Huda Ali Shareef, PR to UNESCAP,
At the Plenary of the Seventy Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly:
Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council
15 November 2021
Thank you, Mr. President for convening this debate on the pressing issue of Security Council reform.
I would like to take this opportunity to also congratulate, and welcome, our co-chairs for the Intergovernmental Negotiation on UN Security Council, Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar, who will continue as co-chair, and new co-chair Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark. I assure you of our full support as you work to guide us efforts towards our shared, and necessary, goal of comprehensive reform of the Security Council.
I would also like to thank Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland, who along with Ambassador Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, directed our work during the 75th session.
It is crucial that the diversity of the UN membership is reflected in the make-up of the Security Council, a Main Organ of the UN, bearing primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
At the time the current composition of the Council was decided, many Member States were not yet independent. Additionally, today’s security challenges are much more complex and different than the challenges of those times. The current challenges are simultaneously broader in scope and require greater cooperation and participation of multiple stakeholders to resolve the issues. This requires that the Security Council reflect a range of views to ensure its responsiveness and effectiveness to tackle the most pressing challenges of our time.
During the General Debate of the 76th Session of the General Assembly President Solih emphasised your theme “Presidency of hope”, and conveyed that the UN presents the best hope for resolving “the various problems that afflict our global community.” Mr. President, to ensure the UN lives up to this hope, we must strive to “instil new life” and make concrete progress on this issue, as soon as possible.
The Maldives believes that the Security Council should reflect the realities of today’s world. We believe in a Council composition that reflects equitable geographical distribution; a Council whose decisions and decision-making processes are more democratic and consider the views of all UN member States.
To achieve an equitable geographical distribution, as required by Article 23, we support the expansion of Security Council Membership in both permanent and non-permanent seats.
Expansion of the Security Council should include membership for small and developing states, who are facing unique and pressing security challenges. When elected, these Member States, that are regularly underrepresented in the Council, brings fresh perspective into its work.
Since the establishment of the Security Council, very few Small Island Developing States have managed to secure a seat. Past elections have clearly demonstrated that small states with fewer resources are at an unjust disadvantage when competing for a seat. This is why simply increasing representation is just not enough. This process requires further improvements to the working methods of the Council, including a more democratic and transparent election process.
Reform is necessary to ensure that the Security Council can proficiently address emerging, non-traditional security threats such as climate change and sea-level rise. These non-traditional challenges threaten the very existence of several States, who deserve to have their security priorities considered by the Council, and should rightfully, be a part of the efforts to address them.
The Security Council must also have effective institutional working arrangements with the General Assembly, and other relevant UN bodies, to ensure that the decision-making process is inclusive, and the Council can address these and other emerging security challenges effectively.
Over the past seven decades other major international institutions have taken steps to change and adapt. It is a necessity to ensure relevance in an ever changing world. There simply is no reason to leave the Security Council out of this process - especially considering that it is the most empowered institution within the United Nations System. It is high time to bring the Security Council in line with its Charter responsibility to act on behalf of all UN member states.
Let us redouble our efforts to make the Security Council fit for purpose in the 21st century. Let us move from rhetoric to concrete actions to make it a truly representative, accountable, democratic, transparent, and effective institution.
I thank you.