Statement for the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform
New York, 8 May 2014
Statement for the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform by H.E. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the issue of “Security Council Reform - cross-cutting issues”.
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium.
I would like to reiterate the kind condolences to you for the victims of the landslide in your country, as so warmly expressed by the distinguished representative of St. Lucia.
We thank you for convening this meeting on the topic of cross-cutting issues that relate to more than one of the five key issues. The “cross-cutting issues” chapter in the non-paper of the PGA is relatively short, but it mentions one very important issue, namely the review clause. We believe a review clause to be a means of ensuring that we do not close the door on introspection once our appetites for reform are satisfied. A review after a predetermined number of years would allow us to assess the impact of reforms, take into account the geopolitical realities of that moment, and recalibrate where necessary.
Since we are approaching the end of this cycle of debates, we would like to reiterate that the Netherlands and Belgium feel a strong and growing sense of urgency to achieve concrete results. In order to make progress, all member states should be genuinely willing to engage in a process of give and take. The Netherlands and Belgium are willing to consider any proposal that might result in an agreement on how to make the Council more equitable, more legitimate, more accountable, more effective, more inclusive and more transparent.
At the same time we need to be realistic. The idea that the Security Council needs to be enlarged seems to resonate with everyone, but it is evident, also form the discussion today, that beyond that, consensus on how to reform the Council is not much nearer now than it was at the end of the previous round of Intergovernmental Negotiations.
Nonetheless, the contours of a possible agreement to advance our common interest seem clear: we believe many delegations in this room have spoken in favour of an expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories, in order to increase the legitimacy of the Council. In addition, Mr. Chairman, we believe that broad support was voiced for increased representation of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Western Europe and Other States groups; we believe that broad support was voiced for LDC’s, middle income countries and SIDS to be taken into consideration; for Security Council reform to include further improvement of the Council’s working methods; for better coordination and cooperation between the Security Council and the General Assembly; and for increased transparency to the wider membership and the international community at large. And of course some of the improvements in working methods as discussed already should be implemented by the sitting members of the Council.
Furthermore, a lot of Member States seem to agree that there is an urgent need to reform the use of the veto, especially in situations in which mass atrocity crimes occur or are imminent. For only a few have the power to wield a veto, while all of us bear responsibility for failing to act when we should.
Many countries, including Belgium and the Netherlands, have requested a Chair’s summary of sorts. It would be unfortunate to walk away from yet another round of negotiations without an idea about the next steps in the reform process. We depend on you, Mr. Chairman, to present a summary and sketch the next steps in the process.
I thank you