Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN at the second meeting of the IGN on Security Council Reform (4 March 2020)

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Italy on behalf of the UfC Group.

As reflected in your letter of 24 February, the decision to focus this meeting on the cluster of ‘regional representation’ is apt. Both words are significant. The reform of the Council should enhance the “representation” of all UN Member States. And, it should enhance “equitable regional representation” in accordance with Articles 23 (1) and (2) of the UN Charter. The discussion of these objectives will also amplify the implications for our consideration of other clusters, especially “categories of membership”. It also responds to one of the specific proposals made by the African Group during our first meeting to organize the current session of the IGN.


Equitable representation has been the primary impulse behind all Security Council reform efforts. In 1945, the Council represented 20% of the membership of the UN. Today, it represents 8% of the membership. Nearly a third of the membership has never served on the Council. Equitable representation implies the ability of all UN Member States to serve on the Council through the resort to rotation. Thus, the Council’s membership/size must be expanded to embrace the possibility of every UN Member State being elected to the Council. The Council may not ever represent 20% of the UN’s membership but if expanded to 25-26, it could represent 14% of the UN Member States. If the 5 permanent members are excluded, the 20 elected members could represent 15% of the rest of the UN Membership. This is the core of the UfC proposal and position.

On the other hand, if we adopt the position of some to add 6 new permanent seats and 4/5 non-permanent members to the Council’s present composition, the elected/non-permanent seats open to the general UN Membership would amount to 8.3% - exactly what we have at present. This would defeat the very purpose of Council reform for all UN Member States except the 6 new “permanent” members.

Some of the current dissatisfaction with the Council stems in large measure from the existence and role of permanent members, how can we redress this dissatisfaction by reinforcing them?

Only an acceptable formula with an increase in the non-permanent members, and rotation through democratic elections, can provide more equitable representation for all States on the Council. Such rotation, combined with regional representation, offers possibilities for a fuller representation of members of various groups of states.

In the Charter, the principle of equitable representation is supplemented by the aim of equitable geographical distribution. The additional 10-11 seats in an expanded Security Council should be distributed on the basis of the number of Member States from each of the traditionally recognized regions in the UN. Africa is the largest regional group and should thus have proportionately higher representation.

The African position, that Africa reserves the right to nominate its own representatives on the Council and to hold them accountable to the region collectively, has introduced a new and potentially promising avenue to evolve agreement on Council reform. While the UfC does not endorse expansion of Membership in the permanent category, we are open to idea that the members to be elected to the Security Council should be nominated and held accountable by their respective regions. In this respect, the African proposal for the creation of 2 “permanent” seats for Africa is very different from the 4 self-nominated candidatures. As we understand it, the African Model is for two “empowered” seats that would be “permanent”, and the States nominated against their seats would be rotated if and when decided by the African Group itself. If this approach is applied to all regions, it could help evolve agreement on Security Council reform. Other regions should be enabled to decide on their own arrangements for representation on the Council. Unfortunately, some delegations here while supporting the African regional position are unwilling to apply a regional approach to their own regions.

We believe that the UfC proposal is sufficiently flexible to find a “size” that fits all. As outlined by Ambassador Zappia earlier today, allows “variable arrangements” and different possibilities and options, combining rotation and longer-term presence, through re-election as well as regional representation. Applied flexibly and equitably, the UfC proposal would ensure wider representation for regional groups, such as the African Union and the Arab Group, cross-regional groups, such as the OIC which has legitimate political interests to promote and defend in the Council. The UfC proposal is dynamic and has the capacity to absorb and accommodate not only the present but also future “realities” to which references have been made frequently in our debates. Global power realities change those who consider themselves qualified for permanent membership today may not be qualified for such a privilege in the future. This may indeed be the case for some of the present permanent members. We cannot ask for ‘permanent’ solutions to ‘transient’ realities. That error was made in 1945; we should not repeat it 75 years later.


It is evident that divergences continue to persist on fundamental aspects of reform. These differences cannot be sidestepped. ‘Procedural’ fixes cannot provide answers to ‘substantive’ issues. Our discussions last year on paragraph 6J demonstrated the risk of truncating and simplifying positions without considering the underlying nuances and interlinkages. In our view, proposals to merge the two documents could expose us to similar risks. In any case, there is no mandate to merge these two documents or conduct text-based negotiations.

We are strongly opposed to open ‘parallel fronts’ or impose procedures on the IGN to contrive progress. Such efforts could derail the reform process. This would be great disservice to our collective commitment to comprehensive, equitable and effective reform of the Security Council.

Similarly, the proposal for the ‘webcast’ of the IGN proceedings is ultra vires of the procedures and spirit of our work in this forum. The IGN process is not a ‘spectacle’, to be advertized. It is a ‘dialogue’. If we are serious about engaging each other in this process, if we are serious about finding ways to reconcile divergent positions, we must retain the collegiality and informality of the IGN process. Political gamesmanship will retard rather than advance our common objectives of building the widest possible support for an effective and equitable and comprehensive reform of the Security Council.

We are confident that under your able leadership, the membership will continue to tread a consensual path towards achieving a reform enjoying the widest support of Member States. You can count on our full support to this objective.

I thank you.