With Violent Conflicts Increasing, Speakers Say Security Council Reforms Crucial to Ensure International Peace, Stability, as General Assembly Begins Debate
Appointments Made to Committees on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, Contributions, Investments, Independent Audit Advisory Committee, Auditors Board
With increased violent conflicts around the world and heightened scrutiny of the Security Council’s actions as a result, the General Assembly met today for its annual debate on how to reform the 15-nation organ, with speakers reiterating their calls to make it more representative, transparent and accountable in order to address the most serious threats to international peace and security.
Noting that the issue of its reform has been on the Assembly’s agenda for 44 years, speakers differed on how to reshape the Security Council, with some delegates highlighting the need for more inclusive and representative membership and others arguing for limiting the use of the veto.
“Never before has this issue been more pressing, both contextually and practically,” said Dennis Francis (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the Assembly, in his opening remarks. At a moment of increased violence, the United Nations seems paralysed largely due to divisions within the Security Council, which is falling dangerously short of its mandate as the primary custodian for the maintenance of international peace and security. Without structural reform, the performance and legitimacy of the Council will continue to suffer and so will the credibility and relevance of the United Nations itself, he said, urging Member States to break through ingrained positions and take practical steps in support of effectiveness and inclusion.
The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, speaking for the L.69 group of developing countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, said overrepresentation of Western countries in the Council does not reflect the geopolitical diversity of the United Nations nor the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. “That it is no longer fit for purpose is now a stark reality,” she said, adding that reform is not only urgent but a precondition to international peace, stability and security.
Drawing attention to the underrepresentation of countries on the African continent, the delegate of Sierra Leone, speaking for the African Group, observed that “Africa remains the only major continent without representation in the permanent category of the Security Council, and under-represented in the non-permanent category”. Africa's demand for two permanent seats — with all the rights and prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto, and two additional non-permanent seats — is a matter of common justice, he stressed.
More than ever, a representative and well-functioning Council is needed to fulfil its mandate, said Germany’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Group of Four. Time and again, the Council has been unable to address the most serious threats to international peace and security in a timely and effective manner, she said, and pointed to the Group of Four’s goal of starting text-based negotiations at the earliest opportunity.
Highlighting the Council’s role in maintaining international peace and security, the representative of Bahrain, speaking for the Arab Group, pointed to the recent violence in Gaza and urged Member States to ensure conflict prevention becomes more representative, transparent, neutral and credible. If the enlargement of the Security Council happens, he requested Arab representation among the permanent members in addition to a fair representation of Arab countries in the non-permanent category of seats.
Also spotlighting the crisis in Gaza, the representative of Singapore said it took the Council 40 days to adopt a resolution on the Gaza Strip while the Assembly was able to act much earlier. Turning to the process of elections for a non-permanent seat, he said that in theory it is democratic and open to all States but that in practice there is no level playing field as elections are often dominated by larger regional States, making it extremely challenging for a small State to campaign with any success. There is a “glass ceiling” that discourages or disadvantages small States from getting elected, he said.
Many delegates expressed appreciation for the webcasting and recordkeeping of the intergovernmental negotiations, with Mongolia’s representative noting that such transparency and openness are indispensable for smaller missions like his. Underscoring that it is crucial to accelerate the reform process, he said that negotiations should be based on a single consolidated text to achieve tangible results within a specified timeframe. He added his support for enlarging both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership and prioritizing fair geographical distribution, with a particular focus on addressing the under-represented and unrepresented regions and groups.
Spotlighting voting in the Council, the representative of the Philippines said the use of the veto often hinders the Council's ability to act swiftly on critical issues, reflecting a more polarized world and the conflicting interests of its Permanent Members. Since it might be a challenge to remove the veto privileges of the permanent members, curtailing its exercise should be considered. “The veto should not paralyse the Security Council in dealing with issues concerning peace and war,” he emphasized.
The General Assembly today also appointed or reappointed members to five of its subsidiary bodies, on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary): the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the Committee on Contributions, the Investments Committee, the Independent Audit Advisory Committee and the Board of Auditors.
DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago), General Assembly President, opened the meeting by noting that the Assembly has debated the question of equitable representation in the Security Council since 1979 and that not much has changed since then to adapt the institution to better reflect current realities. It is not surprising that, over the past years, there has been steady growth in the calls for long overdue reform, reaching a crescendo of late. “Never before has this issue been more pressing, both contextually and practically,” he said, pointing to the task before the Assembly. Violence and war are spreading in regions across the world while the United Nations seems paralyzed due largely to the divisions within the Council, with some challenges blazing onto the geopolitical landscape with new and deeply worrying ferocity, he said.
He said that the Council is falling dangerously short of its mandate as the primary custodian for the maintenance of international peace and security. Without structural reform, its performance and legitimacy will inevitably continue to suffer as will the credibility and relevance of the United Nations itself. “We cannot usefully perpetuate positions that, while familiar, fail to bring us closer together,” he said, adding that one occasion not to be missed is the Summit of the Future in September 2024. He urged Member States to grasp the opportunity to break through ingrained positions and promote Council reform through practical steps that support effectiveness and inclusion.
NEDRA P. MIGUEL (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the L.69 group of developing countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, said that the Security Council has too often found itself paralyzed by the geopolitical realities of today, which have evolved far beyond the realm of 1945. “That it is no longer fit for purpose is now a stark reality,” she stressed. The overrepresentation of Western countries in the Council neither reflects the geopolitical diverse composition of the United Nations, nor the geopolitical realities of the twenty-first century. To preserve this current configuration is to deliberately perpetuate the exclusion of the majority of the UN membership from decisions and deliberations on issues that will most drastically affect them. In this context, reform of the Security Council is not only urgent, but also a precondition to international peace, stability and security and to an effective multilateral order.
“We fail to understand what is to be expected from speaking at each other instead of with each other,” she continued, further adding: “We have repeatedly stated that the IGN [intergovernmental negotiations framework] should not be treated differently from any other process at the United Nations, which utilizes a text upon which the process of negotiations facilitates compromise that engenders an acceptable outcome.” The well-established positions of all groups and delegations must be outlined and accurately captured in a streamlined manner. Member States must recommit themselves to working constructively towards urgent reform of the Security Council, in line with the course made clear by an overwhelming number of leaders at the General Assembly high-level debate this year. This is a task that goes to the heart of credibility, legitimacy and the relevance of the United Nations, she stressed.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, stressed an urgent need for a real and global reform of the United Nations bodies, in particular the Security Council. Highlighting the Council’s role in maintaining international peace and security, particularly during recent events in Gaza, he urged Member States to step up efforts in ensuring conflict prevention in a manner that is more representative, transparent, neutral and credible. If the enlargement of the Security Council happens, he requested Arab representation in the category of permanent members in addition to a fair representation of Arab countries in the non-permanent category of seats. Emphasizing that the use of the veto in an arbitrary manner has challenged the credibility of the Council, he noted with regret that in the past three decades the veto has been used in cases related to the Arab region.
Given that a significant portion of the Security Council’s agenda involves the Arab region, including current events in the Gaza Strip, the Group — representing over 400 million people — should receive a substantial representation in any enlargement of the Council, he said. Turning to the working methods of the Council, he urged to ensure greater effectiveness and transparency in its work, including by studying the agreement on the rules and procedures. He further said that every document published in the process of intergovernmental negotiations should accurately reflect positions of all States and groups, which form the basis of these negotiations in line with the resolution 62/557 (2008).
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy), speaking on behalf of Uniting for Consensus, said that recent developments have shown the urgent need for reform and how it should no longer be postponed. However, the group does not want reform “at any price”. It calls for comprehensive reform that would make the Council truly representative, democratic, accountable, transparent, effective and adaptable. The group looks forward to discussing the five clusters mentioned in the Assembly’s decision 62/557. Positions still diverge on some main pillars, but no new parallel processes should be created to fast-track the reform. Calling on all Member States to approach the process in good faith and show some flexibility, he said, “We are all eager to ask for something, but, if we really want to succeed in this endeavour, we should also be ready to concede something.”
Recalling the group’s proposal for longer-term, re-electable seats, he said it rejects the addition of new permanent members, however, it believes that permanent membership, with or without veto, is undemocratic. He noted there are no guardrails of accountability between permanent members and the wider membership, the Assembly, and said “life tenure” is incompatible with the principles of democracy, accountability and equality among Member States. Under his group’s proposal, everyone benefits — no one is left behind or left out, and everyone gains better access to the Council. Fifty-nine Member States have never served in the Security Council, a little less than one third of the whole membership. It is high time to offer better access to all. “All Member States are equal, thus an approach to reform that only serves a few cannot be a solution for the entire membership.”
ANTJE LEENDERTSE (Germany), speaking on behalf of the Group of Four, said the urgency of reform cannot be overstated. The current composition of the Security Council fails to reflect the contemporary geopolitical realities. It lacks the necessary representation, including permanent representation from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, it does not provide the effectiveness to address the challenges Member States face. Thus, it is no surprise, that, time and again, the Security Council has been unable to live up to expectations in addressing some of the most serious threats to international peace and security in a timely and effective manner. Many regions remain underrepresented and unrepresented, including Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, she said, noting that those regions have called for a comprehensive reform of the Council, including the expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories.
Regrettably, no progress has been made in advancing text-based negotiations in the past cycles of the intergovernmental negotiations, she continued. To that, she strongly urged all Member States to engage seriously and constructively in the structured dialogue on the various models, as suggested by the Co-Chairs. This will deepen the understanding of each other’s positions and help to identify common ground or the largest possible denominator, which cannot be known by Member States simply repeating their well-known fixed position. Spotlighting the Group of Four’s goal of starting text-based negotiations at the earliest opportunity, she emphasized that the upcoming Summit of the Future is an opportunity to achieve — inter alia — concrete results on the issue of Security Council reform. More than ever, a representative and well-functioning Security Council is needed to fulfil its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, she emphasized.
OLIVIER MAES (Luxembourg), also speaking for Belgium and the Netherlands, said that the intergovernmental negotiations have turned out to be one of the most difficult, complex and slow processes in the United Nations. Nevertheless, this does not mean that progress towards significant reform cannot be made. “This debate is occurring at a critical time when the world is turning its gaze, once again, to the United Nations and the Security Council, expecting them to take urgent measures,” he noted. In the context of the deadly and devastating conflict in Gaza and Israel as well as the continued aggression of the Russian Federation — a permanent member of the Security Council — against Ukraine, the reform is vital to safeguard the credibility of the Organization. To that end, it is essential to work together to enhance representativeness, effectiveness, legitimacy and credibility of the Council.
In that regard, he expressed support for the African States’ legitimate aspiration for an increase presence. Another crucial issue is the use of veto that has, for too long, prevented the Council from effectively carrying out its responsibility. The countries he spoke for support curbing the veto, he noted, emphasizing that the General Assembly has the political responsibility to deal with the situation when its use is paralysing decision-making in the Council. In this vein, the veto initiative has produced a welcome change in the relations between the Council and the Assembly. Turning to the intergovernmental negotiations, he observed that the revised element document shared by its co-Chairs shows a growing agreement on the principles of the reform. “There are more factors bringing us together than dividing us,” he pointed out, emphasizing that real progress should be achieved before the Summit of the Future.
MENISSA RAMBALLY (Saint Lucia), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, said the world faces many difficult challenges which require robust responses from the United Nations. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains fully supportive of the need for increasing the representation and improving the responsiveness of the Security Council, she said, underscoring the indispensable role of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. She noted the various positions and proposals on the five key issues of the reform and emphasized the importance of continued dynamic engagement on them. Regarding CARICOM’s proposal for a dedicated seat for small island developing States, she noted with approval the significant and growing support for its creation.
She appreciated the webcasting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations and a website that serves as a repository for statements and other documents, showcasing the commitment to making the process as transparent and accessible as possible. She welcomed efforts to expand the discussions on Security Council reform to garner the views of other stakeholders through the “Taxel Talks”. CARICOM believes it would send a very positive signal if the outcome document from the Summit of the Future reflected the Assembly’s aspiration to advance Security Council reform, aligning with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels by 2030.
ERIK LAURSEN (Denmark), also speaking on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that reinforcing and building convergences is at the heart of the group’s work. Urging Member States to work together to establish the broadest possible political agreement, he underlined the importance of a willingness to compromise towards a common goal of a more inclusive, transparent, accountable and ultimately more effective Council. The proposed approach for a structured dialogue could be a good way to go forward this session, he noted, adding that he looked forward to engaging in an interactive way on the details of all models. Further, next year’s Summit of the Future will be an opportunity for Member States to suggest concrete recommendations. To that end, he welcomed the work of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, and the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace as valuable inputs.
He went on to express optimism about the continuation of the many excellent innovations last session which enriched the substantive discussions, including the webcasting of the intergovernmental negotiations framework discussions and the repository of positions and documents, as well as the initiative to share States’ recommendations with the Chair of the Security Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. “The most important thing is that we arrive at a concrete and meaningful result,” he said, stressing the importance of flexibility, openness and trust. Moreso, he added: “In order to have the required legitimacy to tackle the ever-mounting global challenges of today, the international community requires a Council that is more transparent, more effective, more representative and more accountable.”
SULAY-MANAH KPUKUMU (Sierra Leone), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the bloc remains convinced of the need for comprehensive reform of the UN system, which will significantly contribute to upholding the principles and objectives of the Organization’s Charter. “Africa remains the only major continent without representation in the permanent category of the Security Council, and under-represented in the non-permanent category,” he added. The regional group with the highest number of Member States of the UN and over 1.4 billion people is not equitably represented at the Security Council. Africa's demand for two permanent seats — with all the rights and prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto, if retained, and two additional non-permanent seats is a matter of common justice. “It is equally a matter of common justice to have an equal say in decision-making on issues of international peace and security, in particular, matters that affect the African region,” he stressed.
“It is evident that our call for the immediate redress of the African demand for equitable representation in the UN Security Council continues to garner wide support from the membership of the United Nations,” he went on to say. Recognizing the gains made in the seventy-seventh session, including the introduction of the webcast for the first segment of each of the intergovernmental negotiations meetings, and establishment of the repository, the African Group notes that divergence in the positions of Member States and interest groups on models of reform persist. There are differences as well on procedural matters, challenging the overall progress and consensus building on all the five clusters of the intergovernmental negotiations.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica) said the Security Council’s history is “mired by inequity and self-interest”, which overshadows its core mission. A solution lies in “greater cooperation through greater representation”. The presence of the elected members brings fresh approaches to critical issues of international peace and security by fostering dialogue when permanent members face political constraints. Pointing to the role of the current elected members, including Tunisia, Malta, Estonia and Australia in negotiating resolutions on critical security issues, she underscored their power to unite and innovate. Expansion will empower smaller States to work together to address issues that threaten their countries and regions, and which often are unnoticed by larger States “blinded by their eagerness to win their zero-sum games”. On working methods, she urged a limiting of the veto power to “lessen the outsized influence” of the permanent members.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand) said that polarization has rendered the Council less able to take decisive action when needed. A reformed Council should be more oriented to cultivating cooperation rather than confrontation to address disputes. A reformed Council should also encourage the regions and affected countries to take part in and integrate their input and valuable recommendations for, the Council’s deliberation. In recent months, geopolitical division and polarization have, in some instances, barred the Council from adopting monthly programmes of work. He noted how delays in the circulation of concept notes and the list of speakers for the Council’s open debate have prevented Member States from fully contributing to discussion on key agendas. Inclusive and timely information-sharing on the work of the Council is essential to enable non-Council members and regions to express their views and take part effectively in the Council’s consideration, he said.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco), aligning himself with the African and Arab Groups, said the Council should be updated to reflect the evolution in UN membership. He reiterated support for making the Council more representative and said that consultations are crucial to discuss sensitive issues and reach compromise. In the context of peacebuilding and peacekeeping, he stressed the crucial importance of consultation among Council members, troop- and police-contributing countries and urged enhanced cooperation between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. “It is unacceptable and inconceivable that Africa should be the only continent not represented among the permanent members and underrepresented among the non-permanent members,” he emphasized, adding that among the main 20 troop-contributing countries, 13 are from Africa and they contribute substantially to peacebuilding throughout the world. He called for the allocation of at least two permanent seats for Africa and a permanent seat for the Arab Group.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said that it took the Security Council 40 days to adopt a resolution on the Gaza Strip while the General Assembly, meeting in the format of an emergency special session, was able to act much earlier. Turning to Council reform details, he said that any new permanent members should not be granted the right of the veto. In theory, the process of elections for a non-permanent seat is democratic and open to all States. In practice, however, there is no level playing field for small States. The elections for non-permanent seats are very often dominated by larger regional States, many of whom have established a pattern of seeking a seat on the Council at frequent intervals. It is therefore extremely challenging for a small State to campaign and run against much larger States with any success. There is a “glass ceiling” that discourages or disadvantages small States from presenting their candidature for elections and from getting elected.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said that if States want the Security Council to operate at its full potential, and for it to remain the world's primary forum for addressing threats to international peace and security, it needs to adapt. At the General Assembly last year, President Biden announced that the United States was committed to reform, including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats on the Council, with permanent seats for countries in Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has since reaffirmed this commitment, because he recognizes that the Council, as presently constituted, does not represent today’s realities. Further, a Council that is not representative can be less credible in the eyes of those who do not feel seen, heard or understood. States cannot afford a crisis of confidence in the body. She heard, during a listening tour with Member States and regional groupings, concerns about dysfunction and politicization within the Council. Some believe their voices have gone unheard. In this context, Member States will need to re-examine long-held national positions, ask themselves tough questions and remain open to compromise in order to affect lasting change.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), noting that her country has been a member of the Security Council for almost a year, said that the vetoes witnessed in the last few months reinforced the urgency and calls for that organ’s reform. Such a crisis of the multilateral system must lead to greater representativeness, accountability and efficiency. Against this backdrop, she expressed support for enlarging the Council to reflect the realities of today’s world. That should offer better representation to certain groups of countries, in particular African countries. “In view of the impasse resulting from apparent divergences within the intergovernmental negotiations, a third category of a very limited number of non-permanent, but renewable, seats could be explored,” she suggested. Also advocating for voluntary constraints on the use of veto, she underscored that her country will continue efforts to strengthen the Council’s working methods in favour of transparency and accountability to all UN Member States.
IBRAHIM ZUHUREE (Maldives) said the failure of the Council to even agree on a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza crisis clearly shows that discussions of the most pressing security issues cannot be relegated to a small group of Member States. “The permanent members reflect only 2.5 per cent of the whole membership,” he stressed, expressing support for the expansion of Council membership in both permanent and non-permanent seats which should redress the historical injustices against Africa and include continuous representation of small island developing States and small States. “We must ensure the restriction of veto use, especially in crises like mass atrocities,” he said, calling for the increase of the substantial role and moral authority of the General Assembly and stressing the importance of a more complete, substantive and analytical account of the Council’s work to the Assembly.
ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico), aligning herself with Uniting for Consensus, said that recent events have spotlighted the paralysis in the Security Council. Given its persistence, the question is how to resolve it. Concerns about the veto are clear and lasting. There is no lack of examples of the Council’s inability to act. States have a responsibility to work towards a reform that allows it to comply with its mandate and regain people’s trust. “Reform is more urgent than ever,” she said, adding that this cycle of negotiations is crucial. Measures such as webcasting and the creation of a repository are vital for transparency. Also important is to delve deeper in the discussions on flexibly vis-à-vis existing positions. A more democratic, just and equitable representation is needed.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said that the impact of the Russian Federation’s illegal war continues to be felt in Ukraine and beyond. In Sudan, conflict is causing huge suffering for the Sudanese people. “And of course, we have all witnessed the harrowing images coming out of Gaza, as the humanitarian crisis there deepens,” he added. Global multilateralism is the best tool to collectively tackle these challenges, he emphasized, adding that the United Kingdom continues to call for the expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. “We believe permanent African representation on the Council is long overdue and support new permanent seats for India, Germany, Japan and Brazil,” he added. The United Kingdom also supports an expansion of the non-permanent category of membership, taking the total Council membership to the mid-twenties. More so, the United Kingdom has not exercised its right to use the veto since 1989 and remains committed not to vote against a credible draft resolution to prevent or end a mass atrocity, he reported.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said recent and ongoing crises in the Security Council make reform even more difficult. Recalling the veto initiative put forward by his country in 2022, he said it was a measure to recalibrate the balance between the Security Council and the General Assembly, adding that it can provide an impetus for Council reform. Stressing that the reform must acknowledge the organ’s strengths and weaknesses and prioritize its functionality, he said Liechtenstein has submitted its proposal outlining an “intermediate model”, which proposes creation of long-term renewable seats without additional veto rights. This model has the potential to better represent the geopolitical realities of today, he noted, describing a “politically unhealthy” underrepresentation of African countries in the Council. On the working methods, he encouraged the Security Council to implement the Charter of the United Nations as it stands, in particular Article 27 (3), which has been long neglected.
LEONOR ZALABATA TORRES (Colombia), aligning herself with Uniting for Consensus, said her country is determined to make the Council more comprehensive, which would allow all Member States of the Organization to participate in elaborating the rules and contribute their experiences and positions on diverse problems. Intergovernmental negotiations are the “ideal platform” for this debate, she said, calling unacceptable a reform based on the expansion of permanent seats or the extension of the veto right. She called the veto an “anachronistic, undemocratic and exclusive mechanism that obstructs cooperation in a collective security system,” and urged an increase in the number of new seats for elected members. “The Security Council cannot continue forever to have a structure that is anchored in the past, which gives privileges and prerogatives to just a few and reproduces the same logic of competition of interests between its permanent members, the same as those which existed nearly eight decades ago.”
JONATHAN DAVID PASSMOOR (South Africa), aligning with the Africa Group and the L.69 group, said new conflicts and threats to international security necessitate an urgent and committed discussion on Security Council reform. The Council must be reflective of current geopolitical realities, cognizant that the world is not the same as it was in 1945. For decades, the lack of diversity and the unrepresentativeness of the Council has opened it up to the criticism that it is anachronistic, lacks credibility and legitimacy, and that it employs double standards in the subscription to international law based on Council members’ own interests. Further, the lack of permanent representation of countries from the African continent and Latin America fuels these criticisms, while simultaneously eroding the belief in the United Nations’ ability to foster cooperation. A spirit of inclusive multilateralism is needed to underpin discussions on the reform of the Council. South Africa is willing to engage as broadly and widely as possible to arrive at multilateral solutions, he stated.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), aligning herself with Uniting for Consensus, said that the international community needs and deserves a reformed Security Council. “The starting point of reform should be agreement, among all Member States, on the underlying principles that are to guide the reform process,” she said, adding that various convergences have already emerged among the negotiating groups, and this should be used as a further stepping-stone in the collective pursuit for reform. “Our proposal upholds the principles of democracy, transparency and equality,” she said, calling against reinventing the wheel or creating parallel tracks which could adversely impact common goals. “A functioning Member-State driven process is already set up and we should lead all our efforts through it,” she said, looking forward to an open and constructive discussion based on a commitment to serve and represent.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia) regretted the Council’s inability to take decisions in response to grave crises, threats to peace and armed conflicts, which sends an exceedingly pessimistic message to the international community. Slovenia expects the intergovernmental negotiations process to be effective, goal-oriented, and to produce concrete results. This means that Member States should negotiate genuinely and that proposed texts with attribution should be the basis of those deliberations. On representation, categories of membership, and working methods, Slovenia believes some groups are definitely underrepresented in the Council. Slovenia supports the demands for more seats for the African Group, whose number of States has more than doubled in the past three decades. Also, Slovenia advocates for at least one additional non-permanent Council member. Finally, those with the veto right should exercise it responsibly, restrictively and refrain from misusing it.
NORBERTO MORETTI (Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of Four and the L.69 group, said that at a time when the world needs it most, the Security Council has shown itself to be incapable of, or find great difficulty in, meeting its primary responsibility in key conflicts, situations and regions. Such difficulty has already negatively impacted the collective security framework, multilateralism, and the adherence to international law. Without reform, the crisis will only deepen. The Security Council cannot be fully legitimate and effective as long as the developing world is sidelined and entire regions, such as Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa, are not represented in the permanent category. Any reform that does not address this major flaw would be mere window dressing and, worse, aggravate current imbalances in the composition of the Council. Further, harnessing the momentum created by a record number of leaders recognizing the need for reform at the last General Debate is needed, he stressed.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), aligning himself with the Group of Four and welcoming a structured dialogue on individual proposals, said that his country is determined to engage constructively in the discussions. He encouraged all Member States and groups to be the penholders and submit their own models for reform. “Let us write what we believe is right, then clarify, question and debate on what others believe is right,” he said, adding that interactive discussions on each model would serve this purpose and lead to concrete achievements. “During [the] high-level week in September, more than 80 Member States made statements calling for Security Council reform,” he said, spotlighting a growing sense of urgency for a more representative, efficient and effective Council. “We have all witnessed the challenges [the] Council is facing not being able to meet the expectations of the international community on some of the most pressing issues of our day, including the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East,” he stressed.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India), noting that there is no negotiating text, no time frame and no defined end goal for the reform, said that as a member of the Global South, India shares its “collective angst” that on issues of core concern to the group, its members “have no voice at the high table”. Any further delay in Security Council reform exacerbates its representational deficit. Under India's presidency of the G20, a significant stride was made by securing Africa a permanent seat at the table, proving that, with political determination, “change is indeed achievable”. She urged the Council to align with its Charter mandate to represent the interests of all Member States. Such alignment is crucial for ably navigating the intricate global challenges and conflicts. “We firmly believe that the calls for reformed multilateralism, with Security Council reforms at its core, are supported by the overwhelming majority of the membership,” she said.
DARLINGTON MASHOKO KADYAUTUMBE (Zimbabwe), aligning himself with the African Group, said the present composition of the Security Council no longer fits the contemporary world. Calling for more equitable and balanced representation, which reflects geopolitical and other realities, he said it will contribute towards the redress of historical injustices against a continent of 1.4 billion people that does not have a single permanent seat. In that regard, Africa should have two permanent seats in the Security Council, with all the rights and prerogatives, including the right to veto and five non-permanent seats as outlined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. While stressing that he opposed the veto in principle, he said it should be extended to all permanent members, new and old, without prejudice. On the working methods, he advocated for an increased collaboration with troop‑ and police-contributing countries and regional groups, as well as for the extension of penholdership.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia), aligning himself with the L.69 group, said at a time of rising geopolitical tensions, the Security Council lacks the capacity to effectively address these challenges. It is crucial to accelerate the reform process, he said, reiterating a need to start negotiations based on a single consolidated text to achieve tangible results within a specified time frame. The Summit of the Future can accelerate work towards reform, he said, adding that Mongolia supports enlarging both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership and prioritizes fair geographical distribution, with a particular focus on addressing the underrepresented and unrepresented regions and groups. He expressed appreciation for the concrete advances made during the seventy-seventh session and he thanked the Co-Chairs for their efforts to enhance the transparency, openness and inclusivity of the intergovernmental negotiations by implementing webcasting and recordkeeping which are indispensable for smaller missions like Mongolia’s.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), aligning himself with Uniting for Consensus, said that the Council has failed so far to stop the slaughter in Gaza. The inability of its permanent members to agree on decisive action is the primary reason for frequent failures to respond effectively to conflicts. However, adding new permanent members will statistically multiply the prospects of that paralysis. Any country seeking a more frequent presence on the Council should be democratically and periodically elected by the General Assembly. He warned that no model of Council reform can be developed until Member States reconcile the key divergences within the five clusters of issues. Consideration of the Council’s reform must remain exclusively within the intergovernmental negotiations process, he said, cautioning against duplication at the forthcoming Summit of the Future.
ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia) said that he looked forward to making further progress on the issue of reform. “Finally, a glimpse of humanity prevailed in the Security Council yesterday,” he said, and welcomed the resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in Gaza, a first step by the Council towards a ceasefire and to addressing the suffering of the Palestinians. “However, the journey for the Council to effectively discharge its mandate is a long one,” he observed, pointing out that it has taken over a month for the Council to act. With more than 11,000 lives lost, that is a situation that raises questions about the existence of the Council itself. Stronger political commitment at the highest level is needed for reform, he stressed, adding: “We must get off the … merry-go-round discussion on the Security Council reform.” He also welcomed the webcasting and record-keeping of the intergovernmental negotiations framework.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), associating himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, said that the United Nations and all of its bodies are facing a test. For more than a month, Israel has continued its deadly bombardments, war crimes, genocide and ethnic cleansing. When the Council finally adopted a resolution on Gaza, it did not include a call for a ceasefire. “If we truly want to be sincere, we must recognize that the current Security Council is not able to implement its functions,” he added. It is no longer acceptable that the Security Council’s permanent members be limited to a certain number of countries. The international community and the Council are directly linked to implementing and imposing resolutions on all countries. “No country is beyond international law,” he added. Security Council reform will only be reached by consensus. The veto right remains a cornerstone of the Security Council. Africa must gain two permanent seats with all prerogatives, including the veto, he added.
JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea), associating himself with Uniting for Consensus, said he supports enlargement of elected membership to a reasonable and manageable size, reflecting the increase in the UN membership by 80 countries since 1963. “We have seen enough of how things can go wrong with a system of permanent or forever membership,” he said. The Republic of Korea remains flexible on the specific modalities for expanded non-permanent membership. However, the principle of “equitable geographical distribution” enshrined in Article 23 is the main guidance. This principle only applies to non-permanent membership for election purposes and was used when the latest reform of the Council took place in 1963. In today’s composition, Asia-Pacific is the most underrepresented among the five regional groups. This fact should be duly reflected to achieve equitable geographical distribution in the next reform.
JORGE VIDAL (Chile) said the world is seeing an increasing number of conflicts and threats to international peace and security. In this context, it is critical that the United Nations, and above all the Security Council, fulfil their responsibility. He stressed that Chile is in favour of a more representative, streamlined, participatory, democratic, transparent, efficient and effective Security Council with an acknowledged methodology of work. Any reform should provide equitable representation to reflect the current geopolitical realities. Further, it is unacceptable to see the veto used in any way to prevent the Council from acting. He noted that it has been used 10 times in the last two years. He voiced his support for increasing the number of members’ categories, but without giving those members the right to veto, and without pre-determining the exact number of the new members. In order for this reform to be successful and lasting, broad support from Member States is needed, he said.
ZHANG JUN (China) noted with regret that the functioning of the Security Council is currently deeply affected by geopolitical confrontation, power politics and double standards. Outlining four principles of the reform, he first pointed to the unjust composition, inadequate representation and unreasonable structure of the Council, “where one block has been dominating its affairs”. The reform must follow the right direction, which is to effectively increase the representation and voice of developing countries, he said. Pointing to the third principle, he stressed that the reform should pursue a packaged solution based on the five “clusters”, while at the same time the fourth principle be based on a consensus approach and “be able to stand the test of time and history”. Highlighting the role of the intergovernmental negotiations process as the main channel for discussing Security Council reform, he warned against starting a new process during the Summit of the Future.
SEDAT ÖNAL (Türkiye), aligning himself with Uniting for Consensus, said the need for the Council reform is undeniable and undeferrable, as it has failed to deliver in terms of establishing ceasefire and stopping the unspeakable suffering in Gaza. “We believe that permanent membership status, with or without veto power, is undemocratic and the expansion of the Council should be envisaged only in elected membership, based on a just system of rotation and regional representation,” he said, adding that, ideally, the veto right should be lifted or at least limited while coordination and cooperation between the Council and the Assembly should be strengthened. For the reform process to advance, constructive engagement of all members is needed. In view of the urgency and critical importance of Council reform, he pledged his country’s active participation in the upcoming discussions.
ANTONIO M. LAGDAMEO (Philippines), observing that the Security Council has had its present form since 1966, emphasized that enlargement to achieve equitable and balanced geographical distribution is long overdue. “An expanded and more representative Security Council should be realized to make it more responsive to the rapidly growing and evolving global security architecture and twenty-first century geopolitical realities,” he added. To that end, a balanced increase in non-permanent members reflecting the needs of underrepresented regions should be explored that would ensure inclusivity while maintaining the Council's effectiveness. The veto power, meanwhile, often hinders the Council's ability to act swiftly on critical issues, reflecting a more polarized world and the conflicting interests of its permanent members. “The veto should not paralyse the Security Council in dealing with issues concerning peace and war,” he said, noting that it might a challenge to remove the veto privileges of the permanent members. However, curtailing its exercise should be considered.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said the reform of the Council is necessary for its authority and representativeness while preserving its executive and decision-making nature. He stressed that the start of negotiations must be conducted on the basis of a draft text. “The goal now is to have a single document,” he noted, urging to acknowledge the emergence of new Powers which have the will and the capacity to assume the responsibility of a permanent presence in the Council. “To preserve the executive and operational nature, an expanded Council could now include up to 25 members,” he stressed, supporting the candidacy of Germany, Brazil, India and Japan as permanent members. “We also want a strengthened presence of African countries, including among the permanent members,” he said. Recalling the French proposal that the permanent members of the Council voluntarily suspend the use of vetoes in cases of mass atrocities, he stressed that this initiative is now supported by 106 countries.
SOFIAN AKMAL BIN ABD KARIM (Malaysia) said that in little more than a month, more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed. “We want to see a Security Council that could better respond to current and future challenges,” he said, calling for the veto to be regulated if not abolished because it is ineffective and undemocratic. “We see the veto as an obstacle to greater accountability and transparency in how the Security Council conducts its business,” he said. It is “morally indefensible” for one Permanent Member to overrule the wishes of most Member States. “Unfortunately, we see this time and time again,” he said. Reforming the Council today will leave a consequential impact on future generations. He urged all Member States to demonstrate greater political will to work towards a mutually acceptable conclusion in the interest of international peace, security, and prosperity.
AMAR BENDJAMA (Algeria), aligning himself with the African Group and the Arab Group, said the intergovernmental negotiations framework must remain the only body for discussion of potential Security Council reform. Failure to adhere to it may exacerbate the differences in opinions between Member States as they embark upon the next phase of negotiations. The last discussions on Security Council reform highlighted the need to swiftly meet the legitimate expectations of Member States, in particular African countries, so as to repair the historic injustice inflicted on the continent. It is unjust and unacceptable that Africa can still be excluded from the decision-making process, which very often intimately concerns the continent’s countries. Africa must be able to play its full role on the international stage, notably through African representation in the category of permanent members of the Security Council, with all rights and prerogatives enjoyed by current members, including the right to a veto.
DIAMANE DIOME (Senegal), aligning himself with the African Group, recalled that the Council adopted its first resolution on the Palestinian question 75 years ago and the latest one in 2016, remaining silent since then, which shows the need to reform the 15-member organ. Underscoring that Africa’s entry into the permanent category contributes to the repair of a historical injustice, he said his continent must be provided with two permanent and two additional non-permanent seats. “The only valid model for reform is that which includes an expansion of the permanent category and strengthening the principle of regional representation,” he stressed, adding that his delegation supports the comprehensive abolition of the veto and the France-Mexico initiative to limit its use in cases of mass atrocities. He also said the Assembly cannot be a futile sounding board for the Council’s dissonances and must better guide and support the action of the Council.
DAMIANO BELEFFI (San Marino), associating himself with Uniting for Consensus, said that credible reform of the Council requires a comprehensive approach, in which Member States are driving negotiations. Intergovernmental negotiations is the right forum for negotiations as it allows for a membership-driven process and it is the most legitimate and appropriate setting for these discussions. All geographical groups must be fairly represented on the Council. A more democratic, accountable and inclusive Council would be a powerful tool to reinforce multilateralism, as would a fairer representation of the African continent, Arab countries, small island developing States and other groups of countries which are underrepresented. It is more important than ever to work together to forge stronger political consensus on the Council’s vital reform.
REBECCA SUZANNE BRYANT (Australia) stressed the need to secure greater permanent and non-permanent representation on the Security Council for Africa, Latin America and Asia. She said she looked forward to working to strengthen ties between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission when Australia takes up a seat on the Commission in 2025. Better standards need to be developed on the use of the veto, so that its use is more transparent and limited, she emphasized, adding: “We commend the work of Member States such as Mexico, France and Liechtenstein, who have brought forward tangible proposals that bring us closer to our shared goal of Security Council reform.” To that end, Australia stands ready to engage on new proposals and urges Members to move to text-based negotiations, she said. Such negotiations help to build consensus by allowing delegations to engage openly, improving understanding of positions and the prospects of finding common ground which so many urgently want.
NGUYEN HOANG NGUYEN (Viet Nam) said the 15 November adoption of the first resolution on the situation in Gaza by the Security Council brought some hope. “It remains inexplicable … why it took this most exclusive and powerful organ more than five weeks, after more than 10,000 innocent lives had been lost, to finally reach an agreement of limited scope,” he said. The Council should be expanded in both permanent and non-permanent membership to ensure enhanced representation with seats allocated to the most underrepresented regions, especially developing countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific. The Council should also conduct more public meetings and, drawing from the recent events, the use of the veto should be restrained, he said, and expressed appreciation for the webcasting of meetings, the establishment of a repository for documents as well as the open-house meetings to facilitate candid discussions and bring in fresh ideas.
ALI KARIMI MAGHAM (Iran) said that safeguarding the Security Council’s credibility requires an unequivocal rejection of any attempts to use it for pursuing national political agendas. Pointing to the Council’s “massive failure” to respond to the ongoing war crimes against the Palestinians, he said it is “a clear indication of the necessity for material change” in this body. Recalling the newly adopted Council resolution calling for humanitarian pauses, he stressed that the Council should have adopted a more robust text urging a durable and urgent ceasefire in Gaza. The expansion of permanent and non-permanent membership without considering the five reform clusters risks misrepresenting Member States’ positions, he warned. Discussions about the veto authority, criticized by a large majority of Member States, should top the agenda of the intergovernmental negotiations process, he said, adding that all decisions should be adopted by consensus.
MD RAFIQUL ALAM MOLLA (Bangladesh) said the persistent inaction of the Council in the face of the ongoing atrocities in Gaza is a stark reminder for immediate and comprehensive reform. “The Council’s failure to act decisively to prevent the tragic loss of innocent lives, particularly children and women, is a blatant affront to the very principles upon which this Organization was founded,” he stressed, underscoring the significance of ensuring that new permanent members remain committed to upholding the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. “We must ensure that certain underrepresented regions, such as Africa, the Asia-Pacific and Latin America have due representation in the enlarged Council,” he added, calling for an opportunity for developing countries, including small island developing States, to serve in the Council. “My delegation will join consensus that emerges on the veto question,” he said, urging that its application be limited only for certain compelling situations such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
FABIÁN ODDONE (Argentina), aligning himself with Uniting for Consensus, said all agree that the Council does reflect an obsolete reality built in 1945. “For my country, a genuine reform of the Security Council must help us to alleviate the current global problems and reflect the progress that the world has made over the last 78 years,” he said, underscoring that efficiency and veto are two mutually exclusive concepts. “If it is not realistic to reduce the number of permanent members, then we should at least not add new permanent members,” he stressed, adding that only an increase in the non-permanent members category can make the Council more effective, democratic and representative. “Our goal during the next session should be to further reduce the main gaps separating the main negotiating groups,” he said.
JOAQUIN A. PEREZ (Venezuela) said the principles of inclusion and legal equality between States must guide the process of negotiation towards Council reform. Member States should redouble efforts to correct the persistent historic inequalities inherited from colonialism, including the composition of the Council itself. He emphasized Venezuela’s support for the appropriate representation of African countries, noting that more than a quarter of Member States are African. In addition, making the Council more representative is necessary to ensuring its ability to respond to today’s pressing challenges to peace and security. It also would allow the Council to fully assume the responsibilities mandated to it by the Charter of the United Nations. That includes putting an end to situations of genocide such as that which the Palestinians are facing today after years of Israeli occupation and aggression.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland), welcoming the Council’s adoption of the resolution on the Gaza Strip, noted that for nearly six weeks the 15‑nation organ was unable to fulfil its responsibility to maintain international peace and security. “This only reinforces the need for reform,” he said, also calling for the abolishment of the veto power. Further, he recalled that last year, his delegation warned that the Security Council and the Charter of the United Nations were at risk of being severely undermined by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. The Council has simply not kept pace with the changing world. Remedying this means ensuring that African States, smaller States and the most vulnerable States get adequate representation on the Council. “For progress to occur, we need to move beyond the repetition of talking points,” he added. But “if we fail to act”, the “price we pay” will be the legitimacy of not just the Council but the UN itself.
The General Assembly considered the reports of the Fifth Committee, “Appointments to fill vacancies in subsidiary organs and other appointments” and voted to appoint or reappoint the following members to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (document A/78/558): Surendra Kumar Adhana (India), Abdallah Bachar Bong (Chad), Feliksas Bakanauskas (Lithuania), Ali Ben Said (Tunisia), Simon Horner (United Kingdom), Evgeny Kalugin (Russian Federation), Julia Maciel (Paraguay), Caroline Nalwanga (Uganda), Juliana Gaspar Ruas (Brazil) and Stephani Laura Scheer (United States) for a three-year term beginning January 2024.
The Assembly also voted to appoint or reappoint the following members to the to the Committee on Contributions (document A/78/559): Suzuki Yoriko (Japan) for a one-year term beginning 1 January 2024, and Michael Holtsch (Germany), Vadim Laputin (Russian Federation), Lin Shan (China), Hae-yun Park (Republic of Korea), Henriqueda Silveira Sardinha Pinto (Brazil) and Cihan Terzi (Türkiye) for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2024.
The Assembly appointed or reappointed Yasir Al-Rumayyan (Saudi Arabia), Sarah Omotunde Alade (Nigeria), Natalia Khanjenkova (Russian Federation), Shan Li (China) and Patricia Parise (Argentina) as regular members of the Investments Committee for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2024 and reappointed Secretary-General Macky Tall (Mali) as an ad hoc member of the Committee for a one-year term of office, beginning 1 January 2024 (document A/78/560).
Finally, the Assembly also appointed the Chair of the Federal Court of Accounts of Brazil as a member of the Board of Auditors for a six-year term of office beginning 1 July 2024 (document A/78/561) and appointed or reappointed Jeanette Franzel (United States) and Imran Vanker (South Africa) as members of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2024 (document A/78/562).