Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at an Interactive Session of the Informal Meeting of the Plenary on the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council
(30 January 2019)

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

We thank you for convening this interactive session and for the comprehensive set of questions to guide our discussions, today.

A number of important points and key questions were also raised, yesterday. I will try to address some of them in my intervention.


We heard an assertion that given the perceived lack of progress in the IGN, it may be time to review the entire process with a view to pronounce on its fate.

This appears to us, to be an attempt by some to blame the ‘storm’ on the ‘ship’.

As the ship of the IGN finds itself afflicted by deep divisions among member states, their suggestion is to abandon it, altogether.

What we need is not to abandon ship, but instead, to join our sails to weather the storm – indeed, to ensure we remain on an IGN-centric course to make progress.

We believe that the quest by some to gain permanent seats for themselves remains the primary stumbling block. This was clearly evident from our discussions, yesterday.

Those calling for a review of the IGN process, should instead review their own positions.

Despite persistent differences on fundamental aspects of reform, the stubborn insistence on text-based negotiations is another attempt to artificially paper-over differences.

From this it is apparent is that what some seek is not text-based negotiations, but instead, to negotiate a particular ‘text’. That is unacceptable because no such agreement by all member states exists.

As for the point raised by one distinguished colleague, none of the examples and landmark documents he cited involved an amendment of the UN Charter. That’s the fundamental difference between this IGN and other processes.

Any procedural maneuvers are not only self-inhibiting, they are also counter-productive.

My country and other likeminded states do not want to take this road because this is a road to nowhere. We should not risk undermining the painstaking progress made within the IGN, just to advance the narrow interests of a few member states.

This firm view against any divisive or unilateral actions was clearly affirmed, yesterday.

After all, the reform process is not merely an end in itself; for us, it is also an expression of our abiding commitment to rules-based multilateralism.


We have also heard calls to attribute proposals to their proponents, ostensibly in the interest of transparency.

Tellingly, some of these calls have been made by those whose own identity remains in the realm of the unknown.

Apparently, they consider themselves excluded from the same standards of transparency that they expect of others.

Likewise, as some countries happen to have overlapping memberships, it would be helpful if respective positions are clarified.

For example, we note that the G-4 and L.69 have different positions on the question of veto.

For those belonging to both groups, does the right of veto become available with permanent membership or is it subject to a review?


Turning to your questions, all aspects of Security Council reform are inextricably intertwined and linked. The IGN process therefore, needs to focus on all interlinkages among all key issues, in a comprehensive and consistent manner, in a member-state driven process.

This remains the gold standard for the reform process, and has important implications for the IGN process, as well as positions and proposals of member states.

This is of course, without prejudice to the need to have more extensive discussions on the clusters of regional representation, categories of membership and the question of the veto. All the more so, as positions on these issues are not only widely divergent, they are also deeply entrenched.

This should also lead to a fundamental examination of positions against the ideals of a more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and effective Council. For example, in case of permanent category of seats let me pose some basic questions:

Unless these and other fundamental questions are addressed, progress will remain elusive.

In my statement, yesterday, I addressed, at length, the issue of advancing our work during the current session. As I noted, progress during the IGN is contingent not on any document, but on the commitment by all sides to engage in a meaningful and constructive manner, to address fundamental differences.

Without this commitment, the chasm between respective positions cannot be bridged.

In any case, as the Chairs’ document is meant to be a compendium of discussions during an IGN, it may well be provided at the end of each session.


The deepest imprint of the IGN undoubtedly remains on the Council’s Working Methods.

As non-permanent members have traditionally championed greater inclusiveness and transparency in the work of the Council, they have also played a leading role to this end.

During our last term on the Council (2012-13), my country played an active role in strengthening norms of accountability and transparency, especially through enhanced cooperation between the Council and Police and Troop Contributing Countries and organizing wrap-up sessions.

After all, the Council’s credibility cannot be strengthened from the outside if its informal and exclusive practices and working methods fails to adapt to the changing world.

Yet, despite its many advances, this is still a work in progress. Continued focus within the IGN would therefore, be important.

As for the role of the Co-Chairs to facilitate greater interaction between member states, we consider that the imperative of ‘openness, transparency and inclusiveness’ remains paramount. Initiatives so taken, like for example, the Council retreat held at the IPI, in March 2018, can complement, not replace, centrality of the IGN process.

In conclusion, Co-Chairs, we all espouse the ideal of a more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and efficient Council.

This is also an ideal that will make the UN ‘fit for purpose’ to confront the challenges of tomorrow.

The onus is collectively on us. After all, the UN will be as strong or as weak as we, the member states, wish it to be.

We cannot and should not fail this test.

I thank you.