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 K Nagaraj Naidu

Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

 

04 May 2021

 

Madam Co-chairs, Excellencies,

 

I would like to begin by thanking you for convening today’s meeting, to allow us to  discuss and respond to the paper circulated by  you along with your letter of 29 April. My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered earlier on behalf of the L.69 and the G4. While I will be commenting on the document you have circulated, let me preface my comments with the observation that we value your stewardship of this process so far and we appreciate your sincere efforts to have an inclusive process, including by giving us an opportunity to respond to your paper.

 

Madam Co-Chairs,

 

2. Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long you miss them. Through out this session, India has consistently called on this Assembly to seize the opportunity given to us by the milestone 75th anniversary year of the UN, to fulfill our leaders’ commitment to instill new life in our efforts towards early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council.

 

3. To this end, we have stressed that a transparent, inclusive and results-oriented process is essential if we are to move decisively towards a concrete outcome.  However, we are nowhere closer to Security Council Reform today than we we were 13 years ago. This is almost like waiting for a Moses to lead us to the Promised Land, and in the process, forgetting to walk. The only thing we have been doing for the past thirteen years of the IGN is delivering statements on the five thematic clusters - like the daredevil motorbike riders going around in circles in the well of death, driving without breaks. This state of affairs is in large part due to the very design of the IGN process – no application of UNGA rules of procedure, no maintenance of official records, and no single text to base our negotiations on. Consequently, our first touchstone for the utility of this paper is whether this document helps us to move towards a concrete outcome. My delegation’s answer is NO.

 

4. This document doesn’t help take the process forward in a result-oriented manner. It is by no means our contention that simply having a single negotiating document will resolve the differences in substantive positions – but it also undeniable that without such a text, we cannot even hope to take the first step in that direction.

 

Co-Chairs,

 

5. Talking of elements reminds me of alchemists. The true alchemists do not change lead into gold, they change the world into words. What we have in front of us today is essentially a document that builds on the existing Elements paper that was rolled over in June 2019. What we asked of you Co-Chairs, as alchemists of the IGN process, is a text which is structured and worded in a way that lends itself to be the focus of negotiations, with suitable attributions. This clearly has not happened.

 

6. Having said that, we would like to share with you some preliminary feedback for making this document more focused and amenable to a useful outcome.

 

7. First, a B ‘positive’ grade: The restructuring of the Elements paper to reflect convergences and divergences under each cluster is useful. This takes us an infinitesimal step closer to a more streamlined format, that allows for bridging differences one by one under each cluster or theme.

 

8. But then, a C ‘minus’ grade: The language is still more in the nature of a summary of ideas rather than a text where we can make changes. What we need is a text with specific positions, rather than a summary of positions. At least this will open the way for attributions in the document.

 

9. We feel that we can still go further in this regard – we can place all of the positions under each cluster, allowing groups and member states to indicate their support or disapproval. This would clearly showcase the areas of agreement, and the areas where more work is needed to move the process forward.

 

10. The two-page introduction can be substantially shortened or removed, and placed into an accompanying annexe or letter – this would bring the format closer to a normal negotiating document, which simply focuses on the various proposals on the table.

 

11. We  are encouraged to see a few attributed references, particular in the last cluster on regional representation. However, some of the positions indicated under the ‘regional representation’ section are not an accurate reflection of individual positions, and need to be corrected or elaborated. This shows again why clear attribution throughout the text, based on delegations’ own feedback, is important.

 

12. We would like to to reiterate the call for the full and accurate reference of the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, where it is included in Section. I, Convergence 4.

 

13. In Section. 1, Divergence 4, we  propose replacing the reference to “some delegations” with “a large number of delegations” to more accurately reflect the widespread support that was heard in this session for an improvement in IGN working methods. In fact, this should not be a divergence at all. We all agree that this is particularly important for smaller delegations, for whom following and engaging in the negotiations in the absence of any official records is extremely difficult.

 

14. In Section. 1, Convergence 8, a line that references the IGN process as “the legitimate and most appropriate platform” has been added although this was has not been previously agreed to by all member states.

 

Madam Co-Chairs,

 

15. While we hope that our feedback on the textual elements of the paper will be taken on board, I would like to stress that the most important issue going forward is that this document should become the basis of negotiations in the next IGN session. Without this clarity, we will be doomed to repeating yet another cycle of statements in the next session.

 

16. If, as Co-Chairs, you cannot change the situation, the only choice left for us Member States is to choose how we deal with it. As my delegation has mentioned earlier, lack of genuine progress in IGN will drive delegations away or make them look outside the IGN process to seek progress. It is as much in your hands as it is in ours to see that this doesn’t happen.

 

17. The Framework Document, and indeed all the other documents that have been generated in the course of the IGN so far, would of course continue to serve as important reference documents. The roll-over decision must reflect this clearly, allowing us to begin the next session with a focus on this particular document, working to fine-tune it and gradually create more convergences. To conclude, waiting for the perfect is never as smart as making progress. As always Co-Chairs, you will have India's full support in your efforts to achieve this.

 

I thank you.

 

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