Statement of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, at the Ministerial Meeting on Global Governance and Security Council Reform
Islamabad: Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to congratulate you on organizing this important Conference and on the very strong political participation by Member States here today.
Cooperative arrangements and inclusive approaches are required to effectively address the diverse and complex global challenges of today. We can succeed by promoting common good and global cohesion instead of furthering individual agendas.
The United Nations is indispensable in advancing this collective objective. It is therefore imperative to reinforce the world body’s central role in global governance. The UN must also adapt to the evolving challenges and realities. A positive and sustainable transformation of UN institutions necessarily entails enhanced participation and transparency in their composition, as well as work and decision making. A change based on inclusive democratic principles will transcend present and emerging realities alike.
These principles also apply to the reform of the UN Security Council, an objective that Member States have actively sought for many years. While there remain many divergences in positions, general agreement has emerged among Member States on some fundamental objectives and principles. Let me enumerate three of them:
i. First, on the need for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council encompassing all key inter-linked issues
ii. Second, that the reform must make the Security Council more equitable, diverse and plural in terms of representation; as well as more open and accountable to reflect the aspirations of the general membership
iii. Third, that this reform should be in conformity with the overriding principles of the Charter, particularly sovereign equality of Member States
Our challenge is to translate this broad political agreement into a tangible reform outcome for toady and for the future. This requires consensus-building and that has all along been our approach including in the Inter-governmental Negotiations. The dynamic and flexible proposal put forward by Pakistan, along with other UfC colleagues, are practical demonstration of our political will to build bridges, avoid deadlock and make difficult compromises for the common good.
On the other hand, the futility of unilateral and piecemeal initiatives based on rigid positions has been amply proved in the past as also in the prevailing scenario. If anything, such moves deepen divisions and breed mistrust which only perpetuates stalemate and delays the reform process at large.
We hope that this Meeting will unite the membership and reinvigorate the discourse, for which the three identified themes serve a useful purpose. Let me share a few thoughts on these themes.
Regional Representation is not only a concept conforming to the principles of reform but also an emerging norm in the conduct of multilateralism. Its potential in enhancing the credentials of the Council in terms of representation and accountability is clear as opposed to the drawbacks of individual permanent membership. It can also serve the dual purpose of a modest expansion of the Council while also ensuring wider representation to regional, sub-regional and cross-regional groups, some of which like the African Union and the OIC have important stakes in the Council and whose quest for adequate representation we support.
A discussion on the Criteria for Representation is inevitable to ensure that the Council’s membership, which entails both rights and obligations, can effectively contribute to its primary responsibility of international peace and security, in a democratic and accountable framework. This discussion should also cater to the interests of Small States whose participation would certainly add value to the work of the Council. On its part, Pakistan supports a dedicated arrangement such as that proposed in the Italy-Colombia paper to ensure the presence of small States in the Council.
Much of the criticism of the Council is attributed to its exclusive and opaque nature of working and decision-making. While the responsibility of improving Methods and Procedures lies with the Council, this objective is intrinsically linked to other areas of comprehensive reform, including through increased proportion of ‘elected members’ vis-à-vis ‘permanent members’ and enacting checks and limitations on the use of the veto.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the last fifteen years, many models of Security Council reform have been presented. A fundamental question that we, as Member States, should pose ourselves is how a given model corresponds to our legitimate interests including chances of serving at the Council.
There is no doubt in our mind that in order to move forward, we need to arrive at a workable middle ground that caters to the interests of the large majority of members and not just of a select few. Such an outcome will certainly be at some distance from our original positions, but it will be a win-win for all. We are ready, willing and able to achieve this objective. This is the message that should go out from this Meeting.
For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604