Ibrahim Zuhuree, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the Plenary on Agenda Item 125: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council
17 November 2022
Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this important debate on the urgent issue of Security Council reform.
Let me begin by expressing our appreciation to the new co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council, H.E. Mr. Michal Mlynár, Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Tareq Albanai, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait for your leadership and efforts to advance this agenda. I would like to assure the co-chairs of full support from the Maldives to the process as you guide our shared efforts towards the necessary goal of comprehensive Security Council reform.
We would also like to commend Ambassador Alya Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar, and Ambassador Martin Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark for their dedicted efforts and leadership in steering the IGN during the 76th session.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing incidents of conflict and military confrontation show, more clearly than ever, the necessity of global cooperation and multilateral action. Yet, here in the United Nations, discussion of the most pressing security issues has been relegated to a small group of member states, and the authority for absolute decision-making has been consolidated in even fewer hands.
It has been fifty-seven years since the Security Council's membership was last enlarged. Over these years, while the UN’s overall membership has increased from 113 in 1965 to 193 today, there has been no further expansion of the Council.
The Maldives believes that a the reform of the Security Council, is a critical aspect of the revitalisation of the United Nations. Indeed, this is a goal that the Maldives has long advocated for. The Maldives was one among the 10 member states that requested the inclusion of this agenda item in 1979. We are 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 the Council should reflect the realities of today’s world. We believe that the Council composition should reflect an equitable geographical distribution. We believe the Council should embrace democratic, responsive, and responsible decisions and decision-making processes. . The Maldives has consistently called for the Council to increase its number of permanent and non-permanent seats. Any increased representation should reflect both developing countries and small- and medium-sized states, which includes SIDS and and redress the historical injustices against Africa.
We are in the fourteenth year of the IGN process and ongoing reform efforts. The Maldives welcomed the new approach that the co-chairs of the 76th Session ushered in. We appreciate the substantial use of guiding questions and ‘unformal meetings’ that allowed us to go beyond repetitive prepared statements and contributed to an increase in real dialogue for areas of convergence.
Moving forward, however, it is critical to focus on concrete progress. The Maldives reiterates its firm view that we must move towards a single negotiating text during the 77th Session. Our intention with this text should be to incorporate the positions of the Member States and Groups with their attributions. This goal will improve transparency and accountability — principles that will instill new life in our discussions of Security Council reform.
Reform is also necessary to ensure that the Security Council can sufficiently 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. We believe that given the changing understanding of threats to international peace and security, the Security Council must also evolve to consider the implications on international peace and security, from non-traditional security threats.
Given this reality, it is clear that we need a Council whose membership includes small and developing states facing unique and pressing security challenges. Since the establishment of the Security Council, very few Small Island Developing States have managed to secure one of its coveted rotating seats. Past elections have demonstrated that small states, with fewer resources, are at an unjust disadvantage when campaigning for a seat.
Contemporary challenges require greater cooperation, and participation of multiple stakeholders with varying viewpoints, to resolve issues effectively. This is why increasing representation in the Council alone is not enough. We need further improvements to the working methods of the Council.
Therefore, the Maldives supports increasing the substantial role and moral authority of the General Assembly. The Maldives co-sponsored the veto initiative adopted during 76th Session of the General Assembly. As a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group we are encouraged by the Security Council’s establishment of a consistent practice regarding the initiative’s implementation.
Let me conclude by reiterating the imperative need for Security Council reform. We ought to have an efficient, effective, representative, and accountable Council. We hope that the constructive spirit demonstrated during 76th Session will guide negotiations among Member States in the 77th Session.
I thank you.