Voicing concern at the lack of “any meaningful movement” forward in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reforms, the G4 nations on Wednesday called for a “decisive push” for the long-delayed reforms of the powerful organ of the world body.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Arajo, Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and Minister of State at the Foreign Office Niels Annen on behalf of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met virtually on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Participated in G4 Foreign Ministers Meeting that called for a decisive push for UNSC reforms during UN75. Unanimous call for text based negotiations in a fixed time frame. Reformed Multilateralism guides India’s approach to the United Nations, Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the G4 Ministers “expressed their concern at the lack of any meaningful movement forward” in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) process on UNSC reform. They also voiced concern that after two sessions in February and March, the IGN was adjourned due to COVID-19 and no further meetings were held thereafter.
“However, virtual meetings or a written process could have taken place to allow for progress to be made in the previous session,” the ministers said.
They said the progress in IGN should also have included a reflection of the Common African Position as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
“The recent session demonstrated yet again that the IGN lacks the necessary openness and transparency and is constrained by flawed working methods. The IGN should be guided by the decision-making requirements and working methods laid out in the Charter of the United Nations and in the rules and procedures of the General Assembly.”
The G4 Ministers said they are “convinced” that time has come to “leave behind debates based solely on general statements, without substantive text based negotiations actually taking place in an intergovernmental setting.”
Reiterating their support for greater representation of Africa in an expanded UN Security Council, the G4 Ministers said that “Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation in the Security Council.”
“What is needed is a representative UN Security Council to help us restore confidence in international cooperation and global governance urgent more than ever in these testing times,” they said.
“Only if we manage to reform the Security Council will we stop it from becoming obsolete. Broader membership of the Security Council, with increased and enhanced representation of countries with the capacity and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, including from Africa, will allow it to preserve its credibility and create the political backing needed for the peaceful resolution of today’s international crises.”
The G4 nations noted that an overwhelming majority of UN Member States firmly support a comprehensive reform of the Security Council and expect the IGN to deliver concrete outcomes in the 75th anniversary year of the United Nations. “The IGN in the current session should start immediately as a direct continuation of the previous session,” they stressed.
The ministers also reiterated their support for each other’s candidatures as “aspiring new permanent members” in a reformed Security Council, given their capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security.
“There is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative,” they said.
In the 75th year of the United Nations, India will begin its two-year term as elected non-permanent member of the powerful Security Council from January 1 next year.
Effective response to international terrorism, reforming multilateral systems and comprehensive approach to peace and security are among India’s priorities for its UNSC tenure.
India has been at the forefront of efforts to speed up the long-delayed reform of the 15-member Security Council, asserting that the UN body set up in 1945 cannot meet the challenges of a 21st Century world.
India has said that the IGN process is being “held hostage” and used as a “convenient smokescreen” by countries that do not wish to see any reform of the UN organ. Indian has said that it will “take steps to see how the goal of a reformed Council can be realized in the 75th session of the General Assembly.
“G4 Ministers expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency at this 75th anniversary of the UN,” the joint statement said.
They underscored that as part of reforming the Security Council, an expansion of the Council in permanent and nor-permanent categories will be indispensable to make this body more representative, legitimate and effective, enhancing therefore its capacity to deal with the complex challenges the world faces today on questions of international peace and security.