Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN at the 5th meeting of the IGN on Security Council reform (June 6, 2018)

Co-Chairs,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by Ambassador Cardi on behalf of the UfC, and let me also add my voice to the tributes being paid to his leadership and contribution to the IGN. He will surely be missed.

Co-Chairs,

We thank you for your letter dated 18 May, circulating an updated version of your document, and the opportunity to discuss the two clusters of ‘Relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly’, and ‘Size and Working Methods’ during this meeting.

The IGN process needs to focus on all key issues and interlinkages between them. It is equally important that positions of member states correlate to these issues in a comprehensive and consistent manner.

Co-Chairs,

We all know that divergent viewpoints exist on fundamental aspects of the reform process.

Against this backdrop, your paper provides a useful reference point, reflecting your perspectives and views on the process, and remains your paper.

We do not subscribe to any understanding of the paper that aims to ascribe its ownership to member states.

While reviewing the paper, it is evident that a number of ‘inaccuracies’ from the earlier versions of the paper, have spilled over into the latest revision, as well. This is despite the fact that my delegation and many others have consistently drawn attention to them.

Thus, we have underscored that an element does not become a commonality by its mere placement.

In so doing, we have not sought to remove any ‘commonality’ but only to reflect the ‘reality’. And the reality is that there is consensus only on expansion in the non-permanent category. Any claim to the contrary is a fallacy, and deserves to be treated, as such.

From the objections voiced by member states to paragraph 6(J), it is apparent that they are a reaction to an attempt to simplify and truncate divergent positions and to artificially merge them together. These voices validate our misgivings about this paragraph.

We cannot paper-over our differences. They need to be addressed. At a time when some appear engaged in the self-assigned task of harmonizing your paper, what is actually needed is to harmonize our collective effort to reach a consensual outcome.

There is no other pathway to making progress.

That is why I will focus on what you, Co-Chairs, have asked us to do in today’s session.

The relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly is mutually reinforcing and is founded on the over-arching principles of responsibility and accountability.

However, as we have seen all too often, the Council has frequently acted in a selective and arbitrary manner; and the membership has often proven to be largely ineffectual in scrutinizing Council actions or to participate in its work.

The vital institutional relationship between the two core organs of the UN needs to be reinvigorated. This entails strengthening the Council’s accountability and transparency through greater participation and access to the work of the Security Council and its subsidiary organs by all members of the General Assembly.

We believe that this ideal can only be achieved if democratic principles are placed at the heart of, and define, the Council’s composition.

The best way to ensure a responsible and accountable Council is to strengthen the role and authority of the General Assembly in determining its representation in the Council. The Council can be made more broadly representative of the general membership by adding electable non-permanent seats which would reflect the interests of all member states – small, medium and large.

Co-Chairs,

An expansion in the size of the Security Council is also an imperative of greater representation – after all, membership of the UN has grown by over seventy percent since the last expansion in the Council, in 1963.

The representative character of an enlarged Council however, needs to be balanced against the need to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness.

As true representation is inherently linked to active and continuous accountability, any measure of effectiveness is contingent on redressing the Council’s existing dysfunctionalities, and not reinforcing them.

The only satisfactory outcome to meet these twin objectives is through an expansion in the elected non-permanent category of seats.

We can therefore, only marvel at the ingenuity or dis-ingenuity of those who offer solutions that reduce the margin of representation between the permanent and elected members, yet, promote them in the name of a more representative and effective Council.

When a third of the membership has never served on the Council, these solutions aim to further the self interests of a few, at the expense of the many who may, in consequence, be deprived from ever serving on the Council.

What is needed is to strengthen the representation of elected members on the Council, not to emasculate their existing role.

Co-Chairs,

The debate on the Council’s working methods is centered on the need to enhance transparency, openness and inclusive decision making in the functioning of the Council.

Through its various initiatives, the Council’s working methods have remained the most fertile and promising ground for reform.

For reasons all too apparent, the impulse for this reform has primarily come from non-permanent members of the Council. Having served on the Council seven times, we speak from that experience.

Any expansion in the permanent category can imperil these gains.

We have heard expressions of sincerity by some individual aspirants that as permanent members of the Council, they would prioritize collective good over individual interest.

These claims however, fail to stand the test of scrutiny especially when they are calibrated against the telling evidence of the Council’s conduct during the last 70 years.

We know only too well that the Permanent members of the Council jealously guard their territory. There is no reason to believe that that any new permanent members would act otherwise.

We cannot allow the ideal of a more transparent and open Council to be mortgaged to the narrow interests of a few.

Co-Chairs,

As we approach the end of this IGN session, we cannot help but feel a sense of disappointment that some have continued to pursue simplistic solutions to substantive issues.

This approach has not worked in the past. It will not work now.

At this moment in time, when multilateralism confronts unprecedented challenge from all sides, we are more convinced than ever that any ill-conceived reform of the Security Council would be the greatest disservice to the rules-based international order whose pivot is the UN.

The burden of a large, unwieldy and inefficient Council, confounded by an enlarged, privileged clique, is an end-state that my delegation neither desires, nor will ever support.

I thank you.