “text-based negotiations”.

Mr. President,

Last year the whole UN membership agreed that – and I quote the Co-Chairs’ final document: “The IGN process should build on the work done in previous years, so that convergence will increase gradually, with a view to garner the widest possible political acceptance.” This document enables us to say, unequivocally, that all Member States agree with the idea of expanding the number of non-permanent seats on the Council. All Member States agree that such an increase should favor countries belonging to the under-represented regions of the world. To this, we should add that a significant and growing number of Member States are opposed to an expansion of the veto and indeed supports limitations on its use.

If we are to truly build on the work of previous years, then the middle ground for a compromise solution leading to Security Council reform can only be mapped out on the basis of these three broad areas of agreement. They are the pillars of our new Council, which we all want to reflect the reality of the contemporary world. But the reality of the 21st century is in continuous transformation, with the constant emergence of new regional actors and new global challenges: a changing reality to which the Council must constantly adapt. There is no better guarantee of such adaptability than regular elections, which would also make the Security Council more democratic, accountable, and inclusive, by offering all Member States, rather than a select few, the opportunity to make a greater and more frequent contribution to the Council’s work.

Mr. President,

After almost 25 years of focusing on demands for new permanent seats, which would benefit only a handful of Member States, it is high time to give a concrete chance to all Member States and offer real prospects to the groups of States and regions of the world that are under-represented in the Council. We fail to see how a new Council could possibly be more effective, more responsive to international crises, and better able to cope with today’s global challenges through the addition of new vetoes.

The UfC group stands ready to cooperate with you, Mr. President, the new IGN co-Chairs and the whole membership to advance this process, on the common goal of increasing the Council’s legitimacy in the eyes of both the general membership and international public opinion, thereby enhancing its authority and, ultimately, its effectiveness. We are willing to double our efforts to achieve a reform without delay, building on the many existing convergences among Members States; a comprehensive reform of the Security Council that will gather the broadest possible consensus by enlarging the Council with new elected members, and a more balanced and equitable representation of regional groups.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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