Remarks by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the Interactive session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform (28 March 2018)

Co-Chairs,

We thank you for convening this interactive session today, and for providing us with a list of questions. I will aim to address some of these questions as well as respond to issues raised by other delegations yesterday.

If there is one lesson that could be readily drawn from our meeting yesterday, it is that there is no quick procedural fix to the issue of Security Council Reform. This was vividly evident from the discussion on para 6 (j) of the Co-Chairs’ revised paper, which aims to present selective and sanitized proposals on expansion in Security Council in a neatly arranged setting.

Instead of bringing more clarity and understanding, it seems to have ended up creating more ambiguity and polarization. In the end, we should be wary that what many depicted as the advent of spring, should not turn out to be a false dawn.

To my delegation, this outcome was not surprising, for a simplified approach, delinking positions from their underlying context, is in adequate; such an approach is bound to produce a flawed outcome. This is why my delegation and so many others also asked for the deletion of para 6J.

Unfortunately, we have seen this approach in the past too, where attempts have been made to paper-over fundamental differences in positions. No paper can obscure these divergences.

We also heard a suggestion that the IGN process should be extended beyond its scheduled timeframe. We may hold as many meetings as we wish, but unless, there is common understanding about the core objectives, and genuine efforts to secure that, progress will remain elusive. This goal can only be achieved by addressing our differences, not sidestepping them.

Co-Chairs,

We have carefully followed the discussion on regional representation, especially within the context of Article 24 of the UN Charter. While Article 24 empowers the Council to act on behalf of the membership, it also makes it incumbent on members of the Security Council, to act in good faith, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. After all, when the Council acts, it speaks for and on behalf of the UN as a whole.

Any sense of idealism however, quickly dissipates in the face of reality. It is obvious that the Council is dependent on its permanent members to initiate, back and enforce its decisions. Over the years, we have seen that the Council has adopted specific resolutions and pursued their implementation with resolve and vigour. At the same time, it has failed to implement many of its own resolutions, including on longstanding disputes. Unmistakably, the self-interest of permanent members is the primary impulse behind much Council action.

In this context, we find it hard to believe that a mere ‘pledge of sincerity’ by some individual aspirants, would suffice as an assurance for their ‘principled’ behaviour as permanent members of the Security Council.

This, of course, is completely different from the collective African aspiration for regional representation on behalf of an entire continent. I hope this would also speak to the issue raised by one of my distinguished colleagues, yesterday, which we understand and explained clearly.

Co-Chairs,

My delegation believes that, it is only in the non-permanent category that the ideal of equitable representation can prevail. A solution that offers more seats to the regions provides better opportunity for all member states, including cross-regional and sub-regional groups such as the OIC, the Arab Group and SIDS to serve on the Council. This is why the UfC proposes a significant increase in the number of elected seats for Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America – regional groups with more countries belonging to cross-regional and sub-regional groups.

Tellingly, the division of non-permanent seats is at the discretion of the General Assembly, and can be changed at any time provided there is the widest possible political acceptance without even recourse to the Security Council, much less an amendment to the Charter. What better response than this to the imperative of addressing ever-changing ‘global realities’.

With limitations on the overall size of the Council, any increase in the permanent category would, on the other hand, undermine the chance of meeting the aspirations of a majority of member states.

We were pleased to note that in our discussion yesterday, many non-UfC delegations member states endorsed the UfC’s regional representation proposal, based on expansion in the non-permanent category.

Co-Chairs,

We heard the principle of ‘democracy’ receive an enthusiastic endorsement, yesterday. Much as we are gratified by this, we would again stress that democracy is not merely an avowed ideal that could be conveniently placed with other high ideals in the preambular part of any ‘text’; rather, these principles are a touchstone, to calibrate respective positions across the five clusters.

The practical manifestation of these ideas within the context of regional representation is through non-permanent seats, based on periodic elections and rotation, offering the greater opportunities for all Member States to serve in the Council. We have said this before but it is worth repeating; Have you ever heard of Governments elected just once and in perpetuity, and for life in true democracies? Why should we apply at the international level what we don’t apply to our national contexts?

In conclusion, Co-Chairs let me reiterate Pakistan’s commitment to work for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council that is consistent with the spirit of our times, and is adaptable to constantly changing global realities.

I thank you.