I wish to express our deepest appreciation to Ambassador Liu Jieyi, the current President of the Security Council, for presenting the Report of the Security Council under this agenda item. We thank Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, for his dedicated efforts during the past session as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, and congratulate him on his reappointment to lead these negotiations.
Sixty-eight years ago, we reaffirmed our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small. We formed this organisation reaffirming the fundamental principle of equality of all its Members. This organisation shone as a beacon of hope in the darkness of war and poverty. It stood for international peace, an arena where every person, regardless of race, class or belief, was heard, and for international cooperation to achieve freedom from want and freedom from fear.
Yet today, this organisation’s biggest challenge is to remain relevant. Not because its aims and objectives have been decreed irrelevant, but because the power dynamics within the UN governance system does not represent its advanced membership, nor does it reflect the realities of the world we live in today.
The Maldives has been on the forefront of calls for reform of the Security Council since 1979. Similar to other Member States, the Maldives is of the view that comprehensive reform and expansion of the Security Council are essential to make the Security Council democratic in composition, effective in decision-making and accountable to the general membership. We believe that Council reform should transcend current global power politics, and that decisions be reflective of the collective will of the general membership. Reform should not only be based on contemporary realities but should also take into account the outcome of the Council’s decisions. Making the Security Council more representative and balanced and its work more effective and transparent, especially with regard to its decision-making process, is vital for adapting the United Nations to the global realities of the twenty-first century and should be implemented in strict compliance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.
The Maldives believes that the expanded membership of the Security Council should come from both developing and developed countries, including from small states, and should include the participation of countries as reflective of the United Nations’ diverse membership. We believe that such an expansion should include Japan and India among its permanent members. Geographic representation on its own should not be a deciding factor in determining permanent membership of the Council, other considerations such as a country’s ability to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, and its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy should be taken on board as well.
Concurrent but separate to the debate on the long-term reform of the Security Council, the current functioning and working methods of the Council are key focus areas for the Maldives. As part of the cross-regional group, ACT, the Maldives firmly believes that Accountability, Coherence and Transparency are key traits that need to be reflected in the Security Council’s work and in its relationship with the General Assembly today.
According to the United Nations Charter, the Security Council acts on behalf of all of the Member States. And the Members are mandated to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. Thus the request of Member States to be informed and, to the extent possible, be involved in the decision making process, is legitimate. It is every Member States’ right and responsibility. It generates more credibility for the Council and more ownership of its decisions. Moreover, the Council would undoubtedly benefit from a wide range of ideas and the support of the Membership. Thus, we are heartened that during the reporting period, the Council has endeavoured to hold more public meetings and wrap up sessions in efforts to increase the transparency of the Council. We are also encouraged by the monthly briefing sessions by Council Presidents on the work of the Council. However, we ask both members and non-members of the Council to critically and proactively reflect on the month’s work in wrap up sessions. We also ask for the elimination of the disparity between the permanent and non-permanent members, which remains a fundamental flaw of the Council, in that some negotiations and briefings have been limited to the permanent members alone.
The Maldives remains committed wholeheartedly to this process and call for flexibility and the widest possible political acceptance in proceeding with the negotiations. We must be united in taking forward intergovernmental negotiations and finding a solution that is acceptable to all. It is our earnest hope that consensus be achieved in this vein.
The Maldives is a firm believer in the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We are a staunch supporter of democracy, the rule of law, equality and justice. We believe in the purpose of these United Nations, and we believe that the world needs such an organisation today, more than ever. Yet, for it to fulfil its promise, to live up to the expectations of its Members and each and every citizen they represent, to deal with the complex challenges of the world we live in, this organisation must take drastic measures to remain relevant, to reform itself.
Thank you Mr President.