Pakistan Calls For More Democracy, Equitable Representation In An Expanded UNSC
Pakistan strongly advocated the principles of democracy and equitable representation in the efforts to restructure the UN Security Council as the deadlocked talks aimed at improving the 15-member body’s ability to respond effectively to emerging challenges resumed on Thursday.
“What we require is flexibility and a spirit of compromise to find common ground, foster goodwill and mutual understanding, and identify new convergences and common approaches for a shared and consensual pathway to reform,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told the first session in 2018 of the long-running Inter-Governmental Negotiations to reform the Security Council.
“The principal reason for the persisting stalemate lies in the approach of a handful of delegations, who shift the responsibility for this on those who stand for reform based on the cardinal principles of the UN Charter,” she said.
Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — known as the Group of Four — push for permanent seats in the Council, while the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly opposes any additional permanent members.
As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members — not permanent members — with longer duration in terms and a possibility to get re-elected once.
The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.
Full-scale negotiations to restructure the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009 on five key areas — the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged Security Council, and working methods of the council and its relationship with the General Assembly.
Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.
Georgia’s UN Ambassador Kaha Imnadze and his United Arab Emirates counterpart, Mrs Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, are the new co-chairpersons of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations.
Congratulating the co-chairs on their appointment, Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan supported comprehensive reform of the Council to make it a more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective body.
She expressed the hope that this year, flexibility would replace obduracy and principles will triumph over self-interests.
“We are here again, sanguine, that we will not reinforce the view of those who consider the Security Council as a preserve of the powerful; that we will finally be able to seek a reform which will cater to the interest of all Member States of the UN in an equitable manner,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“Reinforcing the undemocratic elements of the Security Council is contrary to both the democratic spirit of our times as well as the principle of sovereign equality of states that underpins the Charter of the United Nations.
“At a time when growing challenges to global peace and security warrant firm and clear action by the Security Council, anything less would not only erode the standing of the Council, it would also undermine the idea of the United Nations and the inspiring vision that it espouses for our collective humanity.”
Over the years, she said attempts by some to sidestep consensus through quick fixes and procedural manoeuvres have not helped to move the process forward; rather they have accentuated the existing divergences.
Stressing that the Security Council reform was a “strategic endeavour,” Ambassador Lodhi said It could not be artificially paced by simplistic generalizations or arbitrary timelines. In this regard, she said that the UfC’s call for member states to engage in a substantive discussion over “principles” was an essential way forward to accomplish this goal.
Ambassador Lodhi also emphasized the need to preserve the sanctity of the five equally important and interlinked issues.
“We believe that any approach that disaggregates the issues into separate silos, not only fails to acknowledge the intrinsic inter-linkages between them, but also undermines the comprehensive nature of the reform process, and is therefore counter-productive,” she said.
A credible and viable process of reform, she said, also entailed an open, inclusive and transparent approach.