Size of reformed UNSC is a choice of all, for all, by all: India

Size of reformed UNSC is a choice of all, for all, by all: India

Size of reformed UNSC is a choice of all, for all, by all: India

The UN Security Council's size is inextricably linked to the need for equitable geographical distribution, India has said underscoring that the size of a reformed Council is a "choice of all, for all, by all".

"The Council's size is a choice of all, for all, by all. It cannot be allowed to falter on the altar of difficulty in adaptation of current working methods."

"...We cannot stave off change for want of the provisional rules of procedure (which have proved flexible on so many counts) not being able to accommodate aspects of size," India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said.

He was speaking here yesterday at an informal meeting of the General Assembly on Inter-Governmental Negotiations on equitable representation and increase in membership of the Security Council.

He said the size of a reformed Council is inextricably linked to both the need for equitable geographical distribution and a desire for all stakeholders to have a greater opportunity to participate in it.

"...the increase in the number of states and population of the world, since the adoption of the Charter, has been more than three-fold. Yet, all expansion models have projected an increase that is less than that number. It reflects a willingness of all of us to be realistic," he said.

He noted that member states have a preference on every issue and so is the case with size.
However, working in the context of the General Assembly's mandate, "we also accept the sovereign equality of States as the basis of decision making."

"Issues of linkages are complex. They need to be addressed as part of a negotiation process that has detailed proposals available on paper, not through general statements. The earlier we go down that path the greater are chances of clarity. Until then the scope of our discussion will remain limited," he said.

On regional representation, Akbaruddin said a call from States from various regions for representation in a Council that is mandated to represent all states and regions is a "cry of frustration and dissatisfaction" with the existing state of affairs.

"This call is made by some on the basis of historical injustice; by others because entire regions are not equitably represented or even unrepresented in a key category; and by yet others who hope to move beyond the nation-state as the primary actor on global issues. In all cases, it symbolises the belief that the system as it exists has failed the membership," he said.  

Akbaruddin noted that while member states represent themselves, yet on the Council they act on behalf of the entire membership.

"This principle, while being the basis for functioning of the Security Council, is also a reflection of what are perceived imperfections of our current system where a large diversity and divergences of opinions and views exist between and within regions on many crucial issues."

"Clearly, we need to work with the imperfect systems we have. At the same time, we need to recognise that different regions may have different approaches to address this situation," he said.

He cited the example of Africa, which has expressed a desire to have a regional approach to address the issues affecting that region.

It has established region-wide mechanisms for consultation, cooperation and resolution.
While other regions such as the Asia-Pacific, may not move in that direction for a variety of entirely legitimate reasons.

"We need to respect this diversity of perspectives and be open to examine all positions, including the approach of regions like Africa, who collectively ask for their uniqueness to be acknowledged," he said, adding that if Africa wants a consultative arrangement of its own between an African representative and the rest of the region, that is its own choice and UN members need to respect that.

"Approval and agreement of a representative from a region by all Member States is a sine qua non at the UN. All members of the Council act on behalf of all States and on all issues.

They do not merely act on behalf of a specific region and are also not limited to action on issues of a region.

"In essence, we stand ready to examine any supplemental arrangements that are offered by an established geographical region but do not think these can supplant the established process of equitable geographical distribution. It goes without saying that while we ought to be respectful to the unanimous desires of a region, we cannot replicate it elsewhere where such desire does not prevail," he said.

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