Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

The intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council

Statement on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands, by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, NEW YORK, 22 FEBRUARY 2016

[Introduction]

Thank you Madam Chair, and thanks for your introductory statement and your efforts to bring the process of Security Council Reform further

  • I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • Let me reiterate the condolences as expressed by our colleague of St. Lucia for the victims of the terrible hurricane in Fiji.
  • Madam Chair, we thank you for convening this second thematic debate and welcome this opportunity to discuss the issue of the size of an enlarged Security Council and working methods of the Council.  
  • There are many useful proposals in this regard in the framework document compiled by Ambassador Rattray, whose work we really treasured. We suggested a number of these proposals ourselves.

[Size]

  • One of the areas where the text shows a large degree of convergence is on the issue of the size of the Security Council.
  • Many Member States suggest an enlargement of the council and an improved regional representation. In this context let me refer to the statement made by the Permanent Representative of St. Lucia on behalf of the L69 group.
  • As many have said before, the Security Council should be expanded in order to make it more broadly representative; this meeting alone so far, many delegation have made that point in a constructive way.
  • At the same time, expansion of the Security Council should not hamper its effectiveness and ability to carry out its responsibilities as set out in the Charter.
  • We will need to strike the right balance.
  • We are in favor of extending the UNSC with both permanent and non-permanent members.
  • While expansion with permanent members remains subject to debate, we see a lot of convergence in the text where expansion in the non-permanent category is concerned.
  • So we call on the chair to come forward with concrete proposals for further consolidation of the text, where possible.

[Working methods]

  • Convergence can also be seen in the text that relates to the working methods of the Council.
  • Virtually everyone seems to agree that the working methods of an enlarged Council should facilitate a more transparent, efficient, effective and accountable functioning of the Security Council as a whole, a point to which we attach great importance.

[Working methods as a result of expansion]

  • In an enlarged Council, affirmative decision will require more votes, which will better reflect the views of all regions in the world.
  • At the same time, enlarging the Council means we need to improve its working methods if we wish to maintain or, rather increase the efficiency of decision-making.
  • I would like to make a couple of remarks in that respect.
  • One of the aspects that should be looked at is the rotation of the Presidency of the Council.
  • It is important to ensure that every non-permanent member can continue to serve as President at least once during its tenure. 
  • If one of the main goals of this reform is to make the UNSC more inclusive and representative, an enlarged Council should not make it more difficult for non-permanent members to contribute actively to the work of the Council.
  • This is particularly important for the smaller and mid-sized Member States. Any enlargement of the Council needs to take their concerns at heart as well.
  • Finally, additional thought will also have to be put into improving the functioning of subsidiary bodies of an enlarged Security Council as well, as these bodies would consequently be enlarged.

[Working methods in the current framework]

  • But of course, Council Members should not wait to improve working methods.
  • Notwithstanding the need for structural reform, we believe that incremental reforms can be implemented before consensus on all other issues has been reached.
  • For instance, many countries stress the importance of improved cooperation between the Council and regional and sub-regional bodies.
  • We also strongly support the French-Mexican initiative that calls for permanent members to voluntarily refrain from using their vetoes in cases of mass atrocities and the code of conduct proposed by the ACT group.
  • We agree with the notion that the veto is not a privilege, but a responsibility.

[Conclusion]

  • Madam Chair, in conclusion, we call for a renewed focus on areas of convergence and constructive dialogue between the Member States.
  • The text provides confidence and a solid base to take the UNSC reform process forward.
  • Madam Chair, let me assure you of our continued support for you in bringing the current process of the Security Council Reform forward.
  •  
  • Thank you Madam Chair.