On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this annual debate on Security Council reform, and express our appreciation for your engagement in the reform process with a new and fresh approach. A first concrete sign is your decision to appoint Ambassadors Ion Jinga and Mohamed Khiari as co-facilitators of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. We warmly welcome them in their new capacity and wish to immediately offer our full cooperation and support in this new pivotal responsibility.
The appointment of two co-facilitators attests the need to explore alternative approaches, as emerged during the 70th Session of the General Assembly. In particular, the search for broad convergences among Member States, pursued over the last session under the stewardship of Amb. Lucas, exemplifies the consensual path we believe is key to achieving concrete results. Hence, for this session of work, the UfC reiterates the need to stay on this path and focus on the real convergences in the remaining clusters of the reform process. Our work must be done in a true spirit of compromise, while leaving aside what has hampered the achievement of our common goal for too many years.
A new Security Council grounded in a democratic and inclusive vision remains the political priority of the Uniting for Consensus group. This inclusive vision goes hand in hand with the conviction that this reform cannot be, but consensual. We are certain that the reform of the UN body responsible for international peace and security requires the support of the entire UN membership. After all, it is along this same path that we were able to change the method of selection and appointment of the Head of this Organization, thus proving that consensual reform is a concrete possibility.
We all feel the frustration among Member States for the lack of progress in a reform that has been discussed for over 20 years. The Uniting for Consensus countries – as well as external, influential observers - have pointed out with clarity what in all evidence is the only true obstacle to reform: the claim for an increase in the number of permanent members of the Council - with the veto, without the veto or with a suspended veto. This is the only reason for the stalemate we have been experiencing in the reform process.
No Member State should be scared of facing elections. Certainly not those who own all the means to succeed and give their substantial contribution to the work of the Council. That is why we invite all Member States to genuinely commit to reforming the Council, together with the UfC, in a manner that takes into account all views.
There is no Member State in this hall today that disagrees with the idea of expanding the number of non-permanent seats on the Council. No Member State is against such an increase that will favor countries belonging to the under- represented regions of the world. And a very significant and growing number of Member States has opposed an expansion of the veto and rather supports its limitation. This is the common ground that can help us find the solution to finally unlock this reform process. We owe this attempt to those who believe in a renewed Organization, and thus in a modern Security Council that is more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective.
A more representative and democratic Security Council means offering an equal opportunity to all Member States to serve periodically on the Council, and enhancing the right of the membership to decide and adapt the Council’s composition on a regular basis. In line with this perspective, the UfC is committed to a reform that increases, rather than reduces, the democratic nature of the Council; a reform centered on elected non-permanent seats, in the belief that in the twenty-first century this is the only formula that can have a positive and credible impact on the legitimacy and authority of the UN body responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.
There is no need to explain how such a reform would also have a tremendous impact on regional representation, by fostering a wider and fairer rotation within regional groups. It would also create a favorable ratio of non-permanent members to the permanent members in the Security Council. This change will improve the Council’s working methods, augment its decision-making capacity, present a democratic challenge to the veto and improve the overall relationship between the Council and the General Assembly.
Any solution in the near future on the Security Council reform process will require true flexibility and willingness to compromise. Over the years, the UfC group has tried to capture those new elements emerging from discussions during the IGN sessions that could bridge the gap with other negotiating groups. In this perspective, the increasing support for what is known as the “intermediate approach” represents a new factor towards a compromise solution and deserves our full attention.
In this framework, in addition to an expansion of current non-permanent seats, UfC countries propose to establish a new category of longer-term non-permanent seats with the possibility of an immediate re-election. These new seats would not be reserved to a select group of countries. All UN Member States willing to make a larger contribution to the work of the Council would have the right to contest elections for a longer-term seat on the basis of equitable geographic distribution and a fair system of rotation. Periodic elections will ensure the accountability of the Council longer-term members.
The UfC group stands ready to cooperate with you, Mr. President, the new IGN co-Chairs and the whole membership for advancing this process, in the firm conviction that Security Council reform is possible in the short term. In keeping with Decision 62/557, we shall continue to work for a comprehensive reform that can gather the widest consensus, and you can count on the UfC group to re-double its efforts in this direction.
Thank you, Mr. President.