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”
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.