Uniting for Consensus launches its PROPOSAL for the reform of the United Nations Security Council
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM IS POSSIBLE
Compromise to achieve broad-based consensus is needed
UNITING FOR CONSENSUS IS COMMITTED TO THIS APPROACH:
There is widespread agreement that comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is in the collective interest of Member States and the United Nations system as a whole. Member States have put forward important ideas and initiatives that merit consideration in our reform debate. However, on fundamental aspects wide divergences among Member States persist and consensus on these critical issues remains elusive.
Member States have nevertheless agreed on certain fundamental principles. For example, the five elements of UNSC reform – as identified in GA Decision 62/557 – are well understood. Equally, many Member States, from across regional groups, have clearly indicated that credible and viable reform of the Council requires a comprehensive approach, addressing each of the core issue areas simultaneously.
Our goal remains a more representative, democratic, accountable, transparent and effective UN Security Council – one that can take timely decisions in support of international peace and security.
To achieve this, and as we have worked in the past, text-based negotiations must continue to be driven by Member States themselves, based on a text that has already garnered consensus from the entire membership. The Uniting for Consensus group (UFC), like many others, has always supported Rev2, and believes that it is a basis on which negotiations should commence. It is in our collective interest and it is our collective responsibility to move this process forward.
The 70th anniversary of the United Nations should not serve as an artificial deadline that could ultimately constrain, or even derail negotiations. Rather it is an important opportunity for all Member States to recommit themselves to negotiate in good faith and in the spirit of compromise.
CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP
In 2014, UFC announced its support for a new category of membership, based on longer term non-permanent seats, with the possibility of an immediate 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.
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.
While outright abolition of the veto would be ideal, in the immediate term our negotiations should address how to best limit the use of veto in circumstances that include, but are not limited to, mass atrocities.
WORKING METHODS AND SIZE
We could support a UNSC of up to 26 members in total – a Council that is more representative of the international community as a whole while preserving the principles of democracy and accountability to Member States.
The legitimacy of the Council depends not only – or even primarily – on its composition, but on its transparency, accountability and effectiveness. 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.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
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.