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Nordic Joint Statement. GA Plenary Debate on the Question of Equitable Representation on an Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council

16.11.2020  09:27

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this annual debate.

I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark.

We would like to express our gratitude to Ambassador Wronecka of Poland and Ambassador Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates for leading the last session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform (IGN) under difficult circumstances.

We welcome Ambassador Al-Thani of the State of Qatar as new Co-chair together with Ambassador Wronecka. We look forward to resuming the IGN sessions.

The upcoming IGN session comes at an important time with the world navigating new waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has tested our multilateral institutions’ ability to act rapidly and collectively in a time of crisis and urgency.

The crisis has underscored the importance of an effective UN Security Council that is better positioned to address current and future global challenges. We must collectively address the security implications of the pandemic, which may exacerbate conflicts, divisions and inequalities across the globe. We have seen how the most vulnerable are often hit the hardest; civilians in war-ravaged countries, refugees and others displaced by violent conflict. We also see that the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a potential driver of conflict, which needs to be mitigated.

To adequately respond to current and future global challenges, the Nordic countries seek a more transparent, effective, accountable and representative Security Council that can support a coherent UN response. One that reflects today’s global realities.

Mr. President,

The UN’s 75th anniversary is a critical year for ushering in and consolidating reforms in the UN system. Not only because the world is looking to the United Nations to deliver results. But also because we need to maintain the momentum of reforming the United Nations, including the UN Security Council. This was  highlighted by many in the context of the last IGN session and reaffirmed by the Declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN, which clearly calls for ‘instilling new life into the discussions on reform of the Security Council” Because we need a UN that is rooted in delivering for “We, the Peoples” as reflected in the UN Charter now and beyond the UN’s 75th Anniversary.

In that respect, this may be the right time for reflecting on and rethinking the working methods within the IGN. To reflect on benefits and potential new avenues for capturing progress made in the IGN and efforts to ensure greater transparency.

Mr. President,

We welcome the guidance that the ‘Framework Document’ and ‘Elements Paper’ provide as the basis for our ongoing work in the IGN sessions. Yet we continue to reiterate our call for advancing towards more substantive discussions that in our view would be best harnessed through text-based negotiations. The Nordic countries see this as essential for securing progress. 

We also welcome the letter dated 29 July 2020 from the Co-Chairs of the 74th session, which sets out the discussions we were able to undertake before COVID-19 halted our in-person sessions, and welcome the rollover of this work to the 75th Session. 

Mr. President,

The world has changed since the last expansion of the Security Council in 1965. The Council no longer reflects the world it is supposed to represent. 

The Nordic Countries support the ongoing efforts to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the Security Council’s work in its existing format and call for a balanced expansion of the Security Council from all regions. For increased representation of developing countries and improved opportunity for small states to serve as elected members.

In ensuring a representative Council, it is vital to ensure that Africa takes its rightful place in the Council through an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats.

We recognise that by seeking reform of the Council, we must also consider carefully the impacts of the act of the veto. Permanent members’ veto power has limited the Council’s ability to act and has caused the Council to fail to live up to its Charter obligations. Usage of the veto power should therefore come with greater accountability and transparency. In particular, the use of the veto in situations of mass atrocities is not in line with the spirit of the UN Charter. The Nordic countries therefore urge all Member States to join the ‘Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes’ and the ‘Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity’ launched by France and Mexico.

Mr. President,

The Nordic Countries remain committed to a reformed and strengthened United Nations, and we will continue our strong voice for tangible action towards a reformed Security Council that is more accountable, coherent, transparent and representative.

We stand ready for constructive dialogue this session  and to support the Co-Chairs on our common path towards ensuring continued progress in the IGN on Security Council reform.  

Thank you.