General Assembly General Assembly

75th UN General Assembly 

Informal meeting of the Plenary on the Intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council 

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

 

19 April 2021

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Madam Co-Chairs,

 

Thank you for convening this fourth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform. Allow me also to express my appreciation to you Co-Chairs for the efforts you have put in over the last three rounds to make progress in the IGN.

 

2. At the outset, I would like to align my position with the statements delivered earlier this morning by the distinguished Permanent Representative of St Vincent and the Grenadines, on behalf of the L.69 Group of Developing Countries, as well as the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Japan on behalf of the G-4.

 

Co-Chairs,

 

3. Over the course of the three IGN meetings held so far this year, you have had a chance to hear delegations and groupings re-state their positions on the five thematic clusters of UNSC reform, and engage in discussions on these clusters during the interactive sessions. These substantive positions are by now well-known, and thanks to your well-planned schedule of meetings, we were able to cover them in three meetings, with time to spare. Today, we finally come to what really is the “business end” of our work - IGN documentation, and more critically, the only logical next step: genuine negotiations based on a single text.

 

4. The path that we have adopted in the last 13 years of the IGN has been of articulating positions, at times clarifying them, and orally responding to views. Over the course of these years, this has resulted in a wide range of documents, leading up to the two documents mentioned in the IGN roll-over decision of 2020. Of these, the 2015 Framework Document collates the positions and proposals of some 2/3rds of Member States who submitted their inputs, while 2019 Elements Paper, which has not seen substantive updating in some time, attempts a grouping of these positions into areas of commonalities and further consideration, without allowing for attributions.

 

5. Both these documents are important in the sense that they serve to facilitate our understanding of the various positions on Security Council reform, which as this session has shown, have not changed significantly in substance.

 

6. However, it is important to understand that these compilation texts are not negotiating documents. A single text upon which negotiations are based is at the core of every normal UN process which is designed to achieve a concrete outcome. Our IGN remains the only UN intergovernmental process devoid of such a text. This ‘design flaw’ of the IGN is the central reason why, after years of deliberations, we have next to nothing to show for our efforts. There are of course, those among us who are quite content with this state of affairs. We remind them again that the IGN was set up to decide, not deliberate, on Security Council reform.

 

7. This brings me what we feel is the only way to fulfill the solemn commitment made by our leaders to “instill new life” in this IGN process, thereby maintaining its very credibility and relevance. That is through a single negotiating text with attributions, which should be in a format that lends itself to genuine negotiations. We will fully support you to make this happen.

 

8. The single negotiating text we seek should form the basis and starting point of our discussions in the next IGN session. We are not seeking yet another compilation or summary document to add to our list of existing IGN documents. As I have said earlier, these existing compilations will continue to serve as important reference texts for our negotiations.

 

9. We trust in your capabilities and judgement in incorporating the positions you have heard in this session, and those that are listed in the existing compilation texts, to come up with a single text that does not leave any proposal or any group out. We also trust that you would then allow us the opportunity, through further meetings to be scheduled the upcoming weeks, to give our feedback and views on your draft. Groups that feel that their positions are inadequately or inaccurately reflected would have a chance to correct it. This would leave us, at the end of this session, with a single document to be rolled over, on which we can focus our negotiations in the next IGN session. We are convinced that it’s only a text-based negotiations that build consensus.

 

10. In essence, what we are seeking is a structured format of a single document that can be negotiated, one issue at a time, and gradually updated as progress is made. We may hear some cynical voices say that a single negotiating document alone will not ensure progress. Those advocating this have not explained adequately why is it that something which works in every process at the UN, and is the modus operandi of multilateral diplomacy, will not work in this process. Also, when everything else has been tried, the possibility of this option working is now not merely a choice anymore, it is a necessity. 

 

Co-Chairs,

 

11. Allowing any further delay in normalizing the IGN process endangers the legitimacy and credibility of this mechanism and of the General Assembly itself. We can no longer be seen as not having a normal process even as all other aspects of UN reform, launched much later, move towards fruition. You can be assured of our continued cooperation and support as you lead this process.

 

Thank you

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