General Assembly: 35th Plenary Meeting, 76th Session

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16-Nov-2021 03:43:04
General Assembly delegates call for breaking new ground on Security Council reform, with many denouncing unfettered veto use, lack of transparency.

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Appointments Made to Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, International Civil Service Commission

The General Assembly continued its debate on Security Council reform today, with delegates continuing to call for urgent action given the multitude of new and complex global challenges.

Guyana’s representative, stressing that there have been 29 years of structured consideration of Council reform and 12 years of intergovernmental negotiations, called for political will to prioritize and normalize the intergovernmental negotiations process. She advocated for expansion of Council membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories and the guaranteed presence of small island developing States. Given their unique experiences, she said those States have important contributions to make, especially given the threat of climate change.

South Africa’s representative, also addressing the issue of Council composition, said that, apart from being historically unjust, the lack of Africa’s representation adversely affects the Council’s ability to address matters of peace and security on the continent. As there is wider recognition and support for the common African position, she urged Member States to move forward on that basis and to begin negotiations.

Indeed, the Council must better reflect contemporary geopolitical realities, with greater representation for Asia, Africa and Latin America, said Australia’s representative, citing challenges ranging from rapid technological advancement to unprecedented security, economic and health challenges, including COVID-19. Its working methods must also be improved to ensure it is more accountable to Member States. Also, better standards must be developed for the more transparent use of the veto, he said.

Other delegates also expressed concerns about use of the veto, with Spain’s representative emphasizing that “the power of veto is an error” and that it should “head towards disappearance”. Voicing support for the France-Mexico initiative on the veto — supported by 106 States — she said reinforced multilateralism necessarily must include reform of the Council. Cuba’s representative said that, while her country has always been opposed to the veto, new permanent members must have the same prerogatives as the current ones.

Ukraine’s representative was one of several to offer views on the negotiation process itself, emphasizing that efforts must be ambitious enough to break the vicious cycle of year-to-year repetitions of positions. New avenues for progress could be opened via text-based talks. To ensure the success of future attempts, more time for drafting and broader ownership of a General Assembly decision are needed. He called for a text that serves as a basis for negotiations, which reflects the entire scope of positions, and which acknowledges unchallenged proposals as commonalities.

Also today, the Assembly appointed members to four of its subsidiary bodies, on the recommendation of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary): the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Committee on Contributions, International Civil Service Commission and the Board of Auditors. It also confirmed two reappointments to its Investments Committee.

Also delivering statements on Security Council reform were representatives of the United States, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Malta, Argentina, Colombia, France, Venezuela, Belarus, Federated States of Micronesia, Canada, Nicaragua, Liechtenstein, Algeria, Slovenia, Georgia, Philippines, Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Cambodia, Uganda, Libya and Indonesia.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 November, to take up the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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