Security Council Reform should be guided by Principles of Democracy: Ambassador Lodhi 

New York, 14 June, 2017

At the UN, Pakistan called for reform of the Security Council to be guided by the principles of democracy and representativeness.

Speaking in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi responded forcefully to a handful of countries which seek permanent seats for themselves.

Representatives of some of these states had argued against including the principle of democracy in a document prepared by the co-chairs of the IGN, which identified democracy and representativeness as shared principles of the UN membership, which should be taken into consideration in reforming the Security Council.

The Pakistani envoy said that those interventions during the IGN, which objected to inclusion of these principles of democracy left “many of us dumbfounded”.

Assailing the aspirants for permanent seats in an expanded Security Council, Ambassador Lodhi said, “it was the first time we are hearing someone speak against the notion of democracy and representativeness in the august chambers of the United Nations”.

She said while they agree on practicing democracy at home these countries argue here that it should not be practiced at the UN.

She also responded to another argument advanced by aspirants for permanent seats, that “because the Security Council was not democratic at present, its future should also be shorn of democracy and that application of the principle of democracy to its reform should be cast aside.”

While agreeing that the Council’s present composition was not sufficiently democratic, Ambassador Lodhi stressed that this was precisely the reason why “any reform should strive to make the Council more democratic.”

The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.

Pakistan belongs to a group of countries called the Uniting for Consensus (UfC), which favour democratic reform of the Security Council by adding more non-permanent seats. The Italy/Pakistan-led UfC group opposes any additional permanent members on the grounds that this contravenes the 21st century’s established and widely accepted principles of democracy, accountability, and representativeness, as well as the precept of equality among member states.

Ambassador Lodhi also called for inclusion of the UfC proposal in the document under discussion. The UfC has offered to work towards a compromise solution based on longer term non-permanent members and a possibility to get re-elected once, in an effort to make the Security Council more representative, while strengthening its democratic credentials and accountability to the wider UN membership.