General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Open Debate on Working Methods

[Tuesday, 5 September 2023; 1000 hrs]


Statement by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations



Thank you, Mr. President. We also wish to thank your delegation Albania, as the chair of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG), for organizing an open debate on this important topic for the second year in a row. I also thank the briefers for their useful insights into the topic.


2. This is an issue of interest and importance to the entire membership of the United Nations, particularly during the current extraordinary circumstances, when the world looks to the Security Council for solutions and leadership.


3. Let me attempt to summarize our main concerns on the need to improve the working methods of the Security Council. At a micro level, as an eight-term elected member of the UNSC, we would like to submit the following FIVE issues of key concern:


One, selection of chairs of subsidiary bodies and distribution of penholderships must be made through a process which is open, transparent, based on exhaustive consultations, and with a more integrated perspective. The consensus of E-10 on chairs of subsidiary bodies to be assumed by the E-10 themselves must be honoured by the P5. For the P5 to decide, even in the 21st century, as to what roles should go eventually to the E10, reflects a continuation of the mindset of the post 1945 era: to the victors belong the spoils. This is simply unacceptable.


Two, the working methods of the UNSC Sanctions Committees continue to dent the credibility of the UN Security Council. For genuine, evidence-based listing proposals for globally sanctioned terrorists to be blocked without giving any due justification is uncalled for and smacks of double speak when it comes to Council’s commitment in tackling the challenge of terrorism. The working methods of Sanctions Committees must emphasize transparency, objectivity in listing and delisting and should not be based on political considerations.


Three, obsoleteness and irrelevance of some of its agenda items. Mr. President, there are items on the agenda of the Security Council on which discussions have NOT taken place since the UN’s creation. There is a case for beginning a discussion into the review of items on the list of matters of which the Council is seized, in a realistic and forward-looking manner and Note 507 on procedural matters provides ample guidance on this.


Four, and most importantly, merely fixing the working methods of the Security Council will never be good enough to rectify its fundamental flaw, its lack of representative character. To continue to deny member states of the Global South a voice and role in Council’s decision making only lowers the Council’s credibility.


Five, UNGA Decision 62/557 – which all member states subscribe to has identified five pillars of comprehensive reform of the UNSC – of which improvement in working methods is just one. Therefore, unless we address the issue in its entirety, we would continue to be accused of adopting a “piecemeal approach” to a systemic flaw.


4. What we therefore need is a Security Council that better reflects the geographical and developmental diversity of the United Nations today. A Security Council where voices of developing countries and unrepresented regions, including Africa, Latin America and the vast majority of Asia and Pacific, find their due place at this horse shoe table. And for this, an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership is absolutely essential. This is the only way to bring the Council’s composition and decision-making dynamics in line with contemporary geo-political realities.


5. We can no more hide behind the smokescreen of the IGN in the UN General Assembly and continue to pay lip service by continuing to deliver statements in a process which has no time frame, no text and no defined goal to achieve. If countries are truly interested in making the Council more accountable and more credible, we call on them to come out openly and support a clear pathway to achieve this reform in a time bound manner, through the only established process in the UN, which is by engaging in negotiations based on text and not through speaking at each other, or past each other, as we have done for the last three decades.


6. As the threats to international peace and security evolve, so must this Council. We ask those blocking progress on this vital issue to heed the calls for genuine reform, and contribute to making this Council truly fit for purpose for the 21st century.


Thank you!