Joint G4 Statement by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Informal Meeting of the General Assembly, Second Intergovernmental Meeting on Security Council Reform

(As delivered)

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the G4 countries—Brazil, Germany, India, and my own country Japan. At the outset, I thank you for convening today’s IGN meeting. The G4 extends our full support to the Co-Chairs as we continue this process.

The G4 appreciates your request that we not repeat our existing positions today, and our group is ready to discuss the three clusters and their interlinkages. However, we wonder how much progress we will be able to make without basing our discussions on a document. I brought along today a copy of the statement delivered by my colleague Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin of India on behalf of the G4 in March of 2017, two years ago. This statement clearly lays out the G4’s position. Now I could in fact read much of the same statement again today and others could do likewise with their own prior statements. I have also brought along the “Handbook on Security Council Reform: 25 Years of Deliberations,” which was studiously compiled by St. Vincent and the Grenadines on behalf of the L.69 group. This book, more than 400 pages in all (and more documents contained in USB), chronicles a quarter century of discussions we have already had, and makes it clear that we already know each other’s positions quite well. Having discussed for many years, we are now in a stage to discuss what the middle ground is and how we can close the gaps.
The G4 therefore strongly believes that the most effective way to use these meetings is to conduct our deliberations based on a paper, as we do with all other important UN issues. Yes, the reform of the Security Council is critical and politically sensitive, but there is no reason for the process to be different from our deliberations on other essential issues, such as climate change or the Sustainable Development Goals, or past structural reforms to the UN such as the creation of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. In all these instances, Member States held a wide array of different views, but all agreed on the necessity for action. We bridged those differences through text-based negotiations to achieve the widest possible support. Let us do so here as well.

Without negotiating based on a document, we fear that this session of the IGN will resemble those of the previous 10 years. Nevertheless, as today’s discussion centers on the three clusters under consideration, here is the G4’s view being repeated yet again:
  • First, on the question of categories of membership, the G4, along with an overwhelming majority of the Member States, is convinced that only an expansion in both permanent and nonpermanent categories can produce a truly representative Council. Only an expansion in both categories will overcome the current imbalance of influence and grant the Council the legitimacy it needs going forward. An expansion only in the non-permanent category, by contrast, will leave developing countries and multiple regions underrepresented in the permanent category.
We reiterate that the new realities and developing countries need to be reflected in the permanent membership. This should include appropriate representation of Africa in the Council in both categories.
  • Second, on the question of regional representation, the G4 believes that the basis of the UN Charter is that States represent themselves in the UN’s organs, including the Security Council, but that due regard should be given to geographic representation. Today’s Council does not reflect the world at large. The G4’s proposal will ensure proper regional representation in both categories of membership. The addition of new permanent members will make this category more geographically representative and correct historic injustices to regions with no permanent members. And the addition of new nonpermanent members will allow Member States to ensure adequate and continuing representation of small and medium-sized Member States, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as cross-regional arrangements, to ensure a truly representative Council.
  • Third, on the question of the veto, the G4 believes that new permanent members should on principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as current permanent members, but that new permanent members shall not exercise the veto-right until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review, to be held 15 years after the reform comes into force. We are ready to discuss alternatives with other delegations and groups.

The G4’s position is shared by a wide majority of the membership, and we are ready to work with all Member States to find our way to early reform of the council. But to do this, we must work on and have discussions using a document—a document with attribution, a document that properly reflects the views of all Member States and groups, a document that in particular gives due regard to the Common African Position, as espoused in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
As we stated in our statement delivered by our colleague Ambassador Mauro Vieira of Brazil in the last meeting, we should discuss the revised “Elements of Commonalities and Issues for further consideration” paper from last year as it incorporates the work of the previous two years. Further, as our colleague from Sierra Leone on behalf of the C10 mentioned in the previous meeting, we could revisit the 2015 framework document for further improving our work. We should find ways to harmonize these two papers. What is important is to advance our deliberations by working based on a single concrete document drawn from our prior discussions. And if a Member State is truly committed to reforming the Council, it is quite natural that they should be supportive of such negotiations. We would like to hear your views as to how you plan to move ahead on this crucial issue.

Today and tomorrow we will have an in-depth discussion on three clusters and hear views of other Member States. However, our future work of this session should be devoted not to repeating our well-known positions, but to refining the document based on this discussion as well as our prior work. In this context, the G4 is of the view that we can and should have more meetings in the IGN, not just five meetings by the end of May but also meetings in June, July, and September. We believe that is what we should do, assuming everyone in this room is indeed committed to the task of reforming the Council.
I thank you.