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Statement by Italy on behalf of the “Uniting For Consensus” Group on the Question of Equitable Representation and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council

Statement by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations on behalf of the “Uniting For Consensus” Group

February 22

Madam Chair,

On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this second meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, focusing on the reform cluster, “Size and Working Methods of the Security Council.”

During past IGN sessions, the UfC and other Member States stressed the importance of discussing size and working methods of an enlarged Council in light of the principles of a democratic, more representative, effective, transparent and accountable Council. Our discussion today should continue accordingly, bearing in mind the interlinkages with other key issues of this reform.

Madam Chair,

The proportionality between Council members and UN Members, as well as related topics such as “size versus effectiveness,” have been thoroughly explored over the past sessions of work. As a result, there is a growing consensus that expanding the Council to the mid-twenties would make the Council more representative without harming effectiveness. But the UfC is convinced that it will take more than an increase in membership to make the Council more representative. It will also take an increased possibility for Member States to be seated periodically in the Council.

The ratio of Member States to elected seats within the Security Council has increased exponentially, from one seat per fewer than eight countries in 1945 to one seat per nineteen Member States today. This is why the UfC supports an enlargement of the Council that would bring the number of elected seats up to twenty-one out of a new twenty-six-member Security Council. This would allow us to get back to the single-digit ratio of one elected seat per nine UN Member States.

In this respect, we believe that Council’s effectiveness wouldn’t be affected by such an enlargement. This has been demonstrated by other similar-sized bodies of global governance, such as the Executive Board of the IMF, consisting of twenty-four Members, and the Board of twenty-five Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

At the same time, increasing the membership of the Council would not, by itself, enhance equitable representation on the Council. We should look at the ratio within the regional groups. In the African group, for example, the ratio is of one elected seat per eighteen members, while in the Asia-Pacific group the ratio is even worse, of one elected seat per twenty-six States. We should therefore readjust these ratios in pursuit of our shared goal of equitable regional representation. To this end, the UfC reiterates today the need to assign the majority of added seats to Africa and Asia-Pacific, as well as to Latin America.

Madam Chair,

The modern reform we have in mind is centered on elected seats: we fail to see how adding new national permanent seats would achieve the goal of a more representative and democratic Council. Also in light of the numbers I have just mentioned, UfC countries are convinced that we cannot afford to allocate seats permanently to a few countries, at the expense of the rest of the membership.

Madam Chair,

The enlargement of the Security Council will undoubtedly impact its functioning. The collective action of an expanded Council should not be hampered by its decision-making process. We need to increase rather than reduce the Council’s ability to respond promptly to any threats to international peace and security. We therefore have to seek a proper balance between increased representation and enhanced functionality.

The UfC believes that this balance is already inscribed in the UN Charter. The Council’s decisions should continue to be made on the basis of Article 27, maintaining the same percentage of affirmative votes for decision-making required in the current Security Council. At the same time, the question of the veto, to be dealt with in our next meeting, will be of the utmost importance when considering the Security Council’s ability to take action and fulfill its mandate effectively.

More transparent and inclusive working methods are key aspects of any reformed Security Council, stemming largely from the efforts of its non-permanent members. In fact, elected members have traditionally been the main supporters of improved working methods of the Council. Looking only at recent years, we proudly recognize the work done by two UfC countries: the Argentinian publication, building on the experience as Chair of the Security Council working group of documentation and other procedural questions until 2014; and the remarkable non-paper issued last January by Spain, summarizing the many interesting proposals that emerged during last October’s open debate on the implementation of Presidential note S/2010/507.

During our February 3rd meeting on the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, the UfC mentioned several measures aimed at increasing transparency and inclusiveness in the work of the Security Council. Allow me to add that inclusive working methods of an enlarged Security Council should also entail the possibility for all elected members to chair the Council during their term.

Madam Chair,

Since the beginning of this IGN session, the UfC has been supportive of your call for a constructive and substantive engagement to finding a compromise solution among Member States. I underline once again our commitment to a reform that garners the widest political consensus, as mandated by Decision 62/557.

We should all not forget that the ultimate goal of the IGN is to seek convergences toward such a reform, while a majority-minority calculous would only distance us from our common objective. We therefore expect our collective work during this IGN session to aim for a reform based on the interests and views of all Member States. The reform of the body responsible for maintaining international peace and security cannot fall short of this ambition.

In this perspective, Madam Chair, you can continue to count on the full cooperation of the UfC countries.

Thank you.


Fondo argentino de cooperación sur-sur y triangular