Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro on behalf of the G4, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Informal Meeting of the General Assembly on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform
(Check against delivery)Madame and Mr. Co-Chairs,
Thank you for convening this second round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the G4 – Brazil, Germany, India and my own country, Japan.
First of all, I would like to make one assertion. There has never been a time like today when the need for Security Council reform has been recognized and the momentum for discussion has never been higher. The time is already ripe. There should be no more "artificial postponements" or "indefinite postponements." Let the IGN debate proceed.
Madame and Mr. Co-Chairs,
The cluster of “categories of membership” is the core of the reform.
Unfortunately, whether we approve it or not, the dynamics of the Council gives permanent members a differentiated status in the decision making process. We must not be oblivious to the fact that permanent members have an influence on the decisions of the Security Council that elected members simply cannot match. That is the reason why any meaningful reform of the Council must address the current imbalance in the composition of the permanent membership of the body. The legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council depends on this.
If you leave the source of the problems untouched, the problems will never be resolved. Avoiding the real root causes of the problems, such as adding longer-term non-permanent members, would rather complicate the problems. What should be addressed is the structural imbalance between the permanent members and the others, not creating another category of the membership.
Only when the permanent seats are expanded, can the decisions of the Council reflect the interests of the broader membership. Only new permanent members, coupled with additional non-permanent members, can redress the structural imbalances, represent the world in a more balanced way, and thus can enhance legitimacy and effectiveness of the decisions of the Council.
That is exactly why we support the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. Without permanent members from the Africa, how can the Council reflect African interests at the core level of the decision-making and thereby redressing the historical injustice against Africa? We often hear the call for increased representation of Africa, but sometimes it is not really clear whether or not they really support new African permanent members.
A significant number of Member States support the expansion in both categories. We would like you attribute their positions in the relevant section of the revised Co-chairs’ Paper.
Second, on the cluster of “the question of Veto”.
Due to the use of veto, the Security Council has at times failed to fulfill its responsibility to maintain international peace and security. We have seen these failures are seriously undermining the legitimacy of this important body on multiple occasions.
Thus, the question of veto requires profound and serious discussions.
The G4’s positions on the veto are well known. We also fully support the Common African Position, and also appreciates some initiatives to limit the use of veto in certain circumstances, such as the “Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity” initiated by France and Mexico as well as the “Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes”.
We request the Co-chairs to duly reflect the G4’s position in the revised Cochairs’ Paper with attribution in each relevant paragraph of the Divergences section on “The question of Veto.”
The G4 remains open to discuss various options on the table. However, at the same time, any effort to seek convergence in this regard cannot be realized without a text that accurately attributes each position and proposal of the Member States.
This brings us to our third point; we need to change of modalities of the IGN.
Madame and Mr. Co-Chairs,
After all these years of “intergovernmental negotiations,” we still don't even have a zero draft text that compiles the positions attributed to the delegations participating in the discussions, nor do we have a single factual account or record of the IGN proceedings. This apparent flaw in the format of the IGN is making us go around in circles instead of moving forward. Without such a document to base our discussions on, there will never be any progress towards convergence of views. We need some progress if we want to save the legitimacy of the Council.
The two clusters we discuss today are marked by different positions among the membership. Some have suggested that this means we cannot even begin negotiating. We disagree. To the contrary, we must begin text-based negotiations.
If we believe in the United Nations, we should overcome this challenge by recognizing everyone’s positions accurately as a first step. The IGN document describing our disagreements, concretely with attributions, will allow countries to better understand each other's positions, and pave the way for true text-based negotiations.
We would like to request you, Co-Chairs, to update the Elements Paper on a regular basis, starting right after this meeting, so that the next cycle of discussions would take place during this session based on the updated and improved Co-Chairs' Paper.
I thank you.