Statement by H.E. Ambassador Asoke K. Mukerji, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations at the Informal Plenary Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council" : " Regional Representation" ( 1 April 2014, Time: 1000 hrs, Venue: Trusteeship Council )
1. Thank you for convening today's meeting of the Informal Plenary of the IGN on the third cluster of "regional representation" and outlining the broad parameters for this subject via your letter of 20 March.
2. I would first like to align my position with the statements delivered by the distinguished PR of St. Lucia on behalf of the L.69 Group of Developing Countries, as well as the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Brazil on behalf of the G4. I also support the proposals offered by my distinguished colleague on behalf of CARICOM.
3. Mr. Chair, it is a fact 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. This underscores the need for reviewing the issue of regional representation as a matter of priority for the United Nations.
4. The UN Charter is unambiguous in providing for permanent members by name and not by rotating nomination by regional organizations. Permanent members are expected to act in such a manner that transcends narrow national interests when dealing with issues relating to international peace and security. It is important that the category of permanent membership reflect contemporary realities and include adequate representation from all regions of the world.
5. In light of this, it is anachronistic for the United Nations to have three of the five permanent members from one region alone, especially when the regions of Africa, Latin America, three fourths of Asia, including its Arab states, all of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caribbean Community and Small Island Developing States continue to be systematically excluded from participation in the work of the Security Council. This is not just unjustifiable but a severe constraint on the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
6. The PGA's non paper provides a good basis to narrow down the proposals in this regard, as they flow from relevant Charter provisions. As can be seen from the PGA's non paper, there is a large middle ground focusing on four broad areas of convergence.
7. First, is the call for additional permanent seats - two for Africa and Asia, at least one for Latin America, and one for the West European and Others Group. In addition, there are calls for more non permanent seats for all existing regional groupings, including those for Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Small Island Developing States and CARICOM. Thirdly, the concept of equitable geographic distribution finds resonance across the spectrum of proposals on the table. Fourth, and most importantly, is the cross cutting call for representation of more developing countries in both categories of membership, which incidentally, is also supported by the only developing country presently in the permanent category. All these provide us important pointers to the way out on this cluster.
8. Mr. Chair, we must also point out that we noted with concern the reference to "religion of a Member State" as one of the criteria in your letter of 20 March 2014. Given that India is the home to all the major religions of the world, ordinarily we would have welcomed such an innovative proposal. However, my delegation would like to point out that this criteria is not applied for membership of our organization in the UN Charter, and nor has it been reflected in General Assembly Decision 62/557, which is the framework of our work in this process of Inter-Governmental Negotiations on UN Security Council Reforms.
9. With regards to the role of regional groupings in the selection of new members, we believe that existing practice as is being followed must be continued. This is for each regional grouping to endorse its candidate, who would then need to contest an election on the floor of the General Assembly, in order to subsequently occupy its position on the Council.
10. Mr. Chairman, it is our firm conviction that based on the cross regional support for the above ideas, that you are hearing from several delegations today, you would be able to further narrow down the options in the PGA's non paper. This will enable you to provide direction to this debate in the form of a membership driven negotiation text, with a clear and concise assessment, at the end of these six rounds.
11. The Indian delegation remains committed to working with you in ensuring the success of this round of the IGN, and we are one of those, who count on your leadership in helping us deliver concrete outcomes by the 2015 timeline.