NEW YORK – Reforming the United Nations Security Council “is possible, but compromise is needed to achieve broad-based consensus”. As the debate on the reform took off again in 2015, this is the message launched on Thursday by the Italian Representative of Italy Sebastiano Cardi in name of the group uniting for Consensus.
“A spirit of compromise and flexibility is necessary”, if Member States want to achieve results. As in the past UfC is opposed to the creation of new permanent seats (which is what countries like Germany, Japan, India and Brazil are proposing) and reiterated its 2014 proposal in favor of a new category of membership, based onlonger term non-permanent seats, with the possibility of animmediate re-election to allow for fair and equitable representation and rotation. UfC also continues to support an increase in the number of two-year non- permanent seats for a total of up to 26 members.
The logic of the proposal is that the new category of longer term non-permanent seats and an appropriate increase in two-year non-permanent seats could guarantee better representation among regional groups as well as Small States, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Such an increase in the membership of the Council could also provide avenues to account for the aspirations of cross- regional and sub-regional groups. Re-election and rotation of seats would be left to the autonomous arrangements within each regional group.
During the meeting the Chair of the Intergovernamental Negotiations (IGN), Jamaican Ambassador Courtnay Rattray, distributed a “framework document” asking input from member states on the major issues of the reform. Ufc asked that no artificial timeline is to be imposed on Member States throughout the negotiatons, “as it endangers the principles of mutual respect and runs counter to the goal of seeking a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance”. In particular, as stated in the UfC 2015 proposal, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations “should not serve as an artificial deadline that could ultimately constrain, or even derail negotiations”.
The legitimacy of the Council depends not only – or even primarily – on its composition, but on its transparency, accountability and effectiveness, said UFC. It is not just about who takes decisions, but most importantly the inclusive and democratic nature of decision-making.
Transparency in the work of the Security Council should be enhanced through, for instance, better access to information, an increase in open briefings, and greater interaction with the General Assembly and other interested parties, including TCCs/PCCs and regional and sub-regional organizations. Specific guidelines are already envisaged in the UN Charter: for example, the requirement that the Council reports on a regular basis to the Assembly, and through “special reports” on specific occasions.
The main objective of such procedures is to make executive bodies accountable to the Assemblies that elect them. Accountability is therefore enshrined in the Charter, and should be fully implemented. (AB, March 26, 2015)