Statement on behalf of the G4, delivered by the Permanent Representative of India to the UN, Ambassador Tirumurti, at the opening session of the IGN on “Security Council Reform”, on February 8th 2022
Co-Chairs, Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,
I deliver this statement on behalf of the G4 – Brazil, Germany, Japan, and my own country, India.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the presence of the President of the General Assembly, H E Abdullah Shahid in today’s inaugural IGN Meeting of the 76th UNGA session. I also congratulate Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann of Denmark and Ambassador Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani of Qatar for their appointment as Co-Chairs of the IGN. Your creative, constructive and solutions-oriented approach, combined with the active interest and Engagement shown by the PGA H. E. Abdulla Shahid, have given us hope that we finally see some light at the end of the IGN tunnel this year.
In your letter of 27 December 2021, you have called on Member States to share views on how we see the current format and procedural matters relating to the IGN, and how renewed momentum can be given to this process. Our Position on these matters is well known by now, but bears repeating.
We have been meeting in this informal format for 14 years now, with nothing concrete to show for our efforts. We do not even have a zero-draft consolidating the attributed positions of interested stakeholders, to base our discussions on. We do not have a single factual account or record of the IGN proceedings.
This design flaw in the format of the IGN is what is keeping us going around in circles rather than moving forward. Together, we need to comprehensively change our approach to this process.
As the Security Council is called upon to respond to increasingly complex and challenging global issues, it is our shared responsibility to prevent one more wasted year of fruitless ‘deliberations’, and to “instill new life” into the process of Security Council reform, in accordance with the mandate of our leaders in the UN@75 Political Declaration. Failing to do so will call into question the continued relevance and credibility of the IGN process.
We expect, therefore, that the IGN will finally become a regular negotiation process within the General Assembly, centered on the discussion of a single text with clearly attributed positions, and with higher levels of transparency and documentation, thereby making it a more inclusive process. Our cluster-wise ‘statements’ here can only move us forward if they lead to an update of the document that we have on the table.
Co-Chairs, we acknowledge and appreciate the important first step that
has been taken by you in your letter of 27 December, that is, identifying the Elements Paper of 2021 as the starting point and the basis of our discussions, and your stated intention to regularly update the paper with the positions that you hear from the floor. Our simple request to you now is, please operationalize these improvements, in accordance with what you have mentioned in your letter.
In our engagement with you leading up to today’s meeting, we have shared our suggestions as you how we can ensure that our discussions Focus on the Elements Paper. Ideally, we would like to see the commencement of text based negotiations at the earliest.
On our part, in this and subsequent meetings, we will be engaging directly with the relevant section of the Elements Paper, and provide our specific comments and positions on the text. We call on all other groups and delegations to do the same. This will enable you, co-Chairs, to update the Paper at the end of each meeting with these positions, ensuring our joint focus on a continually updated, consolidated, text.
I will begin with some comments on the overall structure and introductory portions of the text, and then swiftly turn to our specific comments, including on the ‘regional representation’ section.
First, there is no need to have a lengthy introduction to the document. A factual account of the IGN meetings, or a record of discussions, should be presented as a separate document for record keeping and not as part of the text.
Second, attributions of positions must be included in all parts of the document, as in any normal UN process. Their absence renders it almost impossible to have a clear picture of the level of support lent to the positions contained therein. The use of vague expressions such as “some Members” or “other Members” cannot replace this need for clear attribution. The fact that some sections of the membership do not want to have their positions clearly stated, should not preclude the right of others to have their views duly reflected and attributed. Attribution of positions is the only effective Member States-driven process to reflectthe degree of support for proposals, and thus contributes to the Promotion of convergences.
Finally, the division between “convergence” and “divergence” throughout the document should eventually be eliminated. The anguage used in all items grouped under “divergence” already makes it clear that those topics require further discussion. Further, inclusion of attributions, would also make it clear that different positions are on the table on a particular issue.
Coming to our specific comments on the text:
i. In item 8 of the general elements of convergence on page 3, it is stated that the IGN is “the legitimate and most appropriate platform to pursue the Security Council reform”. This unqualified sentence is not reflective of the repeated concerns voiced during the IGN rounds, where it has been underscored by many that the IGN must earn its legitimacy by living up to its mandate and delivering tangible progress. This element of convergence must therefore be deleted, or at the very least, be correctly attributed - but not presented as an agreed convergence.
ii. We note that the concerns presented by many delegations on procedural issues and working methods as well as the widespread desire for the creation of a single consolidated document have been classified as elements of “divergence” in items 4 and 5 on page 4. Therefore, attribution is needed on items 4 and 5 of page 4, so that all Member States and groups that wish to do so be named there.
iii. The language on the Common African Position should be further strengthened and be included in full under item 4 of general convergences on page 3. The text should recognize that “there is an overwhelming support for the Common African Position, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and in the Sirte Declaration”. Here, we also ask for clear attribution and reference to groups and Member States that have openly expressed their full support for the Common African Position, including the G4. These positions should also find reflection in the section listing the various proposals on “regional representation”.
iv. Item 3 of general convergences on page 3 is incomplete. In order for the Security Council to reflect the realities of the contemporary world, enhanced representation of countries with the capacity and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security is equally necessary. No Member States have disputed this legitimate assertion. Therefore, this paragraph needs to be modified to include that important element.
v. Under item 3 of divergences on page 10, regarding the role of regional groups and organizations, these specific issues are already clarified by the Charter. It is clear that regional groups, where applicable, may have their own unique process for selecting their Security Council candidates before the electionin the General Assembly, if they happen to have such an internal coordination process. Unfortunately the discussions held in previous IGN rounds on this issue have not been fully captured, and this item should for this reason be deleted. At the very least, the positions expressed by Member States should be clearly attributed.
vi. The attributions added in the last page under item 12 regarding regional representation proposals are still incomplete and inaccurate, and need to be modified so that they reflect the correct positions of each group. For instance, in section 2(a) of item 12 on page 11, the G4’s proposal on permanent seats needs to be reflected as follows: six additional permanent seats - two each for the African and Asia Pacific groups, one for the Latin America and the Caribbean group, and one for the West European and Others group.
We will be submitting these comments to you in writing, so that you are able to update the text with attribution of our positions. We once again urge all delegations and groups to directly engage with the Elements Paper in a similar manner, so that we can begin the task of coming up with a living, memberowned document that includes all the positions, and can serve as a robust Basis for future deliberations.
We look forward to our interactive session tomorrow, to have a deeper exchange of views on these issues.