I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Four – Brazil, India, Japan, and my own country, Germany. Thank you for convening this third round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.
First and foremost we would like to wholeheartedly support your excellent proposals regarding webcasting and record keeping. As G4 we have, over the years, repeatedly requested these measures. It is high time to discuss the Security Council Reform in the open. These measures are not only important to smaller Permanent Missions, which face particular challenges in following numerous processes during the UNGA session, as stated by the co-chairs, but are necessary to guarantee more transparency and accountability to our discussions. Rest assured that we continue to lend our full support to you and the PGA in that endeavor.
For today you have suggested to discuss three sub items. In order to keep our remarks to the point and operational, we will refer directly to the “Co-Chairs’ Revised Elements Paper” as circulated on 16 May 2022. This Elements paper was also proposed as starting point for further discussion in the co-chairs’ letter of December 5 2022.
First: On the optimal size of an enlarged Security Council the G4 welcomes that most countries support the total number of members in the mid-20s. This shows clearly the agreement to aim for a Council that is more representative of the current UN membership, while still effective. We stress the need for the Council to finally mirror the world of today, in particular with a view to regions currently not represented on a permanent basis, such as Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The G4, in particular, proposes an expansion bringing up the total number of seats to 25 or 26 members. Our model approach on regional representation is well known and remains unchanged. Concerning the non-permanent members, we stress that due consideration should be given especially to the small and medium-states as well as to the Small Island Development States.
A final agreement on this item can however not be reached without an agreement on the issue of “categories of membership” which shall be discussed in the next meeting.
Second: Also on Working methods we see convergence on a number of points: As reflected in the Elements Paper, there seems to be general support of keeping the current practice of requiring a majority for decision-making in the Council.
We also strongly support the proposed guiding principles for adapting the Council’s working methods, especially accountability, transparency, inclusivity, and efficiency.
The last year highlighted the strong need to strengthen the interlinkage between the Security Council and the main organs of the United Nations as well as with subsidiary bodies. That is also true for the cooperation between relevant countries and regional organizations, especially the African Union.
The G4 believe that improved burden-sharing and constructive participation of elected members can be achieved through (co-)pen-holdership by those states. In addition, non-permanent members should be able to hold the presidency of the enlarged Security Council at least once during their tenure.
We strongly encourage a more transparent and accessible Security Council to meet in a public format and to hold more open debates as necessary. However, transparency should not come at the expense of an efficient and effective Council. The Council needs to strike a healthy balance between public and private meetings, to both enhance the transparency and visibility of the Council’s work, and encourage more interactivity of discussions and consensus building.
Giving civil society a voice can achieve a more informed and inclusive decision-making in the Council. Therefore, we commend stakeholders and non-members to be more actively included in the Security Council sessions. Exerting pressure against civil society briefers is unacceptable. We deeply regret that such cases have become more frequent in the last months, and we welcome endeavors to establish a standing procedure in such cases. At the same time, we also need to discourage any lack of decorum in these opportunities, as unfortunately happened recently.
Colleagues, distinguished co-chairs,
If we get the working methods right, ensuring a transparent and efficient functioning of the body, and acting in a responsible and constructive manner, we could jointly make a real difference to the current state for an enlarged and at the same time well-functioning Council. The necessary ingredients are all on the table.
Finally, the role of the General Assembly as the sole universally representative organ of the United Nations remains essential. Now even more than ever. We need a stronger, functioning UN as a whole, and for that purpose push for a stronger and better relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly. Regular meetings between the Presidents of the two organs have to become the norm; more special reports by the Council to the General Assembly would benefit the mutually reinforcing and complementary relationship between the two organs. In addition, we would like to emphasize that there is also great need to create synergy between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
These chapters show it clearly: there is a lot of substance that should be worked on text-based negotiations. We request you, distinguished co-chairs, to revise and update the “Co-Chairs’ Elements Paper” with attributions or even better present a single streamlined text.
We are looking forward to discussing creative ideas on the next steps in the informal informals and thank you for this initiative.
We believe that after 15 years, a majority of Member States are ready to move beyond the simple reiteration of statements behind closed doors, without formal record. Especially concerning the clusters discussed today we already reached a lot of agreement that we could build on.
The G4 is ready to move on and to support you, co-chairs, in making real progress.