Monday, November 30, 2015

Archives for 2013

“New Approaches to the Security Council Reform”

Statement by H.E. Dr. Zahir Tanin

Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and

increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters  At the meeting on

“New Approaches to the Security Council Reform”

Rome, Italy

4 February 2013


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would first like to extend my appreciation to our Co-Chairs the Honourable Minister Giulio Terzi and Secretary of State Gonzalo De Benito of Spain, for hosting this important Ministerial Meeting and for their earlier remarks. I also wish to thank the Italian Government for their hospitality in bringing us together again in the historic city of Rome.

For me, as the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, it is encouraging to see capitals, like our hosts today, investing in the reform process by organising meetings such as this third conference here in Rome. An active engagement of capitals is a key component in the reform process. These international meetings are an important factor in this equation and I welcome the pertinent questions framed in the concept paper for this meeting.

In New York we have undergone eight rounds of negotiations on Security Council reform. Our most recent round saw marked progress in regards to deepening interaction and dialogue amongst Member States. We witnessed a notable increase in the momentum of the process, and the beginning of real give and take. This is progress which should not be lost.

The eighth round allowed the membership to study in depth and discuss the proposals of five groupings of Member States. However, the focus on the five Member States’ initiatives has meant that there has not been an opportunity to fully explore all models for Security Council reform. It could prove to be productive to address these options in the current session of the General Assembly.

Together, since 2009, we have created a number of milestones. Member States came together around the idea of text based negotiations, which reflects the positions of all Member States. The next logical step from here, as suggested in my letter of 25 July 2012, would be to work towards genuine give and take based on a concise working document. It is my hope that this suggestion, and others contained within my letter, even if they are not a point of agreement for all, they can be points for discussion. As Chair I am committed to moving the negotiations forward, impartial to any position and yet partial to progress.

I have undertaken a number of consultations with Member States and groupings of States in the last months. I will be continuing these consultations in the coming weeks with all who wish to discuss the way forward during the 67th Session of the General Assembly. This continuing interaction with Member States will help to shape our collective thinking about the progress of Security Council reform negotiations this year. After this period of consultations we will need to re-focus our efforts within informal plenary, allowing all Member States to weigh in on our next steps during this General Assembly session.

Revision three of the text is now undergoing an update to reflect letters received from Member States, to ensure all positions are correctly reflected in the text. As a result of this update, the text will stand as an accurate reflection of all the positions on the table, to be used by Member States as a point of reference and possibly a tool for negotiations.

Early reform was envisioned by our leaders in 2005 and is encapsulated in the World Summit Outcome Document. Our effort towards this objective requires genuine political will from all stake holders in the process. As I outlined in my letter, to ensure that the current process of the Intergovernmental Negotiations is truly assisting us towards an early reform, it should not be seen as an open-ended process. There is a widespread reluctance against “artificial deadlines” but there is an equally widespread demand for concrete results.

Member States have expressed a wish for negotiations in which they can undergo genuine give and take. To achieve this, it would be helpful to hear from Member States about what would bring the process to this point and how Member States intend on contributing to that. In my view, this conversation would be central to our next discussions about Security Council reform, whether here in Rome or with all Member States at the United Nations in New York.

This conference’s focus on “new approaches” is important. We all agree that Member States must be the drivers of this process so it is indeed time for Member States to use the tools available to explore any new and creative initiatives through cross grouping collective efforts towards our common goal of a Council that reflects today’s realities.

I would once again like to thank our hosts here in Rome, Minister Terzi and his colleagues, for this opportunity to bring together distinguished participants. I am personally thankful for his commitment to this process in support of our efforts, one which we have shared since the Intergovernmental Negotiations began in the 63rd General Assembly session. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him and all Member States.

A colleague told me last night at dinner, that it is now the Luna year of the snake. In the Chinese calendar this is a symbol of wisdom. I hope that such a message will boost our collective effort towards Security Council reform this year.


Thank you.


“New Approaches to the Security Council Reform” Ministerial Meeting in Rome, Italy

Feb. 5th, by Afghan Mission

On Monday, February 4th, 2013, in Rome, Italy, a Ministerial Meeting on the subject of UN Security Council Reform was co-chaired by Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and Spanish Secretary of State Gonzalo de Benito Secades.  The theme of the meeting was, “New approaches to the Security Council Reform.”  Over 60 countries met in Rome to foster political dialogue on this important matter.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi’s opening remarks, noted that “the reform of the UNSC can no longer be postponed so as to reinforce the UN’s credibility as a champion of international peace and security and in laying the solid foundations of a new architecture of collective security.”

Ambassador Zahir Tanin, was in attendance in his capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.  He addressed the Member States in attendance by expressing his encouragement at the recent level of participation and involvement in the Intergovernmental Negotiations.  He highlighted “a notable increase in the momentum of the process, and the beginning of real give and take”, during the most recent round of negotiations in New York and expressed a wish to move the process along further in this session of the General Assembly. Ambassador Tanin also made reference to his 25 July 2012 letter to Member States and the recommendations contained within it, stating that it is his hope that “even if they are not a point of agreement for all, they can be points for discussion.”

Ambassador Tanin also urged discussion from the participants in regards to the level of real give and take interaction in the negotiations and asked Member States to comment on how to further “bring the process to this point and how Member States intend on contributing to that.”

The meetings focus on “new approaches” to reforming the Security Council and high level of its participants not only raises awareness but shows the commitment of the Member States to take the reform process forward in the next General Assembly session.

Historic First U.S. Tour by Ensembles of Afghanistan National Institute of Music Includes Concerts at Kennedy Center (Feb 7) and Carnegie Hall (Feb 12)

New York – The Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) breaks new ground this winter, when leading ensembles of the institute – the nation’s sole music academy, founded and directed by Ahmad Sarmast, the first Afghan with a doctorate in music – make their American debut with a U.S. tour (Feb 2–17). Presented by the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, of which ANIM is a model school, this landmark visit will be crowned by performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (Feb 7) and New York’s Carnegie Hall (Feb 12). These concerts will feature the Afghan Youth Orchestra (AYO) and other ANIM ensembles performing orchestral and chamber music on both Western and traditional instruments; collaborations with their contemporaries from American youth orchestras; and guest appearances by award-winning Russian violinist Mikhail Simonyan. Additional tour highlights include a residency and concert at Boston’s New England Conservatory, master classes, school outreach concerts, and a wealth of further opportunities for cultural exchange.

At the upcoming Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall concerts, ANIM will be represented by the AYO, conducted by ANIM violin teacher William Harvey, and three smaller ensembles: the Young Afghan Traditional Ensemble, led by ANIM Principal and ghichak teacher Muhammad Murad Sarkhosh; the Sitar and Sarod Ensemble, led by ANIM sitar/sarod teacher Irfan Muhammad Khan; and the Chamber Wind Ensemble, led by ANIM brass teacher James Herzog. Joined by Afghan and expatriate faculty members, including percussion teacher Norma Ferreira, cello teacher Avery Waite, piano/oboe teacher Allegra Boggess, and saxophone teacher Derek Beckvold, the performers will be drawn from the institute’s students, who are Afghans between 10 and 21 years of age.

Besides demonstrating their mastery of the orchestral and keyboard instruments of the Western classical tradition, they will draw on their homeland’s own rich musical heritage, playing on traditional stringed instruments – the rubab, sitar, sarod, dilruba, tanbur, and ghichak – and the tabla drum. In a characteristic example of invaluable youth exchange, ANIM’s students will play alongside American string players of their own age, from the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras when they perform at the Kennedy Center, and from the Scarsdale High School Orchestra when they take the stage at Carnegie Hall.

Repertoire will include original arrangements by William Harvey of two favorites of the Western canon – Ravel’s Bolero and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – alongside examples of Afghan traditional and folk music. Mikhail Simonyan joins the students to perform Lariya for violin, rubab and chamber orchestra, Harvey’s arrangement of a traditional rubab piece made famous by the Afghan rubab virtuoso Muhammad Omar (1905-80).

Funded by the United States Embassy in Kabul, the World Bank, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Ministry of Education of Afghanistan, the tour will showcase the extraordinary success of ANIM. Founded by Ahmad Sarmast, winner of the 2009 David Chow Humanitarian Award for his “brave and selfless” efforts to rebuild and promote music education in Afghanistan, the remarkable school and its achievements have already attracted international notice. As the New York Times described in a recent feature,

“The Institute teaches some 150 young people, about half orphans and street hawkers. … About 35 of the students are female, important in a country where women face obstacles to education. The young people study both Western and Afghan instruments…and music theory from both cultures. Many of the Western instruments are donated, and the World Bank provides financial support. Tuition is free.”

In a country where, as the Wall Street Journal notes, “there are some 70,000 street children in Kabul alone and as many as 600,000 across Afghanistan,” it is of the most profound significance that half of ANIM’s students come from such disadvantaged backgrounds. Reuters observed:

“At Afghanistan’s sole music academy, students are taught music with the hope it will bring comfort in the face of war and poverty, bringing back cellos and violins to revive a rich musical legacy disrupted by decades of violence and suppression. ‘We are committed to build ruined lives through music, given its healing power,’ Ahmad Sarmast, head of ANIM, told Reuters.”

The impact of ANIM, which is seen as a model for future Afghan music schools, can hardly be overestimated. “An effective cultural barometer in the Muslim world,” as the Wall Street Journal put it, “music has the potential to move Afghan society away from fundamentalism toward more moderate cultural values.”