Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform
New York, 6 February 2017
Statement by H.E. Mr. Christian Braun
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg
on behalf of the Benelux countries (Belgium – the Netherlands – Luxembourg)
Dear co-chairs, dear colleagues,
Thank you for giving me the floor. As you said, I have the honor to speak on behalf of the three Benelux countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and my own country, Luxembourg.
We thank you for holding this first meeting of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council in the framework of the 71st session of the General Assembly. We reiterate our congratulations on your appointment as co-chairs of the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN). We have full confidence in your capacity to fulfil the mandate you have been entrusted with by the President of the General Assembly. Rest assured that you can count on our full support for your work.
In your letter of 9 January last, you have invited us to offer general comments on how we see the IGN process moving forward during this session.
I will be brief, given that, in general terms, we favour an approach which focuses on the substance of the reform of the Security Council. Procedural matters have been covered in sufficient detail in the past, in particular when the General Assembly established the mandate of the intergovernmental negotiations, almost nine years ago already.
In our view, the negotiations this year should be based on the decision taken by the General Assembly on 27 July 2016 (decision 70/559), taking into account the progress made in particular during the last two sessions of the intergovernmental negotiations. In other words, we are not starting from scratch. We have the foundations upon which we can work and make further progress. We have in mind in particular the text and its annex circulated on 31 July 2015, which accurately reflects the positions and proposals of most Member States, and the elements of convergence circulated on 12 July 2016.
The document of July 2016 makes a list of points on which the positions of Member States converge, on two of the five key issues of Council reform: (1) the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, and (2) the size of an enlarged Security Council and working methods of the Council.
Given the progress achieved on those two key issues, at this stage, it is appropriate to focus efforts on the other three key issues of reform: (1) categories of membership, (2) regional representation, and (3) the question of the veto, in order to allow convergences to emerge between the positions and proposals of the different Member States and groups of Member States.
We are realistic. The task will not be easy. The three key issues I have just mentioned are very sensitive. But we think that the negotiations can be moved forward by following last year’s approach. We encourage the different groups of Member States to talk to each other, to engage in a dialogue and to try and identify points on which their positions converge or could converge, in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. And we are ready to support any effort aimed at bringing positions closer to each other. It is only this kind of commitment of the Member States, combined with the work of the chairs of the intergovernmental negotiations, which will make progress towards reform of the Security Council possible.
In the context of the challenges the international order is facing today, it is in our view necessary and urgent to advance the reform of the Security Council, in order to make the Council more broadly representative, efficient and transparent and thus to further enhance its effectiveness and the legitimacy and implementation of its decisions. What is at stake here is the credibility and the efficiency of the United Nations for effective multilateralism. Effective multilateralism is indeed an extremely topical issue.
I thank you.