His Excellency Raymond Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica
to the United Nations
in the General Assembly
on Agenda Items: 117 and 120
Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Follow-Up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit
JULY 20, 2006
My delegation welcomes this opportunity to participate in this debate under agenda items 117, “Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council” and 120, “Follow-up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit”. We view this as a timely opportunity to further discuss aspects related to the reform of the United Nations in keeping with the mandate entrusted to us by our leaders as part of the World Summit Outcome.
At the World Summit, our leaders supported early reform of the Security Council and recognized such reform as an essential element in the overall effort to reform the United Nations. Now that there has been progress on reform, including in the areas of peace, development, human rights and in certain institutional aspects of the work of the United Nations Secretariat, there should now be some real movement in terms of the security aspect of the equation. There can be no question that any meaningful and comprehensive reform of the United Nations must contemplate reform of the international security architecture in order to strengthen the reform already carried out in other areas.
At this juncture, my delegation wishes to acknowledge the work carried out by the Open Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council (OEWG), including the current Vice-Chairs, the Permanent Representatives of the Bahamas and of the Netherlands.
Jamaica reaffirms the responsibility entrusted to the Security Council under Article 24 of the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, acting on behalf of the wider membership of the Organization. We are of the view that it is necessary for the Council to be reformed in order to make it more open, transparent, democratic, accountable and effective.
We are all agreed that geopolitical realties have changed fundamentally since the establishment of the United Nations. It is therefore only logical that the Council should be reflective of the contemporary international community as a whole based on equitable geographic representation and the increased representation of developing countries. It is on this basis that Jamaica has taken the position that there should be expansion in both categories of membership of the Council with increased representation from all regional groups. As a principle, we share the view that there should be no discrimination in the rights, privileges and status accorded to new members of the Council.
We acknowledge that there have been improvements in the way the Council conducts its business, one recent example of which has been the information provided by respective Presidents of the Council on the procedure and process for the selection of a new Secretary-General to lead this Organization. We also note that the Permanent Representative of Japan has been conducting consultations within the Council on ways in which to improve its working methods and look forward to receiving continued updates on the work of the Council in this regard.
We continue to underscore the importance of transparency and accountability in the work of the Council. It is also imperative to reaffirm that the development of norms related to international law as well as treaty making are best left to the deliberations of the General Assembly and the involvement of the wider membership. The division of labour between the two organs must be respected.
In accordance with the principles of the Charter, it is important that the Security Council consider and act upon matters which are an immediate threat to international peace and security. In this context, the Council should be prepared to take urgent action in situations which endanger the lives of civilians and which have the potential to result in humanitarian crises, particularly in circumstances where vital infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed. In all such situations, the Permanent Members of the Council should be prepared to act in an even-handed manner and limit their use of the veto.
We are now in the second decade of discussions on Security Council reform. It is perhaps now time for decisive and not incremental action to make real the process of reform of the Security Council. In essence, reform should seek to enhance the legitimacy of the Council through an expanded membership which reflects balance and `diversity and is based on respect for the principle of equitable representation.
To be truly effective, however, reform should go beyond expansion towards a fundamental realignment of the existing hierarchical structure of the Council which, as currently constituted, merely perpetuates the disparities in the global distribution of power and wealth.
We should therefore strive to act collectively on this resolve before much more time has passed.