02 February, United Nations
General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak has called for “shining a light on new possibilities for convergence” on Security Council reform and breaking the cycle of hardened positions and “red lines” that have prevented efforts to make it reflect the new realities.
“We need a Security Council adapted to today’s world,” Lajcak said on Thursday while inaugurating the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on reforms.
“It relates to the lives of people. It affects the credibility and relevance of the General Assembly, which established this process. And, it puts the entire United Nations system at stake.”
The two-day meeting of the IGN is the first during current General Assembly session. It is co-chaired by Permanent Representatives Kaha Imnadze of Georgia and Lana Zaki Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates, who were appointed by Lajcak to give a fresh breath to the long-stalled reform process.
India is heavily invested in the reform process as it is aiming for a permanent seat on an expanded Council.
The reform process has been blocked by countries that oppose the expansion of permanent membership of the Council. The group known as Uniting for Consensus (UfC), which is led by Italy and includes Pakistan, has not allowed the discussions to continue on the basis of an agreed negotiating text.
Asking the nations to end the impasse, Lajcak called for an end to the cycle he described as: “Repeating well-known positions. Drawing red lines.
Calling for flexibility from others, without giving any ourselves. Choosing prepared statements over interactive dialogue. Talking at — instead of to — each other.”
“If we follow these routes, we will end up going nowhere,” he warned. “That is certain. And every minute we waste going nowhere has repercussions for millions of people around the world.”
A new approach “will mean identifying any gaps that need to be filled,” he said.
“It will mean shining a light on new possibilities for convergence. It will mean looking at options to move ahead in all five clusters. It will mean thinking outside the box. It will mean brainstorming. It will mean really talking, and really listening, to each other.”
Nusseibeh said that while there shouldn’t be any illusions about the complexity of the Council reform process, “We believe that engaging in a frank dialogue will help us build a collective understanding of the IGN.”
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)