Pakistan urges UN Security reform on a democratic basis

New York, 21 November, 2018

At the UN, Pakistan pressed for reform of the Security Council on a democratic basis to make the present 15-member body more representative, accountable, transparent and effective.

Speaking in the General Assembly in the debate on the ‘Question of equitable representation and increase in membership of the Security Council’, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that Pakistan’s principled position was based on its firm commitment to a rules-based international order.

She argued that adding new permanent members to the Council would not address the inherent dysfunctionalities stemming from the Security Council’s permanent membership and the veto. It would instead reinforce them.

New permanent seats, Ambassador Lodhi stressed would create fresh chains of inherited privilege and “would invariably threaten, not strengthen, norms of democracy, accountability and transparency in the Council”.

Those seeking such a status, she maintained, were offering “fixed solutions to transient situations”.

“It also undermines the democratic and representative nature of the reform process”, she added.

“For us”, the Pakistani envoy stressed, “the reform process is not an end in itself; but an expression of our commitment to the fundamentals of multilateralism”.

It is also based on “an outlook that prizes a spirit of flexibility and compromise to achieve common good, as against unilateralist approaches that aim at achieving narrow self-serving interests”, she maintained.

Articulating Pakistan’s vision for Security Council reform, Ambassador Lodhi said that the Council should be “in sync with the ever-changing and dynamic global landscape”.

She pointed out that, “in an environment where nearly a third of the membership have never served on the Council, an expansion in the permanent category at the cost of non-permanent members would significantly diminish prospects for many smaller states to ever be elected to the Council”.

Ambassador Lodhi also addressed the issue of veto in her statement and asked how a larger body would reconcile the interests of its members when it could not do this in the case of its current permanent members.

“It is imperative”, Ambassador Lodhi stressed, “that UN does not merely act on behalf of member states, but acts for them; and that it not only embraces the spirit of our times, but also epitomize these values”.

The Pakistani envoy underscored that non-permanent members had traditionally championed greater inclusiveness and transparency in the work of the Council.

Ambassador Lodhi concluded by saying that the negotiating process should identify convergences and build on them. She said that “finding common ground required flexibility and compromise by all sides”.

“Anything less”, she added “would be regression not reform”.