India, along with Brazil, Japan and Germany are pressing for urgent reform of the UN Security Council and for a permanent seat in the reformed 15-member top organ of the world body.
Nearly 13 years after the start of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), “the process we have is far from a normal United Nations negotiating process,” Tirumurti said at the informal meeting of the Plenary on the IGN on the ‘Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council’.
“While the world is not what it was when we began the process, the objections to moving forward remain frozen in time. While global challenges of the 21st century have multiplied, we have been stopped by the naysayers to even adopt the process in order to move forward,” he said.
“It is evident that inaction on our part is not without cost. The Security Council is being called upon to address increasingly complex issues of international peace and security. Yet, it finds itself unable to act effectively, for it is lacking inclusivity of those who need to be there, and therefore lacking legitimacy and credibility,” Tirumurti said, emphasising that those who have created this impasse in the IGN should take responsibility for ensuring that the UNSC has come to this pass.
The first IGN meeting on UNSC reform in the 75th session of the General Assembly took place on Monday in which the G4 nations — Brazil, India, Japan and Germany — asserted that only two things can save the IGN as a format –negotiations of a single text with attributions, reflecting various positions taken by member states in the last 12 years and the application of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly (GA).
India asserted that in order to achieve progress in the UNSC reform process, it must be ensured in this session of the General Assembly that there is immediate application of GA rules of procedure to the IGN process.
“This will ensure openness, transparency, and an institutional memory for this process, which is essential if genuine negotiations are to take place.”
Secondly, there must be an outcome text, which should ideally be the result of a rolling text, updated after each meeting by the co-chairs, to capture the views and positions expressed by all delegations, with attributions.
Tirumurti said proceedings should be broadcast live so that COVID-19 related restrictions do not hamper delegations’ ability to participate fully in the discussions and time spent on repetition of cluster-based positions should be minimised to ensure discussion of a single draft outcome document.
He reiterated that the IGN cannot be allowed to continue to serve as a “convenient smokescreen for a handful of reform naysayers”.
“For us, the success and continued relevance of the IGN will be measured by whether or not, we have a common text with attributed positions to base our future discussions on and whether we have UNGA rules for the IGN,” Tirumurti said.
India stressed that member states do not deserve to end up in the same position they found ourselves in August 2020, bereft of anything to go by except false promises.
“If this is the case, we will be forced to look outside the IGN, may be to this very General Assembly, for a process towards genuine reform. We cannot get a sincere outcome from an insincere process.”
The IGN has so far been restricted to making repeated statements of known positions, without any effort to narrow differences, he said, adding that it is the only process of its kind in the UN where “negotiations” have been conducted in a multilateral setting without any text.
“While this may suit those who wish to block progress, this goes against the very essence of multilateral diplomacy. We do not subscribe to the self-fulfilling prophecy of the nay-sayers on the lack of full consensus for reform.”
Underlining India’s view on regional representation, Tirumurti said it is absolutely essential that the category of permanent membership reflect contemporary realities and include adequate representation from all regions of the world.
“It is anachronistic that not one country from the entire continent of Africa or from the entire continent of Latin America is represented in the permanent category of the Security Council today,” he said.
Describing this as unjustifiable as well as a severe constraint on the credibility and effectiveness of the Council, Tirumurti said India calls for six additional permanent seats — two each for Africa and Asia, one for Latin America and the Caribbean, and one for the West European and Others Group and also for increase in non-permanent seats.
There is also a need to stick to “equitable geographical distribution” and not “regional representation”, which itself is not mentioned in the UN Charter.
Tirumurti also voiced India’s support for the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.