Remarks by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the interactive discussion during Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council Reform Trusteeship Council Chamber (February 2, 2018)

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

We have had a very good and rich discussion yesterday which gives us grounds for hope.

I will respond to some of the questions that you have posed and also to points raised by some of our distinguished colleagues.

This morning we again heard calls by some for text-based negotiations, asking you to produce a text by the next meeting. Let us be clear. This is a member state-led process. It is neither the prerogative nor the mandate of the co-facilitators to produce a text. Such a text can only emerge from member states themselves.

A reference was also invoked that the plurality of the membership had called for a ‘text’ to serve as basis for negotiations.

My country has been counted as a supporter of this approach, for we have never contested that a ‘text’ will eventually be required to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council.

The key question is when is the most appropriate time or stage to do so. Much as we may wish to believe, that bridge has not been reached yet. Jumping before even we can see the bridge can only come to grief.

Moreover, yesterday’s discussion was a clear affirmation of that. If we are yet to reach an understanding on the fundamentals how will a text miraculously bridge the differences.

Let us not continue with a pretence. While frustration with the slow progress is understandable, negotiations have stalled due to these gaps. Simply starting text-based negotiations is not going to change this reality. We have tried a similar approach before and it did not work. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve a different outcome.

What is instead, required is a common understanding on the fundamental principles underpinning the reform process.

Decision 62/557 lays the framework for the ‘conduct’ of the IGN process- in good faith, with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.

Just as those principles helped us establish the IGN forum, we need principles on substance of reform to pave the way for a solution that could garner the widest possible political acceptance.

These principles of reform will provide a common reference point - the ideals that we all aspire to - and a destination we all wish to reach.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

My country and our partners in the UfC have consistently outlined what those principles could be. The need for a more democratic, accountable, transparent, effective and representativeness Council is not only an imperative for a comprehensive reform, these principles embed the ideal of the United Nations and the inspiring vision that it espouses for our collective humanity.

If we truly share these ideals, we must calibrate our positions in all key areas against the yardstick of these principles.

On principles , let me illustrate the point by focusing on the goal of securing a more democratic Security Council. For some the very essence of democracy is disregarded yet it remains the elephant in the room.

The essential requirement of democracy is elections yet there are some who believe that a onetime election is sufficient to achieve a democratic Council. Elections are a process not a onetime event.

We all agree on practicing democracy at home but argue against it at the UN. The argument that is put forward by some when translated in our national context means that governments should be permanently installed by virtue of a single election. In other words we should have a permanent Prime Ministers and permanent members of Parliament.

How can the Security Council, the preeminent body entrusted with global peace and security, be exempt from democratic principles, on which rests the structures of global governance including national governments, regional and international bodies and multilateral institutions. ?

Similarly, we cannot perpetuate a privilege based on contemporary realities.

What a contemporary realities?

Realities are always in flux and change over time. There are no permanent realities. So if realities are tied to the present, how can a ‘permanent’ status be bestowed upon a ‘transient’ and ‘fleeting’ state.

These inconvenient truths cannot be wished away by casting all other voices as ‘cynical’.

We will continue to uphold values of democracy, equal opportunity and non-discrimination for as long as it takes, but we will not be complicit in any exercise that places narrow self-serving interests of a few over the collective good of the larger UN membership.

Another point raised yesterday by some peoples was to draw an equivalence between Security Council reform and the broader reform of the UN system - that Security Council reform is intrinsic to other aspects of the UN reform effort. This is a false comparison. The broader reform of the UN is a purely administrative and management measure, led by the Secretary General. Reform of the Security Council, on the other hand, is intensely political, and is driven by member-states.

The reform of the Security Council cannot be conflated with other processes.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

As underscored in our statement, and reaffirmed by many others, addressing the interlinkages between the five issues as provided in decision 62/557 remain critical to making progress.

No other approach would work. For example, the issue of veto is inextricably linked to both the categories of membership as well as working methods of the Council. How could these be disaggregated?

In addition, an expansion in the size of the Council and categories of membership, are also interlinked.

It is therefore, imperative that proposals by member states are consistent across the five clusters.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

On the African position, we and the UfC distinguish between national pursuits and consensus demands on behalf of a region, such as Africa, emanating from a genuine sense of feeling disenfranchised and perceiving that a historical injustice was meted out to them. Perhaps African countries have suffered the most by the deadlock created by those harboring a false sense of entitlement. We believe the African demand can best be addressed in a just, equitable and pragmatic manner through the compromise solution offered by the UfC.

The reform of the Security Council is not a mere exercise in ‘arithmetic’. Nor can it be reduced to the pursuit of a mathematical formula. Any attempts to turn the process into a majority-minority calculus would not only undermine mutual goodwill and trust, they would also prejudice our hopes of making collective progress.

I thank you.