Statement by H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh on “Question on equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council”, 16 November 2020

Mr. President,

I wish to express my sincere appreciation to you for convening the meeting and you’re your commitment to pursue the process of Inter-governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform. I take this opportunity to join others in congratulating H.E. Joanna Wronecka, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland and H.E. Alya Al-Thani, the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar for their appointment as the Co-Chairs of the current session of the IGN. I also commend the valuable work done by the PR of UAE, Ambassador Lana Nusseibah during the past years.

Mr. President,

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary, the UN stands at a crossroads. It has recorded many successes. However, it has been marred with litany of challenges as well. As the most representative multilateral organ of the world, UN needs to be further strengthened to score successes in future. Reforming the Security Council to be more inclusive, representative, transparent, and effective, and to demonstrate greater cooperation and consensus-building, therefore remains critical to the United Nations’ overall success. Unfortunately, we have spent far too long on the question of Security Council reform. It is high time that we come to grips with the difficult choices to be made and move towards a final accommodation. This is more important in the present-day context when there is rising concern worldwide about the possible wane of multilateralism.

We are encouraged by the resounding call from the member states for reform and such unity of voice should guide us in taking forward the IGN process in a meaningful way. There is a significant number of member states who are keen to carry forward the IGN discussion in a decisive way. We also noted the interest of some member states in the inclusive approach, having dialogue and in-depth discussions. Building on the important work done in its past sessions would be useful in this regard.

Mr. President,

Due representativeness of the Council taking into account the present-day realities forms the core of its reform. We are of the view that there should be enlargement in both categories of membership of the Council, yet the expansion should not be so much as to affect its effectiveness and operation. Any size in the range of mid-twenties would perhaps do justice to the larger membership.

But it should not be about the numbers only, rather about the make-up of representation. In this context, we agree with many other member states that certain under-represented regions such as Africa ought to have due representation in the enlarged Council. Asia-Pacific and Latin American countries deserve the same. Representation of small and developing countries also warrants due consideration.

Regional representation is expected to create opportunities for all interested member states to have a presence at the Council but that has to be calibrated and optimized within the overall expansion of the Council and will add to its envisioned representativeness.

As for the working method, generally we wish to see a more accessible, transparent, accountable, democratic, responsible and effective Security Council. The global COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for the Security Council to adjust to new working methods and to adapt to provisional measures. We worked under the new realities for the last few months. This demonstrates, if member states are willing and exercise nimbleness, it is possible to explore ways to become more transparent, efficient and effective, while also forging closer ties with the broader United Nations membership.

On the question of veto, our delegation will go along with the emerging convergence among member states as we go by. Yet the call for ensuring judicious application of the veto perhaps in the form of limiting its application in certain situations, cannot be ignored either.

We also reaffirm the central role of the General Assembly in the Security Council reform. The relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council has to be mutually reinforcing and some form of institutionalization of which could be useful.

In view of the overwhelming call from the member states, we see merit in our deliberations centering around commencing a text-based negotiation. Evolving convergence on the issue would be something to look at.

Mr. President,

In spite of the existing tremendous difficulties in guiding and moving the process forward, we remain committed to the early reform of the Council, which in our view requires the commitment and political will of member states. We therefore continue to urge member states to step up cooperation that will move the process forward to a comprehensive reform of the Council.

We look forward to the outcome of this current IGN session with great expectation, hoping that decisive progress will be made during this session.

I thank you.