Pakistan urges more non-permanent seats on UNSC to ensure regional representation
UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has called for ensuring fair regional representation on a reformed UN Security Council by adding more non-permanent seats to the 15-member body.
“Equitable representation has been the primary impulse behind all Security Council reform efforts,” Ambassador Munir Akram said while taking part in the long-running Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) aimed at restructuring the Council to make it more representative, transparent, effective and accountable.
“In 1945, the Security Council represented 20 per cent of the membership of the UN; today, it represents 8 percent of the membership,” the Pakistani envoy said, also pointing out that nearly a third of the membership has never served on the Council.
“Thus, the Council’s membership/size must be expanded to embrace the possibility of every UN Member State being elected to the Council,” he added.
Noting dissatisfaction with the Council stemming from the role of permanent members, Ambassador Akram said, “Only an acceptable formula with an increase in the non-permanent members, and rotation through democratic elections, can provide more equitable representation for all States on the Council.
“Such rotation, combined with regional representation, offers possibilities for a fuller representation of members of various groups of states.”
Full-scale negotiations to reform the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009 on five key areas — the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged Security Council, and working methods of the council and its relationship with the General Assembly.
Despite a general agreement on enlarging the Council, as part of the UN reform process, member states remain sharply divided over the details.
Known as the “Group of Four” — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan — have shown no flexibility in their campaign for expanding the Security Council by 10 seats, with six additional permanent and four non-permanent members.
On the other hand, the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group strongly opposes any additional permanent members, saying that such a move will not make the Security Council more effective and also undermine the fundamental principle of democracy that is based on periodic elections.
The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and 10 non-permanent members
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram referred to the UN Charter in which the principle of equitable representation is supplemented by the aim of equitable geographical distribution.
“The additional 10-11 seats in an expanded Security Council should be distributed on the basis of the number of member states from each of the traditionally recognized regions in the UN,” the Pakistani envoy said.
As the largest regional group, Ambassador Akram said that Africa’s position that it reserves the right to nominate its own representatives on the Council and to hold them accountable to the region collectively, has introduced a new and potentially promising avenue to evolve agreement on Council reform.
“While the UfC does not endorse expansion of membership in the permanent category,” he said, “We are open to idea that the members to be elected to the Security Council should be nominated and held accountable by their respective regions. – APP