Plenary of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Agenda Item 121: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the
Security Council and related matters
Statement by Ms Mariyam Midhfa Naeem,
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
New York, 30 October 2015
It is an honour for the Republic of Maldives to address this august assembly in the debate on this important agenda item. I take this opportunity to thank His Excellency Mr Courtney Rattray of Jamaica for his able stewardship of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform. My delegation also welcomes the appointment of Her Excellency Ms Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg as the new Chair of the Intergovernmental process.
Seventy years ago, fifty countries embarked on a journey with a promise to change the world for the better. This organisation was born from the ashes and bloodshed of a global war, bringing hope and assurance to achieve progress and prosperity as well as create a safe and secure world. That solemn promise of maintaining international peace and security was tasked primarily to the Security Council. For the better part of the seventy years of the Organisation, we have dwelled on the issue of the reform of the United Nations Security Council. We have spent hours, days , months and years deliberating on a prospective outcome. An outcome that will allow the Council to better execute its functions and powers, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and in the sprit of the principle that this organ is all inclusive and encompassing of the global community. While there is general consensus on the need for reform, my delegation remains deeply concerned by the persistent inability of this General Assembly to ignite this conversation to result in any tangible outcome.
Time and again, we have come before this Assembly calling for the equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council. We have deliberated far too long on the answers to these questions. It is high time that we come to grips with the difficult choices to be made and move forward.
As a small state, who is committed to the strict adherence of the rule of law nationally and internationally, the Maldives has always maintained that the credibility and legitimacy of the Security Council must be ensured through broader and more equitable representation of UN member States in its composition. As it is not, the membership of the Security Council reflects a flawed representation of the world today where its smaller members are left behind.
We, the Small Island Developing States have proven ourselves to be integral members of the international community, having taken important responsibilities in promoting peace and security on the international stage. As a group we currently provide a disproportionate number of peacekeepers with respect to our population, to peacekeeping missions around the world. Yet our voice on this Council remains vastly underrepresented. Over the past quarter century, only six SIDS have served on the Council, out of the 125 elected members during that period. SIDS continue to face growing security concerns from trans-national organized crime, to piracy, to the effects of climate change. The Maldives has raised these issues at the “Arria formula” meeting of the Security Council on the “security dimensions of climate change” in 2013 and the Open Debate on the security concerns of Small Island Developing States in July of this year. While we welcome these initiatives as useful, productive, and essential to recognizing the vast array of security concerns UN Member States face, we must ensure that the momentum these events generate are not lost.
We must ensure that concrete steps are taken. This includes the designation of a SIDS-specific seat. An expanded membership must reflect the diverse nature of the Member States which make up this organization. It is precisely because the Security Council lacks diverse perspectives, that it is unable to meet the diverse needs of the international community.
Diverse membership on this principal organ of the United Nations can only be achieved when principles of equality and representation are given paramount importance. This is especially true when it comes to Security Council election campaign finances. In recent years, this Assembly has seen Council seats reduced to trophies, bought at exorbitant costs by those privileged enough to have the financial ability to do so. A discussion on membership, should appropriately address the fact that Member States do not compete on equal footing, because when it comes to membership in this privileged Organ, we have been unwillingly relegated to a caste and class system, which is in desperate need of overhaul.
We stand at a pivotal moment in world affairs. The challenges that humanity faces are grave and pressing. It is clear that the world today, is distinctively different from the one faced by our predecessors seventy years ago. Its problems are becoming increasing interdependent and interconnected due to globalisation. In countering the threats of the 21stcentury, the role of the Security Council could not be over emphasised. To achieve the noble principles of the United Nations Charter, which enjoin the International Community- individually and collectively- it is imperative that the Council embodies the diversity of the global community and becomes more accountable, coherent and transparent. The functioning and working methods of the Council must become more efficient and genuinely represent the will and interest of the larger UN membership. The Maldives calls upon the Council’s members to ensure the relevance of the Security Council, and its ability to tackle the world’s most pressing issues are increased.
At the beginning of this 70thSession, we adopted the 2030 Agenda at this august Assembly. It was an Agenda that gives hope for the hopeless and an Agenda that has the potential to truly transform our world. Paramount within the Agenda was the call that “no one should be left behind.” Throughout the past decades of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, there is general consensus for the need for the Council’s reform. Paramount among the vast majority that spoke, talked about the Council to be transformed so that there is greater representation, and there is greater equity among the membership. Most of all, the arguments are premised on the basis that everyone should be truly represented and no one should be left behind.