General Assembly General Assembly




Delivered by Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin

Permanent Representative of India

At the Informal Meeting of the General Assembly

on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

Tuesday, 27 March 2018




I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of Four - Brazil, Japan, Germany and my own country India.




2.       At this 3rd session of the IGN process under your stewardship, we meet when there is no doubt that Spring is in the air. In keeping with the hope for change, we would like to thank you for the letter of March 23, in which you asked us to give comments on the ‘Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration’ paper and on the regional representation section of the IGN.


3.     Like the belated onset of spring, we also feel we received the paper rather late. We, like the others who have spoken earlier, would have preferred receiving the document earlier. We hope that such documents, which require careful scrutiny, are available in a timely manner, as per the schedule that you have yourselves set.




4.    Any first effort is always a difficult one. This seems to be the case with your own effort to update the document of the last Co-Chairs, based on the inputs provided by all of us at the last 2 meetings. Hence, our six submissions subsume various matters of substance and content, as well as style and process.


5.      First, we are happy to see clear references to the Ezulwini consensus and adequate reflection of elements from the Common African Position in the document.


6.     We believe that this removes one of the biggest drawbacks of the previous version and also provides a good link to the Framework Document and its annex.


7.    However, these references, perhaps, do not capture all the nuances of the African position and it may be best to work with African representatives to refine them appropriately.


8.     Similarly, we welcome the induction, in its entirety, the work done in the 70th session, under the stewardship of Amb. Sylvie Lucas, in the clusters relating to 'Relationship of the General Assembly with the Security Council' and ‘Size and Working Methods of the Council'.


9.      These sections are valuable in themselves, but they also remind us of an essential common understanding, which is reflected on page 3 in paragraph (g) that stipulates, “Member States are driving the IGN process forward together, in accordance with the usual practices and procedures of the General Assembly.”  This is a commonality that some seem to have forgotten.


10.    Second, we notice that you have been able to take on board some suggestions made in the last meeting by several member states from the floor. However, there are other eminently reasonable suggestions that await implementation.


11.     If I may recall, we had suggested a new structure for the document that would provide for greater clarity. We suggested the grouping together in each cluster of all the issues in which there is an understanding, as being commonly agreed and following it with another section, grouping the issues that still need to be resolved in the same cluster. We remain convinced that such a structure would considerably ease our understanding of the issues and their interlinkages, whereas the current structure results in a lack of clarity.




12.    Third, the issue of attribution is only partially addressed. We have references to the Common African Position that we welcome. We also have references to the ACT Code of Conduct, which you have rightly picked up on the basis of our discussion last time. However, several other proposals are listed without attribution of who made the suggestions. For example, in the sections of Veto and Regional Representation, we need utmost clarity and openness while dealing with all open questions. Currently, we see several unattributed propositions. Serious proposals made with genuine intent are not orphans without support. Or is it that those who have initially suggested these no longer desire to be associated with them. If that is so, we need to know. If not, we should not be selective in attributing.  Why should we not have the names of countries/groups making a certain proposal? Why are some the children of a lesser God? What possible harm can come if we reflect the names of countries/groups proposing a certain position? Can’t all aspire to being equally treated? These are all questions which have simple answers. We hope that you will treat all proposals pending consideration on par in the next iteration of the paper. Let us embrace and implement transparency.


13.    It is in line with this thinking, that we welcome the calls made previously and reiterated just now by the Spokesperson of the L.69 that there is a case for enhancing institutional memory of this process. Providing for some format of record keeping is also another facet of transparency.




14.     Fourth, let me also address the issue of principles which has been raised by some of our colleagues in the past. We have heard many times how an agreement on principles can speed up the process. We had many times talked about abstract principles in previous sessions. Now, we need to transform these principles into concrete options for a modernized composition of the Security Council. All of us adhere and believe in the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability, representativeness and reforms that help making the Security Council more legitimate, more effective and more efficient. The commitment of all of us to these principles and those of the UN charter is reflected in the Commonality section.The G/4, as countries who are wedded to the principle of democracy in their domestic jurisdictions and in their approach to international relations, urge you to reflect democracy also in that part.




15.    Fifth, in terms of specific suggestions in the section on Regional Representation, we believe that the section can do with a bit of restructuring. The various proposals for seats for regional groups, currently listed at 6 (j) on page 8, needs to follow immediately after 6(a), as it refers to the issue of the number of countries in a regional group.


16.     Also, there needs to be clarity in terms of what is the genesis of each of the models that is listed, since they link to many other parts of the paper. For example, let us take the last option of expansion of non-permanent seats only on page 8. Is it an explanation of the Enlargement of the Security Council with 2-year term non-permanent members provided under Section 4(b) on page 6 in the 3rd tiret under Categories of membership? Could any of those who have proposed the option listed under the last part of (j) on page 8 explain to us if this is so or not? We need greater clarity so that we respond to it.




17.     To us, this is one more example of the need for attribution. We may either not realize the existence of a proposal and its potential if it is not attributed or we may even leave it behind because we have not listed and attributed it or understood it properly. Attribution is not a luxury. It is a necessity.




18.     Sixth, you have presented a document that is complex and rich in its potential for discussion, therefore, the task before us is arduous. Hence, we need to allow ourselves as member states as much time as necessary to finish the task in a satisfactory manner. We support the idea initiated by Nigeria at our last meeting to start planning for meetings beyond June to allow us to have more time to address the task at hand.


19.     As you facilitate us in fulfilling these tasks, you will always find the Group of Four supporting you.



Thank you, Co-Chairs.