Today’s Challenges Require More Effective and Inclusive Global Cooperation, Secretary-General Tells Security Council Debate on Multilateralism
Speakers Press Their Case to Expand Council Membership, Restrict Veto Use
Today’s global challenges require a revitalized international cooperation that is effective, representative and inclusive, Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council today during a day-long open debate on a new orientation for reformed multilateralism.
Calling strengthening multilateralism his highest priority since assuming office, he said that his report Our Common Agenda and the process it initiated are aimed at reinvigorating multilateralism to deal with today’s interconnected threats. Despite an imperfect system of collective security, United Nations peacemaking and peacekeeping has helped to end conflicts, saving millions of lives, he added.
“Notwithstanding this important progress, we are still grappling with many of the same challenges we have faced for 76 years: inter-State wars, limits to our peacekeeping ability, terrorism, and a divided collective security system,” he said. His proposed New Agenda for Peace will speak to all Member States and call for new norms, regulations and accountability mechanisms to strengthen the multilateral system in areas where gaps have emerged, he explained.
“We have the opportunity and the obligation to remember the promise of the United Nations Charter: To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. We must keep this promise with the help of a revitalized, effective, representative and inclusive multilateralism,” he said. Most Member States now recognize that the Council should be reformed to reflect contemporary geopolitical realities, he pointed out, voicing hope that regional groups and Member States can achieve greater consensus on the way forward.
Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, noting that 193 Member States have placed their trust in the 15-member Council, pointed out that 10 months into the war in Ukraine, not a single Council resolution has been adopted to mitigate the exact type of crisis the Organization was created to prevent. The veto initiative has opened an important door for a new form of collaboration and accountability, he said, as the Assembly now is obliged to step up when Council decisions are blocked by permanent member wielding their veto.
For the United Nations to prove its relevance, and for it to survive, it must deliver solutions for its 8 billion end-users, he continued, adding that collaboration across bodies, organs and processes is needed to respond to that complexity. Spotlighting the intergovernmental negotiations on a Council reform framework, he emphasized that deadlock among Member States means a dead end for the millions of people who suffer the consequences.
In the ensuing debate, over 60 ministers, senior officials and representatives voiced broad support for Council reform. Many speakers called for limited use of the veto power, as well as greater representation for underrepresented regions, with the representatives of France and the United Kingdom voicing support for permanent seats for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan. Delegates differed, however, on the way forward for membership expansion and intergovernmental negotiations on Council reform.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister for External Affairs of India, Council President for December, speaking in his national capacity, said that those negotiations are being conducted with no time frame, text or record-keeping. This moment of crisis must “capture the sense of change and not remain the prisoner of past,” he said, noting that Member States from Latin America and Asia, as well as small island developing States, should have ongoing representation in the Council.
Brazil’s representative, in a similar vein, said the Council cannot be effective if Latin America and Africa are not represented as permanent members. Noting that intergovernmental negotiations have run their course, he said that Member States must negotiate reform in good faith and with a sense of urgency. Underscoring the deadlock in the Council resulting from the conflict in Ukraine and its destabilizing effects on the world, he voiced support for initiatives to regulate the use of the veto, which should only be used once diplomacy has failed.
China’s representative also touched on the Council’s working methods and suggested the creation of co-penholder systems with a regular rotation among permanent and non-permanent members, thus enhancing the voice of small and medium-sized countries. Underscoring the need to correct the imbalance of the Council’s composition, he said that increasing the number of members from developing and independent countries must be a priority.
The Russian Federation’s representative, pointing to exclusively Western-controlled partnerships in the United Nations, said the Council can be democratized exclusively through expanded representation for African, Asian and Latin American countries. Western States’ desire to preserve their monopolistic, privileged position in the world is undermining confidence in international institutions and international law, he said.
Yamada Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, countering that claim, said the credibility of the United Nations is in jeopardy due to the Russian Federation’s aggression, which the 15-member organ has not been able yet to stop. Reform is achievable, and the time is ripe, he emphasized, adding that negotiations can be immediately launched, with a text on the table, in the intergovernmental negotiations for Member States to narrow the differences in their positions.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, said States must turn their attention away from pursuing national ambitions and the Council must seek to resolve conflicts and disputes, and not merely manage them. On Council expansion, he warned that adding new permanent members would numerically reduce the opportunities for States to be represented and contribute to the paralysis of the Council.
Also speaking today were ministers, senior officials and representatives of the United Arab Emirates, United States, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Albania, Norway, Gabon, Armenia, Poland, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Philippines, Slovenia, Singapore, Egypt, Guatemala, Estonia, Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Argentina, South Africa, Malta, Saint Lucia, Qatar, Liechtenstein, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Türkiye, Spain, Germany, Thailand, Venezuela, Chile, Iran, Nepal, Latvia, Viet Nam (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Morocco, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Lebanon, Australia, Cuba, Romania, Lithuania, Georgia, Nigeria and Ukraine, as well as the European Union.
The representative of India took the floor a second time.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m., suspended at 1:14 p.m., resumed at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 6:56 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that strengthening multilateralism has been his highest priority since assuming office as Secretary-General. His report Our Common Agenda and the process it initiated are aimed at reinvigorating multilateralism to deal with today’s interconnected threats. Even during the darkest periods of the cold war, collective decision-making and continuous dialogue in the Security Council maintained a functioning albeit imperfect system of collective security. States armed with nuclear weapons cooperated to cut their numbers, prevent proliferation and avert a nuclear catastrophe. Peacemaking and peacekeeping by the United Nations helped to end conflicts, saving millions of lives.
“Notwithstanding this important progress, we are still grappling with many of the same challenges we have faced for 76 years: inter-State wars, limits to our peacekeeping ability, terrorism, and a divided collective security system,” he said. Conflict has dramatically evolved in how it is fought, by whom, and where, while the climate crisis is contributing to conflict in a host of ways. Misinformation and hate speech online are poisoning democratic debate and fuelling social instability, and many elements of modern life — including cyberspace and migration — are weaponized. However, frameworks for global cooperation have failed to keep pace, he said, emphasizing that the international community’s toolbox, norms, and approaches need upgrading.
As part of his report Our Common Agenda, he proposed a New Agenda for Peace, which he hopes to submit to Member States in 2023, he said. It will speak to all Member States and address the full range of new and old security challenges. It will examine ways to update existing tools for mediation, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and counterterrorism, and consider how the United Nations can adapt its efforts vis-à-vis cyberthreats, information warfare and other forms of conflict. It will look to Member States for new frameworks to reinforce multilateral solutions and to manage intense geopolitical competition. The New Agenda for Peace will, among other things, call for new norms, regulations and accountability mechanisms to strengthen the multilateral system in areas where gaps have emerged, he explained.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative shows that the United Nations still has a unique and important role in brokering solutions to global challenges, he said, urging Member States to build on such innovative approaches. “Our existing tools and operations also have enormous value and have contributed to saving many lives. We must do everything we can to invest in them and adapt them to new realities.” Where they fail, it is often because they are asked to do the impossible, he pointed out, adding that he looks forward to further discussions with Member States on this process.
Member States are working hard to ensure that intergovernmental bodies evolve to meet today's needs and realities, he continued, welcoming relevant negotiations in the General Assembly since 2008. A majority of Member States now recognize that the Council should be reformed to reflect contemporary geopolitical realities. Hopefully, regional groups and Member States can achieve greater consensus on the way forward. The Council is already benefiting from new working methods, including open debates and informal mechanisms to strengthen collaboration with all Member States. The contribution of women's rights organizations to the Council has helped advance prevention work and strengthen the response to current conflicts. Consultations open to a broader range of stakeholders — including those affected by conflict, displacement and human rights abuses — can only benefit the Council’s work, influence and credibility.
Turning to calls to revitalize the Organization’s other organs, he said that the General Assembly has shown that it plays a valuable role in engaging Member States. This year alone, it adopted many important resolutions, including on the war in Ukraine, the right to a healthy environment and the use of the veto by permanent Council members. The Secretariat stands ready to assist regarding any decisions by Member States to streamline Assembly practices. As regards the Economic and Social Council, he said the proposed biennial summit between that Council, heads of State and Government of the Group of 20 (G20) and the international financial institutions would be an important step towards better coordination of global governance and the creation of a global financial system that is adapted to today's world.
He concluded by saying that the challenge to be overcome is clear: “We have the opportunity and the obligation to remember the promise of the United Nations Charter: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. We must keep this promise with the help of a revitalized, effective, representative and inclusive multilateralism.”
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, said that as the world emerges from the COVID‑19 pandemic and grapples simultaneously with the climate crisis and protracted debt, food and energy emergencies, it is clear that such global challenges are far too great for any one nation to handle alone. The only hope is to find a multilateral solution, designed in line with the Charter of the United Nations and international law. The Council’s actions — and its inaction — can have profound effects worldwide, but too often, sharp geopolitical divides have prevented its ability to respond. Against that backdrop, he asked whether such rifts will continue to upstage the collective ability to maintain international peace and security. Further, he urged members to consider whether they will choose the phoenix rising from the ashes of war, as depicted in Per Krohg’s Untitled (Mural for Peace) in the Council chamber, or the pain and destruction shown in Pablo Picasso’s Guernica hanging just beyond its doors.
“Multilateralism can work, but it must work better,” he said. Noting that 193 Member States have placed their trust in the 15-member Council, he recalled that the Council recently established a humanitarian exemption across United Nations sanctions regimes. This will have a direct impact on many people living under dire conditions, but there are also examples of failed collective action. On that point, he said that 10 months into the war in Ukraine, not a single Council resolution has been adopted to mitigate the exact type of crisis the Organization was created to prevent. For the United Nations to prove its relevance, and for it to survive, it must deliver solutions for its 8 billion end-users. Those individuals do not neatly organize their lives into boxes labelled “human rights”, “development” and “peace”, he emphasized, stating that collaboration across bodies, organs and processes is needed to respond to that complexity.
In this vein, he said that the veto initiative has opened an important door for a new form of collaboration and accountability, as the General Assembly has been obliged to step up when decisions by the Council are blocked. Further, he spotlighted the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform framework, in which all Member States participate. Supporting today’s focus on tangible steps, he urged participants in the meeting to move from a position of “no” or “later” to one of “yes” and “now”, and to remember that deadlock means a dead end for the millions of people who suffer the consequences. Council members can respond by prioritizing dialogue and diplomacy and by trading political differences for a genuine political will to find solutions, he added.
SUBRAHMANYAM JAISHANKAR, Minister for External Affairs of India, said that the call for change has been accelerated by growing stresses on the international system which have brought out inequities and inadequacies in how the world functions. During the COVID‑19 pandemic, many vulnerable nations of the global South received their first vaccines from beyond traditional sources, he said, adding that the diversification of global production reflects how much the world order had changed. The knock-on effects of conflict situations have meanwhile underscored the necessity for a more broad-based global governance, as concerns over food, fertilizer and fuel security were not adequately articulated. With regard to climate action, instead of addressing relevant issues in the appropriate forum, there have been attempts at distraction and diversion. On terrorism, he said that multilateral platforms are being misused to justify and protect perpetrators. Calling for a more effective and credible multilateralism, he said that Member States from Latin America and Asia, as well as small island developing States, should have ongoing representation in the Council. Working methods of global institutions must be made more accountable and transparent, he added. He went on to say that intergovernmental negotiations on Council reform are being conducting with no time frame, text or record-keeping, and that after three decades, the Open-ended Working Group has nothing to show for its efforts, creating intense frustration among Member States. This moment of crisis must “capture the sense of change and not remain the prisoner of past,” he said, adding that reform is the need of the day.
NOURA BINT MOHAMMED AL KAABI, Minister for Culture and Youth of the United Arab Emirates, said that the Security Council’s structure is not reflective of geopolitical reality, with the Arab world and Africa still disenfranchised in both categories of membership. Further, rising geopolitical tensions are threatening cooperation on pressing global challenges and polarization is increasingly disrupting critical multilateral processes. In the Council, consensus is becoming more difficult around issues that usually produce unanimity, such as vital mandate renewals for peace operations. Increasingly, middle Powers, developing countries and smaller States are stepping up to ensure continued multilateral dialogue and progress. Reforming multilateralism will not be easy, she said, adding that concrete outcomes will require concessions and compromises, whether in intergovernmental negotiations or during a general review of quotas. “We have heard the growing calls for reform and we recognize that resisting them means running on borrowed time,” she said.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) recalled that when it was established 77 years ago, the original purpose of the United Nations was to keep the peace. There have been failures, including a war started by a permanent member of the Council, but also successes, including curtailing nuclear proliferation and lifting 1 billion people out of poverty. The international community must do better and act to fight climate change, prevent future pandemics and, most importantly, defend the United Nations Charter and hold those who undermine it accountable. By upholding the Charter and taking collective action, the international community can solve food security, extreme poverty and share resources. To that end, the United States will pursue modernization at the United Nations, she said, highlighting its co-sponsorship of an initiative requiring the Assembly to convene a meeting after a veto is cast as well as its support in expanding Council membership, including permanent seats for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Council must reflect today’s realities, not those of 77 years ago. Compromise will be necessary, but the United States is open to any sensible and politically viable paths forward which Member States might suggest. Encouraging broader reforms for the Organization, she called for updated health structures, a more accountable development system and a commitment to the hard work of consensus-building.
RAMSES CLELAND (Ghana) said that today’s challenges underpin the need for comprehensive and integrated reform of all the pillars of the multilateral system, especially the peace and security architecture, as well as development and financial systems. The reform process must yield real changes to the Council’s structure and practices across the five clusters under discussion in the intergovernmental negotiations. Emerging threats and a clarified understanding of the impact of other crises on peace and security imply that a reformed multilateralism needs to embrace an integrated approach to peace and security. It should also take into consideration international developmental institutions and processes outside the United Nations that are failing to adequately respond to pressing global needs, especially those of the developing world, he said.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil) said that the development gap between nations must be at the heart of international governance, with Council discussions highlighting the clear link between inequality and conflicts. Underscoring the deadlock in the Council resulting from the conflict in Ukraine and its destabilizing effects on the world, he supported initiatives to regulate the use of the veto, which should only be used once diplomacy has failed. He added that the Council cannot be effective if Latin America and Africa remain unrepresented as permanent members. Brazil is disappointed that Council reform went unmentioned in “A New Agenda for Peace” proposed by the Secretary-General in Our Common Agenda. Formulating such an agenda requires profound discussion of relaunching talks beyond the intergovernmental negotiations process, which has run its course. “Let’s finally go for the low-hanging fruit,” he said. After nearly a decade during which some delegations effectively took the reform process hostage, Member States must untangle themselves and negotiate reform in good faith and with a sense of urgency, he added.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland) said multilateral institutions and the rules and norms that underpin them must evolve to face the realities of today. Highlighting, among other efforts, the Council’s adoption of resolution 2664 (2022) to help ensure that humanitarians can continue their vital work without fear of inadvertently falling foul of United Nations sanctions regimes, he said: “The lesson for this Council is clear — when we cooperate, and act in good faith, reform is possible, and new norms can be established.” Noting that the Council itself is long overdue for reform, he said the historic and unjust underrepresentation of Africa on the 15-member organ must be addressed. “Those that are most often the subject of Security Council discussions must have more of a say at this table,” he added. Moreover, how the Council takes decisions must also change, he emphasized, pointing to its inability to respond to the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The veto is an anachronism and allows aggressors to evade accountability. At a very minimum, all Council members should agree to refrain from blocking resolutions intended to prevent or stop mass atrocities, he underscored. The Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda offers a path forward, he said, adding that Ireland will play an active role in its implementation and looks forward to working with partners on the New Agenda for Peace.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) underlined the importance of strengthening the multilateral system and supporting the rules-based international order in light of extraordinary, complex and interconnected challenges, including the global threats posed by climate change and human rights violations that disproportionately affect women and girls. Further, with the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the world is witnessing a permanent member of the Council violating the Charter of the United Nations and flouting the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. The United Nations must continue to take decisive action, but the world today is very different from the one that gave birth to the Organization in 1945. Stressing that the Council must become more representative of today’s world, she supported permanent seats for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, along with permanent African representation. Beyond the Council, she welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to advance wider reform, emphasizing that better data use, analysis, innovation and strategic foresight can unlock the Organization’s full potential.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that the multilateral international order is being undermined by proponents of the law of the strongest. Most of the challenges faced by the international community require a collective response. France favours Council reform and supports the candidacy of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan to become permanent members, together with a stronger presence of African countries in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. An enlarged Council could have up to 25 members, he said, adding that France has proposed that the five permanent members voluntarily and collectively suspend the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities. This voluntary approach does not require a revision of the United Nations Charter, but only a political commitment by the permanent members. He called on all Member States to support this initiative, which has already received the support of 106 countries.
ZHANG JUN (China) said that to improve unity and cooperation, Council members should respect each other and avoid divisions and confrontations. Urging the Council to adhere to the political settlement of disputes, he pointed out the limited effectiveness of sanctions and other coercive measures. He called for existing sanctions to be reviewed, updated or lifted in light of developments on the ground and urged the Council to take measures based on hotspot issues, while eliminating the breeding ground for conflicts. Turning to working methods, he suggested the creation of co-penholder systems with a regular rotation among permanent and non-permanent members to enhance the voice of small and medium-sized countries. Spotlighting the systematic flows of global governance, he called for enhancing representation of developing countries in global affairs. Reiterating China’s support for reforms with priority given to increasing the number of members from developing and independent countries, he underscored the need to correct the imbalance of the Council’s composition. He urged for special arrangements to be made to accommodate Africa’s concerns and enhance its representation.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said the need for reforming the United Nations, including the Security Council, has been repeatedly embraced, recognizing the need for multilateralism to be fit to meet the most urgent challenges. From climate change to the inequities and inequalities of the global financial and trading system, and to the abuse of military might contrary to international law, there is impunity for those with more power over those with a deficit of it. There are serious deficits in the balance of responsibilities and in the balance of consequences. As a results of these imbalances, the world’s confidence in the multilateral institutions is low and falling rapidly. The Secretary-General must be fully partial to the Charter of the United Nations, and he should fully exercise Article 99 without regard for the approval or disapproval of any State or party. There is also a need for substantive and procedural reforms of the Security Council. Africa will no longer accept a junior position in global affairs and will not accept skewed numbers or imbalances when its security is at stake. The new Agenda for Peace must include Security Council reform, including the existing practice of penholding. All new files from Africa must have a member of the Security Council’s African 3 (Gabon, Ghana and Kenya), or the collective, as pens during their terms, which will better enable these members to draft mandates and statements more in keeping with the required solutions, and to enjoy greater confidence by members and citizens.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) said that Council reform is a superficial response to a more dire problem: a total loss of global trust. It is impossible to talk about reforms to multilateral governance without highlighting the urgent need to address socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic, he added, stressing that the global debt crisis and scarcity of resources for social development have reversed progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. However, he recognized the role multilateralism played in solutions to long-standing conflicts or those inherited from colonialism. Rather than reform calling for increasing the number of permanent members of the Security Council, Mexico supports increasing in the number of seats for elected members through periodic elections — not for perpetuity. Periodic, democratic elections are the true test of accountability, he said.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said at a time when key principles of the rules-based international order and essential instruments of international cooperation are challenged, strong and effective multilateralism, based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and justice, is indispensable to secure peace, stability and prosperity. Genuine commitments to multilateralism and joint efforts have contributed to hold this remarkable system together. Today, the biggest challenge is the ability to maintain the system, reform and adapt it to the changing times, and keep it effective, he added. Unfortunately, multilateralism is not always a synonym for success, such as when the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism undermine effective decision-making, when narrow self-interests prevent the Council to act and discharge its responsibilities. Together with the veto initiative, this has confirmed the necessity of a strengthened cooperation among the main organs of the Organization and has contributed to revitalize and empower the General Assembly. It is imperative to improve the functioning of the Council and its ability to take action, remain credible and act on behalf of the entire United Nations membership, and rethink the future of United Nations operations so that they are fit for addressing challenges, old and new.
MONA JUUL (Norway) said that there are ways to make the Council more effective, transparent and accountable that do not require amendments to the United Nations Charter. These steps can and must be taken now. The Council also must hear from more diverse voices, she said, adding that Norway supports more permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa, as well as their request to sponsor African dossiers. As well, the Council should engage more civil society briefers, including women human rights defenders, and draw more regularly on the expertise of human rights institutions and capacities within the United Nations system. It would also benefit from additional informal situational awareness briefings from the Secretariat. In addition, the Council must be more connected with the rest of the multilateral system, she said, welcoming the Assembly’s vital role in adopting the veto initiative. The Council should also better align its work to other parts of the United Nations, such as the Peacebuilding Commission, and with regional bodies such as the African Union.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that 75 years after the United Nations was created, the world and its geopolitical landscape have completely changed, and that democratic values at the national level are slow to be translated at the global level. “We cannot meet these challenges of this century with the tools of another era,” he said, emphasizing that the Council must be representative of current and future challenges. Reform should give priority to the African common position and its legitimate claims, he said, adding that Africa will not wait indefinitely and that multilateralism must prevail over unilateralist positions. “It is illusory to think that humankind will survive with bubbles of security and prosperity surrounded by an ocean of insecurity and misery. The inevitable alternative to peace and prosperity for all will unavoidably be the endangering of all,” he said.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that Western States’ desire to preserve their monopolistic, privileged position in the world is undermining confidence in international institutions and international law. The future world order is being decided and States must choose between an order with a single hegemon that establishes rules only beneficial to it, or a democratic, multipolar, just and United Nations-centric world without blackmail, domination, intimidation or neo-colonialism. Having pursued the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the detriment of the principle of indivisible security, the West has brought Europe to the brink of confrontation “that could scorch the entire world”. The West has placed a wager on the exhaustion and strategic defeat of the Russian Federation, but if anyone believes that this began in February 2022, then they are mistaken. The United States and its satellites are betting on a broad coalition targeting main and new centres of power, he said, adding that the West’s rules-based order seeks to involve as many States as possible in its crusade against autocracy. This negative trend creates exclusively Western-controlled partnerships and it is found in a concentrated form in the United Nations. The United Nations must be adapted to modern realities, he added, underscoring that the Council can be democratized exclusively through expanded representation for African, Asian and Latin American countries.
BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, underscored the importance of empowering and efficiently utilizing all of the Organization’s main organs. States must turn their attention away from pursuing national ambitions and instead confront ideologies of hate, which impose discrimination and violence including threats of genocide. The Council must seek to resolve conflicts and disputes, and not merely manage them. It must act pre-emptively, with the ability to convene automatically on any item on its agenda, if requested by a Council member or a concerned State. No party to a conflict should be able to refuse the Secretary-General’s good offices or reject modalities for the specific dispute settlement. On Council expansion, he said that adding new permanent members would numerically reduce the opportunities for States to be represented. It would also contribute to the paralysis of the Council. He went on to say that Pakistan will convene a ministerial conference of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China on 15 and 16 December to adopt a plan for systematic reform of the international financial, trade and technology architectures. Speaking on an “unaddressed” agenda item, he said that implementation of Council resolutions on Kashmir would prove that multilateralism can succeed.
ARARAT MIRZOYAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that he supports making the Council more inclusive and effective, and reiterated Armenia’s support for India to become a permanent member. Noting a decline of multilateralism, he recalled that the international community was unable to prevent Azerbaijan’s use of force in Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in a new wave of displacement. He also pointed to the inability of the Council-mandated Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to fulfil its duties, as one party has unilaterally declared the conflict as resolved. Worse, he added, Azerbaijan has blocked access the Lachin Corridor, depriving the people of Nagorno-Karabakh humanitarian aid and freedom of movement. He reiterated the importance of fulfilling commitments, namely in the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process. “Based on our own experience, we can argue that without effective multilateralism, the world will be devoid of peace and security,” he said.
YAMADA KENJI, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said the credibility of the United Nations is in jeopardy due to the aggression by the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the Security Council, against one of its neighbours, and the 15-member organ has not been able yet to stop it. Confidence in the United Nations must be restored. That means strengthening the entire United Nations, including, but not limited to, the General Assembly, the role of the Secretary-General, the Peacebuilding Commission and the International Court of Justice. Council reform is an integral part of the whole picture. Reform is possible and achievable, and the time is ripe: what is truly needed is not a discussion for the sake of discussion, but action towards reform. Negotiations can be immediately launched, with a text on the table, in the intergovernmental negotiations in order for Member States to narrow the differences in their positions. Member States have already reformed the Security Council once, and can do it again. The historical injustice that there are no permanent seats for Africa, even as that continent accounts for about half of the regional agenda of the Council, needs to be corrected. The Charter should reflect the reality of today, not that of 77 years ago. While the Assembly makes its effort to reform the Council, the 15-member organ can do more than just wait. Council members can and should improve the transparency and efficiency of the organ by improving its working methods, including limiting the use of the veto.
WOJCIECH GERWEL, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, said cooperation must be based on the values of freedom, democracy and justice, in line with the Charter and driven by partnership and solidarity among nations. This is the only way to address global fragilities, foster dialogue, manage security threats and achieve stability and prosperity for all with an efficient United Nations system. Poland fully supports efforts to reform the United Nations with a more representative, efficient and inclusive Security Council. However, Council members and the whole international community need to fully accept that the organ has currently been paralysed in one of its core obligations to secure global peace due to the abuse of the veto right of one of its permanent members regarding its own actions. The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine constitutes the most serious challenge to international security since the end of the Second World War due to its global consequences and the challenges to multilateralism. As the Kremlin is continuously assaulting the Charter and abusing its veto power in the Council, transparency and accountability are needed whenever such a veto is used. As the world is facing the deepening twin crises of security and environment, the need for collective solutions is particularly urgent. The obligation is to make the United Nations better prepared to meet the expectations of this and future generations.
ABDULAZIZ ALJARALLAH, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organizations of Kuwait, said reforming the United Nations must be a top priority for the international community, which must put forward innovative ideas to generate the necessary momentum for reform. “Reforming multilateralism is an urgent need and a historical responsibility towards our people,” he emphasized, underscoring the need for an effective global system based on cooperation, rule of law and aimed at achieving justice. He affirmed Kuwait’s willingness to support genuine and comprehensive reform of the Council, which must become more effective to confront challenges, and more representative, transparent, impartial and credible. The Council, with its current composition, cannot address today’s interrelated and emerging challenges. All States must engage effectively with intergovernmental negotiations, and they must be open to consult with all negotiation groups transparently and constructively, he said, stressing that the concerns of all regional groups must be considered.
SUBRAHMANYAM JAISHANKAR, Minister for External Affairs of India and Council President for December, took the floor a second time in his national capacity to say that the credibility of the United Nations depends on its effective response to key challenges of the times, such as the pandemic, climate change, conflict and terrorism. While the international community searches for the best solutions, its discourse must never accept the normalization of such threats. Stressing that this applies to State sponsorship of cross-border terrorism, he underscored that hosting Osama bin Laden and attacking a neighbouring Parliament cannot serve as credentials for sermonizing before the Council.
FARIZ RZAYEV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, said that Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations is clear regarding States’ obligation to accept and carry out the Council’s decisions. Therefore, the Council’s lack of attention to the disregard and misinterpretation of its resolutions is not a positive practice. On that point, he recalled that the organ’s resolutions concerning Azerbaijan went unimplemented for 27 years. Those resolutions demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional end of the occupation of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory, but they were simply ignored with complete impunity while hundreds of thousands of people were uprooted for almost thirty years. He went on to recall that Azerbaijan was obliged to launch a counter-offensive operation because of a large-scale armed provocation by Armenia in September 2020. This was in line with Article 51 of the Charter and relevant Council resolutions and, as a result of the operation, Azerbaijan’s territory was liberated from long-term, unlawful foreign military occupation. He added that his country extends a hand of post-conflict normalization to Armenia, calling on that country to, inter alia, end its illegal activities, cease its territorial claims and concentrate on direct negotiations towards a diplomatic solution.
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy) said the intergovernmental negotiations process is the only credible platform for Council reform and only natural forum for discussing it. Underscoring that decisions should be taken not by the exclusive few, but by all Council members in an inclusive way, he called for going beyond the simple increase of members to enhancing the role and voice of underrepresented countries, in particular Africa and small island developing States. Reiterating support for restricting the veto, he said that every new member of a reformed Council must be elected. The reformed Council is well within our reach, he stressed, noting that it is not the absence of a text that is hampering the progress, but debate focused on process and procedural matters.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland) said that effective multilateralism must translate into tangible results, with the protection of civilians one of its highest priorities. The veto must not prevent the Council from fulfilling its mandate to protect civilians, prevent conflict and ensure accountability for atrocities committed, he said. Effective multilateralism must take into account diversity of actors and promote inclusive approaches, while avoiding duplication. The density and diversity of organizations makes Geneva — the second headquarters and operational engine of the United Nations — a place for innovation and anticipation that is open and responsive to Member States, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, data science and science diplomacy. To respond to global challenges, the world should further leverage this center of global governance and “Geneva-style multilateralism”, he added.
ALEXANDER MARSCHIK (Austria) called for a more transparent, accountable and inclusive Council with a more representative membership reflective of today’s world and its diversity. He emphasized that there is no lack of international norms, but a disregard for the rules as well as lack of compliance and implementation. He suggested creating a mechanism by which illegal acts or acts entailing grave risks for humankind automatically — or almost automatically — trigger a clearly defined set of serious consequences. Reiterating support for wider membership, he recalled that Council members serve “for all of us, not for national interests”. States deserve to be on the Council not because of their size or power, but due to their contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security. He stressed that effective multilateralism requires not only speaking, but listening; not only demanding, but also offering.
ANTONIO M. LAGDAMEO (Philippines), aligning with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), voiced concern over setbacks in the Security Council reform and urged member States to surpass lengthy negotiations. For lack of consensus on how to move forward, he suggested examining key elements which would make the Council more reflective of today’s world, namely, improving its working methods, which should encourage greater participation of non-members in its decision-making process, as well as renewed respect for the rule of law, he said. He underscored the importance of the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes in this regard. The Declaration reaffirms the role of the Council in settling disputes and also highlights the role of the International Court of Justice as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, he said. Voicing support for the Secretary-General’s call to strengthen the Council’s role in conflict prevention, he said it must not be outpaced by a rapidly changing global security landscape.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia) said adept global governance must mirror the interconnectedness of the world today. The most recent crises, such as the COVID‑19 pandemic, global food crisis, and climate change are stark reminders that today's complex challenges are not those of one State or region but of the entire world. Only through working in synergy will the international community find comprehensive and sustainable collective solutions to ongoing and future challenges. There is a growing understanding among member States that the multilateral architecture must remain a living mechanism able to adapt to the new realities of the world, he said, stressing the urgency to reform the body holding primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Only a more representative Council, which reflects the realities and diversity of the contemporary international community, can effectively deliver on its mandate. It needs stronger and more permanent voices from regions that have been overlooked and underrepresented.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said any Council reform exercise must strengthen respect for the United Nations Charter and international law. Whenever international law and the principles of the Charter are violated, the international community must send an unambiguous signal that such behaviour is unacceptable. The Council is charged with the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security and must live up to its responsibilities. The permanent members must show leadership and be net contributors to peace and security, without becoming sources of tension and instability. The Council should also address security challenges arising from non-traditional issues, such as climate change. A robust multilateral system requires a strengthened role for the General Assembly, he added, emphasizing that reform must extend beyond the United Nations system by addressing the overall architecture of the multilateral system, reforming international financial institutions and ensuring they work more closely with the United Nations.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt) said that debate on United Nations reform surfaces each time international crises worsen, demonstrating the fact that global international governance fails to reflect the aspirations of peoples and States, particularly developing States. Such States call for climate and financial justice, along with meaningful participation in international decision-making, and this can only be achieved through reform of the United Nations and international financial institutions. Further, the United Nations addresses issues relating to peace and security with robust tools, mandates and budgets, he said, but when the Organization considers sustainable development, on which most Member States depend, there is no specific financing nor clear tools for implementation. This imbalance must be addressed, he said. Council reform cannot be achieved through one-off solutions, he added, emphasizing the need to uphold the Ezulwini Consensus as Africa cannot be kept on the sidelines.
CARLA MARIA RODRÍGUEZ MANCIA (Guatemala) said that the Council should adequately respond to the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine. Emphasizing that the reform can no longer be delayed, she called for more coherence and underscored the need for stronger preventive diplomacy. The Council should prevent conflicts rather than wait to react to them when they erupt. Reiterating support for the Peacebuilding Commission, she spotlighted the need for stronger environmental action and urged that the Commission’s interventions respect natural resources. She supported the Council including climate security assessments in its work, saying that should be able to identify vulnerability and assess risks through a climate perspective and early-warning systems. Climate change and security share an intrinsically symbiotic relationship, she said, adding that environmental degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss not only contribute to conflicts but can also play an important role in conflict resolution.
REIN TAMMSAAR (Estonia) said that his country supports the Secretary-General’s initiative for reinvigorating multilateralism and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, a permanent member of the Council is waging a bloody colonial war against its neighbour, and the Council’s inability to take substantive decisions demonstrates the urgent need for reform. At the core of any attempt to renew or strengthen multilateralism must be the Charter, in particular international peace and security, he continued, adding that any State that exercises the veto to protect its own actions seriously undermines the whole multilateral system and should be held fully accountable. The main goal of reform must be a revitalized United Nations with better accountability of the Council to the entire membership, he said. He went on to say that the Russian Federation’s aggression and reckless nuclear blackmail must be stopped. If not, the consequences for the world and multilateralism will be much worse, he added.
JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) said greater efforts must be made to revitalize the General Assembly, including by streamlining its agendas and discussions and by devising monitoring and review mechanisms for resolutions. Organizational and financial reforms should be directed at conflict prevention and peacebuilding, he said, adding that the Organization expand its role into new areas and take the lead in a data-driven world. Expanding permanent membership in the Council would significantly hinder the Organization’s ability to adapt to ever-changing international realities. Moreover, it would only be possible at the expense of other countries’ opportunities to serve on the Council. He urged Member States to proceed with realistic perceptions and a more reasonable approach, adding that the Council should try to modernize its agenda.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia) said that the principles of the United Nations Charter are timeless, and that no Member State nor alliance should undermine the sovereignty of States or peaceful resolution of disputes. Representation of States, and especially African States, is lacking at the United Nations, he said, calling for a change in the status quo. “The working methods we follow buttress hegemony of the few and put the majority of States under undesirable guardianship,” he said, adding that any reform in the Organization must rectify colonial legacies. Ethiopia, as a member of the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, believes that States can assert their norms while maintaining a Charter-based order, with the United Nations playing a pivotal role. Expressing concern over the influence of non-State actors, such as commercial entities, in national and international security, he said that multilateral reform must address and regulate their activities to become a force for good.
CRISTIAN ESPINOSA (Ecuador) said that delays in Council reform continue to tie the Organization to an institutional format that has been in place since 1966. Council members should encourage and promote a true modernization of its working methods in order to achieve a more inclusive, transparent and effective body. The 10 elected members play a vital role in pushing for transformation in a constructive manner, he said, adding that the Council's synergies with all organs of the United Nations system, including the General Assembly, must be strengthened. Resolution 76/262 renewed the dynamics of work in this area, allowing for discussion among Member States each time the veto is used in the Council. He went on to support the initiative by France and Mexico to restrict the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities and called for others to support it as well.
LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine is a grave, blatant violation of the Charter of the United Nations. Yet, the Council is unable to perform its duties, she said, adding that all too often, the Council has failed to rise to the occasion. “And we have collectively expressed regret, shrugged shoulders and, ultimately, have accepted it is a fact of life,” she added. However, the Russian Federation’s aggression has demonstrated that Council reform cannot wait, she continued. The General Assembly’s resolution on the use of the veto gives Member States the opportunity to hold the relevant Council member accountable for why it chose to prevent the organ from acting. She went on to stress that, while upholding international law, the international community must also face its weakest point — namely, how to effectively address violations and lack of accountability.
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina) said that the COVID‑19 pandemic demonstrated that renewed multilateralism remains an urgent moral and political imperative. Unilateral means run counter to law and any deviation from universal norms undermines the idea of multilateralism. Increasing the Council’s membership is one of the most reasonable ways to make it more representative, she said, adding that only an increased number of non-permanent seats can create a new dynamic and give elected members new influence and greater participation. Council reform is part of a broader reform of multilateralism, she said, adding that “we need cooperation and not confrontation”.
MATHU JOYINI (South Africa) said the current system is unequal, unfair, unjust and non-representative. To achieve peace, Member States must reform the basis on which they engage, with multilateralism at its heart. Due to its limited ability to respond to security challenges, the Council suffers from a crisis of credibility and legitimacy. She called for new reorientation, momentum and political will to transform the Organization into a global, fit-for-purpose, effective, agile, action-oriented and forward-looking tool that reflects current geopolitical realities and its membership. Member States must strengthen the rules-based international system in a networked and inclusive manner, move quickly to transform other multilateral institutions and global governance structures, and give equal importance and priority to development, she said. They must also pay attention to preventive diplomacy and enhance coordination and partnerships with regional organizations such as the African Union, she added.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said that multilateralism is not static and that new, powerful international actors must be recognized as such. Further, it is a living system that should be allowed to grow, adjust and renew itself to ensure that the principles and values of the United Nations are respected. Current circumstances and dynamics underline the need for a more inclusive organ that gives all Member States space to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. On that point, she welcomed the adoption of the Assembly resolution that provides a debate whenever a veto is cast in the Council. This new mechanism strengthens the link between the Assembly and the Council, in addition to creating more transparency and accountability. She went on to say that Malta supports the initiative by France and Mexico to restrict the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities.
MENISSA RAMBALLY (Saint Lucia) said that a fractured Council challenges the United Nations’ ability to discharge its mandates. However, the United Nations remains the best chance for peace and the world’s best multilateral success. She said that a new orientation for reformed multilateralism will require rebuilding trust among States and the peaceful settlement of disputes based on sovereignty and equality and mutual respect for differences. It also requires progress on Council reform as well as political will among States to harness multilateralism in the most harrowing of times. The need for comprehensive Council reform is recognized by all, she added.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said interconnected global challenges can only be addressed through effective multilateralism, with the United Nations front and centre. She emphasized the need for an effective and well-staffed Peacebuilding Commission that receives adequate and predictable funding. On Council reform, she said that it is more urgent as ever, given the organ’s position as a mainstay of the international system. No doubt that requires a new way of thinking, she said, adding the reform will fail if it focuses on only one factor while ignoring all the others. Nor will reform succeed if the principle of equality among all States is not taken into account in Council decisions. Effective multilateral efforts are the only way to achieve long-awaited success for current and future generations, she said.
OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the basic principles set out in the United Nations Charter lay at the core of renewed multilateralism. Defending the Charter is therefore a sine qua non, he said, adding that the Council must reflect contemporary realities and be more effective. For its permanent members, that means refraining from using the veto when there is a risk of mass atrocity crimes and not abusing the veto when they are party to a conflict. The standing mandate for a General Assembly debate whenever the veto is used ensures that the United Nations is not voiceless when the Council is deadlocked. He expressed support for French and Mexican initiative on veto restraint in cases of mass atrocities, as well as a code of conduct regarding Council action in cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), noting that the Council’s failure to respond to a brutal conflict due to a permanent member’s veto, said the veto initiative recalibrated the balance between the Council and the Assembly, prompting the latter to make full use of its authority. More political leadership among elected Council members can lead to more productive outcomes, he added. At the same time, equitable burden-sharing across the Council as a whole must be ensured, he said, adding that the duties of chairing subsidiary bodies should not fall disproportionately on the elected members.
ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia) advocated for a multilateral paradigm of “win-win”, engagement, dialogue, collaboration and solidarity, rather than “zero-sum”, containment. Such a paradigm must consistently respect international law and the United Nations Charter. As today’s world was unimaginable 77 years ago, he called for an Organization fit for its time and purpose, capable of adapting to the latest developments in technology, science and work culture. To that end, United Nations reform must be a work in progress which undertakes a holistic manner. Describing the Summit of the Future as an opportunity to make concrete progress, he said that the Council must adapt to new global realities by becoming more inclusive, transparent and democratic. There must be political will by all and clear timelines with practical targets, he said, adding that unity must be embodied within the organ itself, as membership is not a right but rather a responsibility. He went on to stress the need to promote partnerships with regional organizations, nurture synergy and ensure that multilateral and regional efforts are mutually reinforcing.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh) said that the time is right to reform the Council, as everyone agrees that its membership and structure are not in tune with current realities. Relevant, effective, democratic, transparent and fit-for-purpose reforms must be done in a concrete manner. Both membership categories should be enlarged, he said, adding that negotiations on Council reform should be text-based. Turning to the Assembly, he said it is a symbol of multilateralism and everyone must do their part to preserve its intergovernmental, democratic and inclusive nature and to close the power gap between it and the Council as a matter of priority.
ANIL KAYALAR (Türkiye) said the rules-based international system is experiencing its gravest crisis since the Second World War, with consensus-building and compromise viewed as signs of weakness while long-standing legal norms are eroded. People are losing faith in international institutions, including the United Nations, and while the Organization might be a source of excellent ideas, it frequently lacks the means to effectively implement them, hence the need for reform. He called on the Organization and its Member States to improve and support more peace operations. Pointing to progress made in reforming the United Nations development system, he added that such efforts should continue with an emphasis on national ownership. On human rights, he underlined the need to avoid politicization and double standards, saying that the international community must ensure that its actions are in line with its words. Turning to Council reform, he said that the organ must be made more effective, democratic and transparent, and that it must serve all humanity, not just the interests of a few Member States.
ANA JIMENEZ DE LA HOZ (Spain), recognizing the trifold crisis of food security, energy and finance, reiterated the need for more effective multilateralism. Spain made several contributions to proposals of the Secretary-General, including support for the Alliance of Civilizations and digitalization initiatives, while also hosting the Information and Communications Hub in Valencia. Spotlighting its feminist foreign policy, she noted that Spain has put forward urgent initiatives, including the Food Security Summit held in September. Turning to reform, she encouraged States to look for solutions that create consensus in a realistic and feasible manner. She went on to underscore that “elected” is a key word in the proposal of the United by Consensus Group, since elections confer greater legitimacy upon members of the Council. Underscoring that Intergovernmental Negotiations should be a “natural” forum for debate, she stressed that reform must be tailored to realities, while also providing flexibility and adaptability.
ANTJE LEENDERTSE (Germany) stated that multilateralism is under pressure, emphasizing that the future Security Council should include additional permanent and non-permanent members. This is the shared Group of Four position, which also includes Brazil, India, and Japan, she said. It is also clear that Africa must be permanently represented on the Council. This year's general debate has shown that a large majority of Member States are in favor of reforming the Council. However, a formal negotiation process is still not in place, she noted, stressing the need to change this and begin negotiating a text. She urged Council members to restrict their use of the veto as much as possible.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand) said the past has shown that, at critical points of human history when humanity is confronted by existential threats and challenges, these are either addressed through conflict or through unprecedented international cooperation. The United Nations was established to ensure that humanity chose the latter and not the former. The coming together of nations in a collective effort on rules that govern peaceful inter-State relations is the hope of humanity for finding solutions to existing problems, including climate change and the food crisis. However, there is currently a crisis of confidence in the system, which is the ultimate test for multilateralism. The United Nations must focus fully on its core mission in using peaceful means to solve myriad challenges facing humanity, including conflict, whether through dialogue, negotiation, building bridges of understanding, or becoming a platform for finding sustainable solutions. A reformed United Nations and related system must protect international peace and security and prevent violations of human rights.
JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela) stressed that isolationism, exceptionalism and unilateralism have no place in the twenty-first century. As an intergovernmental organization, the United Nations is not simply a club of friends with ideological affinities — it pursues the idea of legal equality among States. To address the Organization’s crisis of confidence, leadership and values, unilateralism must be eliminated and multilateralism strengthened for it to become truly effective, representative, inclusive and participatory. Moreover, beneficial progress requires correcting imbalances in the global financial architecture and reforming the Bretton Woods institutions, he added, noting that the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations declaration on the establishment of a “New International Economic Order” provides an opportunity to end prevailing asymmetries that have perpetuated underdevelopment and dependence of the Global South. He warned about incessant efforts by some States to impose “group unilateralisms” and a supposed “rules-based international order” that is not grounded in consensus or international law.
PAULA NARVÁEZ OJEDA (Chile) said the Organization’s failure to adequately respond to grave global threats has led to an erosion of trust in multilateralism and a dangerous scepticism regarding targets the international community has set. Respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, democracy and human rights has eroded, and Member States’ will to cooperate as a community in achieving development has been weakened. “We cannot sit idly by in the face of the above,” she stressed, urging a return to respect for the Charter and international law. This applies particularly to countries with greater power, she said, calling on such States to lead by example. She also underlined the important role played by regional mechanisms, which can serve as appropriate, effective forums for conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and provide valuable input for Council action. Further, she stressed the need to incorporate youth into the Organization’s work, harnessing their expertise and vision, as they will live the future that the international community is trying so hard to improve.
SATTAR AHMADI (Iran) said the international community is “plagued” by double standards, noting that the authority of the United Nations has been repeatedly abused by certain States exerting pressure on independent countries. He recalled that, at the Economic and Social Council’s meeting, the United States launched a “propaganda and misinformation campaign” against Iran and pursued an “illegal request” to deprive the country of its membership privileges as the elected member of the Commission on the Status of Women. The “politically motivated” decision was carried out “unlawfully”, including by placing maximum political pressure on the country, he stressed. He went on to say that deprivation of Iran from the Commission is an indication of a return to unilateralism, urging the United Nations to prevent the United States from pursuing its unilateral and egocentric agenda.
INDIRA GOHIWAR ARYAL (Nepal) said that peace and progress achieved after the creation of the United Nations are in jeopardy due to the complex interplay of geopolitics and parochial national interests. The world is facing alarming common challenges: Poorer and conflict-affected countries have suffered the most, and impacts are vastly disproportionate. Addressing these problems requires collective action by the international community in a spirit of multilateralism. For small nations like Nepal, the United Nations is the bulwark of sovereignty and driver of peace, progress and justice. The United Nations must prepare itself to remain relevant through a process of continued reform that reflects the present-day landscapes of geopolitics and geo-economics. Reform should promote fairness, equality, inclusivity and justice for all States — big or small, powerful or weak, rich or poor — with strong and effective multilateralism that promotes peace and security, human rights and sustainable development alike, as they are mutually reinforcing. The world needs a broadly representative, democratic, transparent, and accountable Council to enhance the effectiveness and legitimacy of the work of the United Nations.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVIČS (Latvia) said Russia’s military aggression against an independent, sovereign neighbouring country has shaken the very foundation on which the current international system stands. Strong global response to this flagrant breach of international norms sends a powerful message that multilateralism and the international rules-based order must prevail. Recent shocks, such as the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrate that some aspects of multilateralism need urgent revisitation. The Russian Federation’s aggression proves that reform of the Security Council is not just long overdue, but needs more than ever to adequately respond to present and future challenges. That one of the permanent members, namely the Russian Federation, is committing mass atrocities in its neighbouring country and vetoes resolutions that would allow the Council to take action, is an oxymoron. To prevent impunity, the accountability gap must be closed, he said, stressing the need for an ad hoc special tribunal as the most appropriate tool to complement the International Criminal Court. The international community also needs to address key areas such as gender equality, climate change and the fight against disinformation as crucial parts of effective multilateralism, he said.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam), speaking for ASEAN, observed that history teaches that, whenever unilateralism was allowed to prevail over multilateralism, the world witnessed more conflict and instability. He spotlighted strong consensus among ASEAN members that multilateralism is not an option, but a necessity. The Association’s members also recognize the importance of building and strengthening ASEAN’s partnerships with external actors – such as regional and international organizations – to address global concerns, pursue shared goals, narrow the development gap and promote inclusive growth. On that point, he stressed the importance of complementarity between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He went on to urge a reform of multilateralism, noting that many components of the current system are not sufficiently equipped to meet complex challenges of the twenty-first century. The voices of relevant parties must be adequately reflected in a reformed system, he said, with developing countries better represented and included in global decision-making. Further, regional organizations – including ASEAN – can and should be inherent partners in collective efforts to address global challenges. He added that the international community’s approach to multilateral issues should be based on common principles conducive to cooperation and development, including upholding international law, promoting areas of mutual interest and avoiding actions that may aggravate tensions.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) said that, in reaffirming the international community’s tireless commitment to the United Nations as the global centre of multilateralism and respecting its foundations, including sovereignty, territorial integrity of States, its reform must remain a priority. Further, Africa is the only continent with no permanent members on the Security Council, he said, calling for Council reform so that the continent can play its rightful role. Africa would prefer at least two permanent and five non-permanent seats, so that it is fairly represented, he said.
ANEL BAKYTBEKKYZY, (Kazakhstan), said that, in light of the shifting political and global security landscape, Member States must endeavour to resolve critical questions of membership categories and size, geographical representation, working methods, transparency and the Security Council-General Assembly relationship. Political will, finding common ground despite differences and achieving momentum are essential to move ahead. A new orientation of multilateralism implies holistic, multidimensional and inter-sectorial action across countries, invested by the United Nations, regional organization, and stakeholders with special expertise. Efforts should underscore the peace-security-development nexus to ensure coherence and consistency in the Organization’s operations and response, reinforced by national endeavours. Kazakhstan’s efforts at multilateralism have been relevant and diverse on many fronts, including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; the Astana Process on Syria to reinforce the United Nation’s process in Geneva; humanitarian aid and human capacity building in Afghanistan; and support to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Ms. BAPTISTA (Portugal), associating herself with the European Union, expressed support for the path towards a reformed and inclusive multilateralism presented by the Secretary-General. More voices and perspectives around the table increase the Council’s capacity to anticipate and tackle global risks, she said, underscoring the importance of a global vision to security. Hopefully, a reformed multilateral system would keep human rights at its core of its work by upholding their universality. The Council can do more and better, she added. Turning to the Council’s composition, she argued for the expansion of its permanent and non-permanent categories, with a better representation for Africa in both categories.
YOUSSEF HITTI (Lebanon) said international cooperation must be more agile, effective and inclusive. Reaffirming support for the Secretary-General’s efforts and highlighting the need for governance institutions to be more representative and democratic, he said that Lebanon has joined several initiatives to strengthen transparency and accountability on the use of the veto. It also supports a more fair and just reform of the Council and continues to support the Arab Group on that issue. States, he continued, must reject selective approaches, ensure respect and harmoniously and consistently implement their international obligations. For Lebanon, a small State and a founding member of the Organization, multilateralism has been vital in past and current crises. An international order based on the rule of law is not optional but rather the essential vector for international peace, stability and security, he said, urging Member States to act with determination.
MITCHELL FIFIELD (Australia) said the multilateral system must protect sovereign equality and the rights of small and medium-sized countries like his own. Member States must have confidence that the Council can respond effectively to threats to and breaches of international peace and security, he said, adding that the Council’s inability to respond to the Russian Federation’s attack on Ukraine is a stark reminder of the need for Council reform. The Council must be more reflective of the world today not the world of 1945, he pointed out, urging greater representation from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The United Nations must be more accountable to members, transparent, inclusive and led by high-quality individuals, representative of all peoples and groups. Australia was an early proponent of United Nations development system reform, he said, stressing the need for a fit-for-purpose, transparent, accountable, effective and results-oriented system to deliver on Member States’ commitments on the 2030 Agenda. The Summit of the Future in 2024 represents an opportunity to work together towards a multilateral system that ensures that no one is left behind.
YUSNIER ROMERO PUENTES (Cuba), underscoring that the use of unilateral coercive measures and punitive action against developing countries is contrary to multilateralism, called for the immediate cessation of these measures. Multilateralism and full respect for the rules and norms of international law provide the basis with which to advance towards a fair, equitable world, guarantee peaceful coexistence and find sustainable solutions to systemic problems. He went on to state that the General Assembly must be able to fully exercise all powers given to it by the Charter of the United Nations, free from the interference of the Security Council or other bodies. Further, full reform of the Council is needed, which ensures greater transparency and inclusivity in the organ’s work. The world needs solidarity, cooperation and mutual respect — not blockades or sanctions — to overcome current crises. He added a call for the creation of an international order that is fair, democratic, equal and responsive to the “clamour for peace” by the peoples of the United Nations.
ANDREEA MOCANU (Romania), associating herself with the European Union, spotlighted the year’s challenges to the obligations to respect international treaties and mutually agreed commitments, maintenance of peace and security, promotion of sustainable development and defence of human rights. While the majority of the Organization’s membership has taken a firm stance in defending the Charter and its principles whenever there was a challenge, some States have unfortunately not seen the value of the lessons which have been learnt. Misusing the Council, Assembly or any platform of the Organization to promote a false narrative is not compatible with the principles of multilateralism nor the rules-based international order. As such, Member States cannot allow impunity for the Russian Federation and must ensure accountability with regard to its illegal brutal invasion. It is in this vein that Romania supports an effective, transparent, democratically anchored, preventative and accountable Council which corresponds to current realities and challenges, she said. Intergovernmental negotiations and “Our Common Agenda” provide Member States with the opportunity to act now, she underscored, emphasizing “we cannot afford to drop any inch in our defence of the UN Charter, the democratic values and principles of multilateralism”.
RYTIS PAULAUSKAS (Lithuania), associating himself with the European Union, said that collective decision and coordinated action are key in addressing new and emerging challenges, including climate change, health emergencies, food insecurities or hybrid threats. He expressed his country’s support for the Secretary-General’s report on Our Common Agenda and the new Agenda for Peace that aims to reinvigorate multilateralism and enhance the United Nations existent toolbox. He also welcomed the work towards more effective peacekeeping as one of the examples of a successful collective action. He reiterated Lithuania’s long-standing position to work collectively on Council reform. The war against Ukraine waged by the Russian Federation exposed the structural and procedural weaknesses of the Council, he said, stressing that its composition should reflect the current geopolitical realities. The membership must include underrepresented regions, in particular Africa, but also Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe in permanent and non-permanent categories.
DAVID ABESADZE (Georgia) said dramatic developments this year have put in question the Council’s ability to effectively fulfil its primary purpose of stopping the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine by failing in its attempts to pass resolutions due to the Russian Federation’s destructive action. Today, as never before, it has become obvious that there is a need for reinvigorated action to ensure the Council lives up to its raison d'être - the maintenance of international peace and security. These blatant violations of fundamental norms and principles of international law and disregard for the territorial integrity of sovereign States have been a massive blow to the European security and the entire international order. Multilateralism works when the members of the international community abide by common rules and principles. New orientation for multilateralism means recommitting to ensuring a peaceful world based on international law, with the United Nations Charter at its core; better protection of human rights; and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Only by upholding the principles of the Charter and through respect for international law can peace and security be maintained, and human rights and sustainable development be realized.
NNAMDI NZE (Nigeria) reiterated Africa’s demand for a reform that will ensure its legitimate right to fair and equitable representation in the Council, noting that African States offered a coherent, practical, and persuasive blueprint for the Council’s reform in that regard. Voicing support for other regions’ legitimate aspirations to be fully represented in the Council, he said Africa’s demand, as espoused in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, calls for the expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent seat category of the Council, with the allocation of not less than two permanent seats with all the privileges, including the right of veto and two additional non-permanent seats. Moreover, the veto should be abolished but so long as it exists, it should be extended to all members of the expanded permanent category. He voiced hope that current realities will propel Member States to review the process in order to rectify the historical injustice done to the African continent.
SERHII DVORNYK (Ukraine) said that the world has changed dramatically over the last 77 years, as has the nature of global challenges. Spotlighting attempts to undermine the efficacy and credibility of key multilateral institutions from the inside – particularly the Security Council – he observed that the organ’s composition does not reflect the diversity of the wider United Nations membership. He recalled that, 77 years ago, all agreed to vest five States with a special status in return for their assumption of a special responsibility to maintain international peace and security. However, the events of 2022 have made clear that a system of five mutually dependent permanent members does not work if one of those seats is occupied by a violator that disrespects norms and neglects its responsibilities. Recalling the aggression that started in 2014, he observed that eight years was not enough for the current multilateral system to prevent escalation into a full-fledged invasion. He added that, to cope with cases such as the Moscow’s aggression, members must act when an aggressor misuses its permanent seat and must differentiate between taking sides and defending the Charter of the United Nations.