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General Assembly - Plenary Meeting

Date:

11/25/2019


General Assembly - Plenary Meeting

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly Plenary Meeting on "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council". ---

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus group, I wish to thank you for convening this annual debate and commend you on your commitment to a reform process based on consensus, transparency, and inclusivity.

The UfC group looks forward to cooperating with the new Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) that the PGA will appoint and wishes to express our full support for them in the incoming IGN, the only process - approved by the entire membership - that can lead to a consensual reform of the Security Council.

The UfC group is confident that the next IGN, as it has already done in past sessions, will deliver positive results that will advance the reform process, thanks to the continuous engagement of all Member States. Last year we managed to achieve some important progress, duly reflected in the “Revised Elements” document. The support for increased representation in the Council of developing Countries, Africa, SIDS and Small States, along with the strengthened language on working methods and the interaction between the Security Council and the General Assembly, demonstrates that we can find commonalities, and that these negotiations are making advances in reform – slowly, but surely.

However, the path towards a comprehensive reform of the Security Council is still underway. Only through a transparent process, which takes into account the voices of all Member States, we will be able, jointly, to define a consensual path to reform. And only through consensus will we be able to create a legitimate Security Council that functions effectively.

We all know that some obstacles have thus far impeded the achievement of a meaningful reform. Aiming at a common goal, we should now focus not on the walls that divide us, but on the bridges that can grow among us in a true spirit of flexibility and compromise.

Let us start from the broad convergences that we were able to identify last year, such as the following:

(1) an increase in non-permanent seats is supported by all Member States, and is common ground for advancing Security Council reform;
(2) all Member States agree that such an expansion of seats should favor under-represented regions of the world, especially Africa;
(3) a significant, growing number of Member States oppose expanding the veto to other States and support, instead, limiting or abolishing it.

Mr. President,

The UfC Group firmly believes that the Security Council needs to become truly representative, accountable, democratic, transparent and effective. Our proposal –the most detailed and comprehensive on the table – aims to achieve this goal.

The UfC’s proposal has been adjusted over the years to what we have heard in the different rounds of negotiations. It takes into consideration the positions of all negotiating groups. It is informed by the spirit of flexibility that inspires our group.

We are ready to continue to engage in constructive discussion during the next IGN. However, rushed formulas for reform have to be avoided at all cost. 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 it is reflected as an amendment of the Charter that every Member of the United Nations can approve and ratify, including the five Permanent Members. An approach that serves a minority cannot be imposed on the entire membership.

Mr. President,

Let me briefly recap how we envision a reformed Security Council. We propose to create new longer-term non-permanent seats, with the possibility of immediate re-election, and to increase the number of two year-term non-permanent seats. The longer-term seats would fulfill the legitimate desire of some Member States to make a greater contribution to the work of the Council, and at the same time foster a fairer system of rotation.

The Security Council would consist then of twenty-six members, twenty-one of which non-permanent assigned as follows:

- 6 seats to the African group, 3 of which would have a longer term;
- 5 seats to the Asia-Pacific group, 3 of which would have a longer term;
- 4 seats to the Latin America and Caribbean group, 2 of which would have a longer term;
- 3 seats to the Western European and Others group, 1 of which would have a longer term;
- 2 seats to the Eastern European group;
- 1 seat reserved for 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 to gain access to the Security Council.

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; the Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States would have greater access to the Council 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.

Mr. President,

Under UfC’s proposal, everyone benefits, no one loses out and everyone gains a better access to the Council. Our proposal also entails adjustments to the working methods. It is also the more realistic on the table, as several Member States from various Regional Groups have repeatedly acknowledged.

We need such a reformed Council to foster the trust of international public opinion in this institution and to strengthen multilateralism. Our common goal must be to increase the Council’s legitimacy in the eyes of both the general membership and the world’s citizens this organization serves. This would enhance the Council’s authority and, ultimately, its effectiveness, making the UN more fit to face new global challenges and realities.

We have mentioned time and time again that the current Council is either unequipped or unwilling to deal with some of the world’s more pressing issues, and thus failing our citizens. It is therefore time we show them that the UN can function well –by working together towards creating a new and improved Council that can address their needs. It would be indeed appropriate to get closer to that goal on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of this Organization, moved by a true spirit of democracy and confident in the longstanding values of multilateralism.

The UfC group stands ready to cooperate with you, Mr. President, the new IGN co-Chairs and the whole membership in order to advance this process.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by saying that today, November 25th, marks the International Day for the Elimination of the Violence against Women. Italy strongly supports the #OrangetheWorld awareness campaign, focused on the fight against rape, promoted ny UnWomen, and #GenerationEquality, a campaign that invites everyone to take new steps towards gender equality: a goal that NO ONE in the world can claim has been achieved.

I thank you, Mr. President.


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