Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at IGN meeting on Security Council Reform in the Trusteeship Council Chamber
(New York, 6 February 2017)

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

My delegation is pleased to see these Inter-Governmental Negotiations being chaired by two of our ablest colleagues, the Ambassadors of Tunisia and Romania. We have confidence in your ability to guide the IGN forward this year in a consultative, transparent, predictable and consensual manner. Towards this end, you can count on the support of my delegation.

Let me also thank the co-chairs for their statement at the start of session today. We would appreciate if a copy of these remarks is circulated.

We fully associate ourselves with the statement delivered by Italy, on behalf of the Uniting for Consensus (UfC).

Pakistan’s position on Security Council reform is well known. In this forum we have elaborated our ideas on all five key issues of reform. And we will continue to do so in this year’s IGN as well.

My delegation stands for a reformed Council that is more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and effective. The Council’s expansion is a necessity but its expansion must allow equal and equitable opportunity to all Member States to get elected. Upholding this basic principle of UN membership is the key to making progress on reform.

The goal set by General Assembly Decision 62/557, which created the IGN process, was to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council on five equally important and interlinked issues, seeking a solution that could enjoy the “widest possible political acceptance”.

This decision also provided that the basis of negotiations would be the “proposals and positions of Member States and negotiating groups.” Through-out the course of this IGN’s history, Pakistan repeatedly asked a series of fundamental questions. Let me mention four of these.

My delegation never received a satisfactory reply to these questions from those seeking permanent status because logical answers to these questions undercut their call for additional permanent seats. To mask this deficit of logic and principles, procedural shortcuts have been sought rather than genuine efforts to bridge divergent positions.

The history of the IGN shows that efforts to work on a text without broad agreement on the nature and principles of reform have proved counterproductive. Working towards convergence on the principles of reform can make it possible for us to engage on a text from a common reference point, making it easier to reach our goal.

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

In the critical area of political governance, the concepts of representation and accountability epitomize the essence of what humanity has learnt from centuries of history and experience. In the 21st century it is inconceivable to establish or run an institution - national or international – which does not embrace the fundamental principles of representation and accountability with periodic elections and fixed term and rotation, as the essential vehicles to implement these principles. But here we are – gridlocked in reforming the Security Council because some among us want a status that defies the basic norms of democratic representation and accountability.

In this process, what is unfortunate is the consequence of this stance for the wider membership, whose genuine demand for equitable representation in the Security Council continues to be retarded and jeopardized.

Mr. Co-Chairs,

We have often heard that the Council should “reflect the realities of the 21st century” to enhance its legitimacy. Taken at face value, there is of course little to disagree with this. But then some use this disingenuously as an argument to further their self-proclaimed candidacies for permanent seats based on contentious criteria for qualification.

Their claim however does not stand the test of accuracy because many States compete with them and even surpass them in all such criteria. Moreover the criteria they lay out for permanent seats is exactly the same as provided in the UN Charter for the non-permanent seats. So, if the criteria is the same, why the difference in character and responsibility?

Mr. Co-Chairs,

Perhaps nothing negates the argument for permanent seats as persuasively as the process of reform itself. Reform reflects our collective desire to adapt to a changing environment. But how can a fixed solution, such as a permanent seat, be an answer to an ever-changing global reality?

Here let me distinguish between national pursuits and consensus demands on behalf of a region, such as Africa, emanating from a genuine sense of feeling disenfranchised. Perhaps African countries have suffered the most by the deadlock created by those harboring a false sense of entitlement. We believe the African demand can best be addressed in a just, equitable and pragmatic manner through the compromise solution offered by the UfC.

Mr. Co-Chairs,

We all know that compromise and flexibility are essential to successful multilateral negotiations. The same is true for the IGN on Security Council reform.

For its part, the UfC has twice revised its proposal in a genuine spirit of compromise to find a solution that works for all. As for others, we can only hope. But we should remain under no doubt that fixed positions and rigidity will keep this process stalled and deadlocked. Had there been flexibility in the unjustified demand for permanent seats, many Member States would already have played a positive role in the Security Council. Together we would have contributed to international peace and security at a pivotal moment in world history, when challenges abound but so do opportunities.

I thank you.