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Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, April 19

20.04.2021 - Speech

Check Against Delivery


Madams Co-Chairs, 

Everybody said the Security Council has to be reformed. When I took office as UN Ambassador in 2017, I thought it was a no-brainer to actually achieve these reforms. However the last four years were very depressing in this regard, because nothing has moved. No substantive progress has been made since the IGN process started in 2008. If we are honest, nothing has happened since 1965, when the last reform of the Security Council was implemented. Given this track record, why bother coming here to plead yet again for a reform of the Security Council?

There are four reasons. First, as for my country, Germany deeply cares about and believes in the UN. Germany is the second largest donor to the overall UN system. We are interested in having the UN maintain its legitimacy. This applies, of course, first and foremost to the Security Council, which has to reflect the realities of the globe today. It has to rectify the historic injustice that was committed against Africa. Therefore, we push for reform and we push back against those who are opposing reforms, those who want to preserve the status quo, those who stall on movement forward. We push back against the grave diggers of the UN.

The second reason why we get engaged is that we have a clear mandate, which is not to bury the Security Council reform, but to “instill new life”. This is what we have to do. This is the mandate of the 75th anniversary of the UN. If we don't implement it this year around on the basis of such a strong mandate given by the heads of state of government of 193 countries, when will it ever happen? We have to deliver now!

The third reason is you. We have wonderful Co-Chairs. You have been praised from all around the floor. You are an impeccable combination, if I may say so, of experience and commitment: experience from last year's facilitation, and the commitment of the co-author of the 75th declaration. We are very happy that the two of you are chairing this year. You can move the process forward.

The fourth reason is because I believe in all of us. I believe that we the permanent representatives on the floor can do our job. We care about the UN. All of us, we care about the Security Council. We want the Security Council to deliver. We want the Security Council to reflect today's realities on the ground. We don't want it to be in danger of becoming designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I know that many of you stand under enormous pressure. You are demarched by the grave diggers who plead with you and your capitals to not move forward. One of the ambassadors told me that I should help him get the “1000-pound gorilla” off his back. I'm afraid I cannot do it alone. We have to do it together. We have to step up to the plate. We have to say yes to the UN. We have to say yes to a reformed Security Council, yes to progress in the IGN, yes to the Co-Chairs who asked about the question of the document that should be the basis of our negotiations, and yes to a single consolidated document. In the first four interventions this morning alone, there were at least 100 states who said that they wanted to have the Co-Chairs table a single consolidated document. Yes to real negotiations that lead to compromise and, in turn, a reform of the Security Council. Yes to the application of the General Assembly rules of procedure which allow for records to be taken and the public to follow our debates. We don't have anything to hide. I wonder who does. We have this singular chance in this IGN to move forward and react to all of what our citizens ask us to do as the UN. Please, Co-Chairs, go for it this year.

Thank you.

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