Commitment ‘crucial’ to strengthen Security Council, says UN Assembly President

17 November 2020

Highlighting the importance of the UN Security Council to address peace and security challenges in an increasingly complex world, the President of the General Assembly has called on ambassadors to drive through “true reforms”, to make the body more effective. 

“Member States conferred ‘on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security’. Therefore, the success or failure of the United Nations Security Council is on all the Member States of the United Nations”, highlighted Volkan Bozkir. 

“And reform of the [Security] Council ultimately depends on you, the Member States. It is a member-driven process. Your commitment to negotiation is crucial,” the UN’s most senior elected official added. 

Mr. Bozkir also underscored the need to ensure the widest possible political acceptance amongst the 193 Member States, with if not absolute unanimity, “near unanimity,” he stressed. 

Mr. Bozkir was speaking at the twenty-seventh plenary meeting of the General Assembly on Monday, which discussed question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council, item 127 on the Assembly’s agenda this session.  

Advancing the case 

In his statement, Mr. Bozkir recalled prior discussions on the issue, and said that through active engagement and a pragmatic approach, “meaningful progress” can be achieved. 

“I urge delegations to seek the broadest possible consensus on comprehensive reforms to the Security Council and to continue the efforts to resolve the main differences among the membership”, he said. 

He also underscored the importance of the discussions as an opportunity to correct the problems of structure and functioning of the 15-member Security Council. 

“It should not create new privileges and new problems,” he cautioned. 

“Any reform, which is not Member State driven, is unlikely to make this organization, and its pillars, more effective and deliver the results we expect”. 

Background 

Under different titles, the item has been on the agenda of the General Assembly since its eighteenth session. Most recently, in November 2019, the Assembly considered the item in a debate where statements were made by the President and 63 delegations.  

The matter focuses on five issues, which include: categories of membership; the question of the veto; regional representation; size of an enlarged Security Council and working methods of the Council; and the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council. 

The in-person meeting was held at the General Assembly Hall at the UN Headquarters, in New York, in adherence with physical distancing guidelines and necessary COVID-19 mitigation measures.

 

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