Member states should seek new ways to engage on UNSC reform process: India
Frustrated by the slow pace of the UN Security Council’s reform process, India has called on the member states to seek new ways to engage to achieve credible progress on the issue by building on the past negotiations and not supplanting the past.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, speaking Tuesday at the informal meeting of the plenary on Intergovernmental Negotiations on increase in Security Council membership, lamented that the length of the Security Council reform process is unparalleled and in terms of inertia too, it has no peer.
Akbaruddin stressed that as much time as is necessary must be provided to continue the discussions on the reform process and member states should not be constrained by any arbitrary timelines.
“Only if we show mutual respect and promote better understanding by providing time and space for deliberations, can we lend credibility to the process we are involved in. We do hope that the discussions this year will… help in moving ahead in our common quest for reform,” he said.
He also stressed that an insurmountable ‘No’ should not be a response to every suggestion and there is need to look at creative pathways to forge ahead in the reform process.
“However, if despite our best efforts, credible progress evades us once again, then we should not shy away from reviewing how we engage on this very important issue,” he said.
The long-pending reform process has been ongoing for several years with little concrete progress. It has been more than 10 years since the start of the Intergovernmental Negotiations process in 2008 and more than 25 years since a resolution was passed to establish an open-ended working group on Security Council reform.
“While the world is not what it was when we began the process, the objections to moving forward remain the same. While the global challenges of the 21st century have multiplied, we remain divided even about the process to adopt in order to move forward,” he said.
Akbaruddin asserted that negotiations and discussions on the reform process need not start from scratch and member states can move ahead from the point they stopped in June last year.
“We, therefore, expect the new discussions to build on the past, not supplant the past,” he said adding that nations can renew focus on what could not be pursued due to the abrupt end to discussions last year, while gaining momentum.
“The articulated quest of the overwhelming majority last year was to respect all positions by reflecting them accurately in the document we were working on,” he said.
He voiced India’s support for the call to reflect the Common African Position in any document under consideration, stressing that Africa’s voice cannot be excluded and the desire of Small Island Developing States for a non-permanent seat on account of their situation should not be ignored.
“Everyone has a right to put forth an option and lend their name to a model of their choice. This enhances transparency, adds specificity and engenders respect for every position. No voices should be muffled,” he said.
While member states build on their work of last year, Akbaruddin hoped that they engage in discussions in a spirit of transparency and openness. “This process should respect the sentiment expressed openly and the evolution of the document under consideration should only be those discussions,” he said.
He underscored that the context in which the institutions of global governance were set up has changed in important ways.
“The institutions that were set up have come up short, while addressing the challenges we now face, especially in the area of peace and security,” he said, citing President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, who said that although the world has moved on, the United Nations’ governance has not.
With the United Nations set to celebrate its 75th anniversary in two years, Akbaruddin said “all of us need to listen, engage and support initiatives to move ahead, pursuing the goal of a reformed multilateral order to preserve peace and promote security.”