Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, at the 3rd meeting of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council (04 April 2019)

Distinguished Co-Chairs,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Ambassador of Italy on behalf of the UfC.

As a follow up to the second meeting of the IGN, our discussions todayhave a solid basis to commence a holistic review of the five clusters and their interlinkages.

This of course would require more indepth discussion not limited to just this meeting.

For the membership to live up to this challenge, what is also required is to constructively engage with a view to find ‘common ground’.

This entails a step-by-step approach, by progressively building on what has already been achieved.

Any so-called ‘quick fix’ solutions aimed at addressing ‘substantive’ issues when no common ground has been found, will not work. The call for text-based negotiations does nothing to address this. Indeed this would only reinforce the division that already exist and set us back.

The IGN process is too important to be reduced to procedural short cuts.

At the same time, we cannot give a ‘free pass’ to those who avoid engaging on substantive aspects of reform, yet complain of lack of progress within the IGN process.

An appropriate response from the Co-Chairs would be to stay the course for a meaningful dialogue during the remainder of the IGN.


The relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council is founded on two overarching principles – responsibility and accountability.

Article 24.1 clearly stipulates that the Security Council acts on behalf of the UN member states; and Article 24.3 requires the Council to submit annual and, when necessary, special reports of the General Assembly for its consideration.

On the issue of accountability, contemporary reality entails that this ideal can only be ensured by placing democratic principles at the heart of the Council’s composition and working methods. Periodic elections provide the best mechanism to the general membership to advance this objective.

After all, if elections and accountability are fundamental to our governments, parliaments, regional and international bodies and multilateral institutions, why should the Security Council be an exception to this?

The best way to ensure a responsible and accountable Council is to strengthen the role and authority of the General Assembly in determining its representation in the Council.

Whether it is regional representation, or equitable geographical distribution, the Council can be made more broadly representative of the general membership by adding electable non-permanent seats which would reflect the interests of all its members – small, medium and large.

We need to increase, not diminish, the ratio of non-permanent to permanent members.


An expansion in the size of the Security Council is also an imperative of greater representation – after all, membership of the UN has grown by over seventy percent since the last expansion in the Council, in 1963.

The representative character of an enlarged Council however, needs to be balanced against the need to maintain its efficiency and effectiveness.

As true representation is inherently linked to active and continuous accountability, any measure of effectiveness is contingent on redressing the Council’s existing dysfunctionalities, and not reinforcing them.

The only satisfactory outcome to meet these twin objectives is through an expansion in the elected non-permanent category of seats.

We can therefore, only marvel at the ingenuity of those who offer solutions that reduce the margin of representation between the permanent and elected members, yet, promote them in the name of a more representative and effective Council.

When a third of the membership has never served on the Council, these solutions aim to further the self-interests of a few, at the expense of the many who may, in consequence, be deprived from ever serving on the Council.

What is needed is to strengthen the representation of elected members on the Council, not to emasculate their role.


The debate on the Council’s working methods is centered on the need to enhance transparency, openness and inclusive decision making in the functioning of the Council.

It goes without saying that the majority of member states attribute the non-transparency and exclusive nature of working and decision-making of the Council to its permanent members.

For reasons all too apparent, the impulse for this reform has primarily come from non-permanent members of the Council. Having served on the Council seven times, we speak from that experience.

In particular, during our last term in the Council in 2012-13, my country reinvigorated the practice of wrap-up sessions. This tradition, in turn, has been followed by other elected members, ever since.

Any expansion in the permanent category can imperil these gains.

We have heard expressions of sincerity by some individual aspirants that as permanent members of the Council, they would prioritize collective good over individual interest.

These claims however, fail to stand the test of scrutiny especially when they are calibrated against the telling evidence of the Council’s conduct during the last 70 years.

It is this conduct, after all, that has stood in the way of UN Security Council resolutions – not one but many – on Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, being implemented. Solemn promises have been broken undertakings have been reneged on.

Also, we know only too well that Permanent members of the Council jealously guard their domain. There is no reason to believe that that any new permanent members would act otherwise.

We cannot allow the ideal of a more transparent and open Council to be mortgaged to the narrow interests of a few.


Pakistan continues to seek a comprehensive reform of the Security Council to turn it into a more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and efficient body.

This is an ideal that we all espouse. This is also an ideal that will make the UN ‘fit for purpose’ to confront the challenges of tomorrow.

The onus is collectively on us. After all, the UN will be as strong or as weak as we, the member states, wish it to be.

I thank you.