Remarks by Ambassador Miguel Berger on Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform in the General Assembly

Nov 28, 2011

(as delivered)

Mr. Chair,

Allow me to congratulate you again on your reappointment. We greatly welcome the resumption of the intergovernmental negotiations and assure you of our full support.

A number of meetings and conferences on Security Council reform were held both within and outside the United Nations. Most recently, the government of Japan invited representatives from all regions and all groups to Tokyo to informally discuss Security Council Reform. This clearly demonstrates that member states are eager to achieve progress on this issue.

However, when it comes to forward-looking initiatives, only one concrete proposal has received the support of a large number of member states from all regional groups. This was the initiative taken by the G4 countries and L69 countries for an expansion of the Council in both permanent and non-permanent seats. This broad support from members of all regional groups was reconfirmed in the General Assembly debate earlier this month. Mr. Chairman, this shows that the G4 initiative may not be the only, but surely the strongest game in town. This should also be reflected in the intergovernmental negotiations.

The G4 initiative also calls for a reform of the working methods of the Security Council. As such, there is strong overlap with the reform initiative by the S5-Group. We commend the S5 but also Japan and Bosnia&Herzegowina as Chairs of the Security Council Working Group on the working methods for progress achieved, but we think that real and meaningful reform of the working methods can only be achieved as part of a wider reform process, which includes the reform of its membership. We will thus continue to constructively engage with the S5 on the issue.

We will also continue to engage with the African Group on its legitimate demand for adequate representation in both the non-permanent and permanent categories of Council membership. Clearly, on this principle there is common understanding between the African position and that of the G4. Against this background, it also makes me wonder to which “compatibility” and “accommodation” the Uniting for Consensus group refers to between the UfC model – a model aimed at expansion only in non-permanent seats - and the position taken by the African Group.

Mr. Chair,

You have asked member states to indicate how their initiatives could be further operationalized. In this regard, let me once again underline that we are determined to achieve concrete results in a spirit of flexibility and in close cooperation with member states. Specifically, I would like to make two points:

Firstly, we all agree that the process for Council reform should be membership-driven. But we cannot negotiate a meaningful reform on the basis of a 30-pages document. Mr. Chairman, we will need your assistance in focussing our discussions on a realistic range of options. Let us continue discussions based on those options that have proven to reflect majority positions, like the G4 initiative. Let us focus on those principles on which we have reached broad agreement – and use those as a starting point to narrow down our differences. This streamlined summary should not comprise more than one or, as maximum, two pages.

Secondly, we need to achieve tangible progress in this General Assembly. We have all heard the comment that no artificial deadlines should be set. In reality of course one can hardly speak of artificial deadlines or undue haste after having debated the issue for 20 years. On the contrary, a continued process with no concrete result will end in exhaustion, killing the reform process. This would be very much to the detriment of the role of the UN as a central actor in global governance. Therefore, we need the intergovernmental negotiations to take place more frequently than in the past. We thus encourage you to maintain a regular meeting schedule and look forward to our continued engagement in this process.  We would also be prepared to consider other Charter-based options to achieve substantial results.

Thank you.

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