Statement by H.E. Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus Group
On behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group, I wish to thank you for convening this third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform, focusing on the key-issue of regional representation and on the Co-Chairs’ document entitled, “Revised Elements of Commonalities and Issues for Further Consideration”, circulated with your 23rd March letter. While reserving more detailed comments for tomorrow’s interactive session, I will provide some preliminary remarks on the revised document and on the UfC position on regional representation.
With regard to the commonalities on regional representation included in the revised document, the UfC group agrees that “an increase in membership should allow for fair and equitable representation as well as cross regional balances.” The UfC group is convinced that equitable, regional representation cannot be enhanced by increasing the number of permanent members, but only through additional elected members. In fact, we believe that a fairer regional representation necessarily results from two factors: first, all regions must be represented in a more equitable manner; and second, Council members – “the representatives” – must be more accountable to the UN membership – “the represented” – which can only happen through periodic elections. What is more, the UN Charter makes no reference to regional or equitable representation in its definition of the permanent members, whereas Article 23 makes explicit mention to elections and geographical distribution of non-permanent members as characteristics of “equitable representation”.
With regard to the issues for further consideration on regional representation, we noted with surprise the inclusion of a new paragraph j). This paragraph refers to views expressed by Member States “with regard to the distribution of permanent and non-permanent seats”, which implies that the UN membership has already accepted the notion of additional permanent members. This is clearly a wrong assumption. Moreover, since this is the first meeting of the current session of work devoted to regional representation, for the sake of the revised document’s accuracy, this additional paragraph should not have been included in the first place. We therefore ask for its entire deletion and request Co-Chairs to work in full transparency on a more comprehensive and clear presentation of Member States’ views on regional representation.
To this end, I wish to recall the compromise proposal offered by the UfC. Our reformed Council would consist of twenty-six members, twenty-one of which non-permanent, including those with a longer term and the possibility of an immediate re-election. These twenty-one seats would be assigned as follows:
- 6 seats to the African group, 3 of which with a longer term;
- 5 seats to the Asia-Pacific group, 3 of which with a longer term;
- 4 seats to the Latin America and Caribbean group, 2 of which with a longer term;
- 3 seats to the Western European and Others group, 1 of which with a longer term;
- 2 seats to the Eastern European group; and
- 1 seat to rotate among existing regional groups, reserved for Small Island and Developing States (SIDS) and Small States. This rotating seat would not prevent SIDS and Small States from running within their regional group, but would - instead - be an additional way for them to gain access to the Security Council.
In terms of regional representation, which – it’s worth repeating – in the UfC’s perspective can only be assured by elected members, Africa would become the first group in the reformed Council; Asia-Pacific would have the highest percent increase; while Latin America and Eastern Europe would double their representation. This distribution would also allow an increased and more stable representation for cross-regional groupings, such as the Arab group. Let me underscore that all additional non-permanent seats proposed by the UfC, including those with a longer term, would remain available to all UN Member States.
With regard to the commonalities in the remaining reform clusters that are listed in the revised document, the UfC group agrees with your choice to include the elements of convergence identified over the 70th session of work. Concerning the size of an enlarged Council, however, it should be noted that while ensuring a balance between representativeness and effectiveness appears to be a commonality, how to ensure such a balance remains an issue for further consideration, as indicated in the relevant section, paragraph 3.b), of the revised document.
This is a first example of a potentially artificial commonality, which happens when Member States agree that they disagree on something. The most glaring artificial commonality to which we called last year’s Co-Chairs and now your attention, is the commonality on categories of membership. While the first part of the paragraph on the expansion of non-permanent seats can be considered a truly shared element, the wording of the second part – which reads “The Council’s expansion in other categories [..] remains to be agreed through negotiations by the Member States” – clearly indicates that this variety of Council’s expansion requires further consideration, and as such, it should be moved to the corresponding section of the revised document.
These are some preliminary observations and inputs on the regional representation cluster and on your first revision of the “Elements of Commonality”. We are convinced that through a constructive engagement of all Member States, you will be able to identify new convergences within the membership. The UfC group will continue to do its part and support your efforts in trying to narrow the gaps between negotiating groups. In this vein, we held last week informal consultations with the C-10, as the first step of a dialogue we agreed to maintain throughout this session of work. This further attests our determination to move collectively and achieve concrete results in this membership-driven process, by expanding the common foundation for a consensual and necessary reform of the Security Council.