Papua New Guinea decries lack of democracy, female representation in UN bodies

23 September 2016

Calling for reform of United Nations institutions, Papua New Guinea today deplored from the General Assembly podium the lack of democratic principles shown by the pre-eminence of the 15-member Security Council over the 193-member Assembly.

“The international community is all too familiar with the constant and increasing calls by UN Member States and other stakeholders to reform the UN system, including the Security Council, to reflect today's global circumstances,” Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato told the Assembly’s annual General Debate.

“Whilst Papua New Guinea recognizes that changes in any institution are never easy, we remain concerned with the slow and incremental pace of the reforms of the United Nations,” where developing countries have for years been seeking to increase Council membership and counter veto powers held by its five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“With respect to the Security Council, whilst we welcome the incremental progress made this past year, we have however, witnessed in the process of the selection of the next Secretary-General […] over the past few months, the unjust and archaic procedures and processes that render the majority of UN sovereign member States unequal in the premier multilateral forum that espouses sovereign equality.”

Although in an innovation this year candidates for the next Secretary-General, who will take office on 1 January 2017, have appeared before the Assembly for questioning, final selection remains with the Security Council, which will then forward the name to the Assembly for ratification.

Mr. Pinto also decried “another glaring unfair practice in the existing UN system,” the underrepresentation of qualified women at the senior management level. “The UN must not merely preach about gender equality and empowerment but be seen to be exercising and implementing what it advocates,” he stressed.


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