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Statement by H.E. Mr. Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow, Ambassador of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on behalf of CARICOM at Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council

Tuesday, 01 May 2018
H.E. Ambassador Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow
United Nations

Statement by His Excellency Mr. Rudolph Michael Ten-Pow, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Council


I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the fourteen (14) Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). At the outset, I wish to thank you for convening this session and more generally for your stewardship of the IGN process thus far.  CARICOM welcomes this opportunity to engage further on the Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration paper.

In your letter to the PGA dated 25 April 2018, Co-Chairs, you advised that today’s meeting would focus on three of the five clusters, namely, categories of membership, the question of the veto, and regional representation as contained in the paper under consideration.

Before commenting on the specific paragraphs identified for today’s discussion, I wish to reiterate CARICOM’s position on these three pillars.  Like the majority of Member States, CARICOM supports an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of the Council.  When one compares the current membership of the United Nations to the current composition of the Security Council, it is clear that:

i. The Council does not equitably represent the current UN membership, and that

 ii. Some regions are underrepresented in both categories while others are unrepresented in the permanent category. Africa, for example, with 54 of the UN’s 193 Member States, is absent from the permanent category as is our own region of GRULAC.

In order to correct these imbalances, we believe that both categories of the Security Council have to be expanded and this expansion should be of a regional character. 

On the question of the veto, CARICOM supports its ultimate abolition but believes that as long as it is retained its use should be extended to all new permanent members.  We do not share the view of some distinguished delegations that new permanent members should not be granted the use of the veto.  To deny new permanent members the use of the veto would be to effectively create two categories of permanent members and this is not the reform that our region envisages.  Any new permanent members should have the same prerogatives as the current ones.  As we work towards the ultimate abolition of the veto, we support its non-use in cases of mass atrocity and crimes against humanity.    

Distinguished Co-Chairs

Regarding the paragraphs you have identified under the section “Issues for Further Consideration”, which are the focus of today’s discussion, CARICOM wishes to state the following:

With regard to paragraph 4.a., CARICOM is wary of proposals for the creation of new categories as an alternative to equitable representation of all regions in the permanent category of the Council.  Creating new categories on this basis will not address one of the fundamental shortcomings of the Council as currently configured, which is, the absence of entire regions from the permanent category.  Failure to address this shortcoming could perhaps create perceptions of inequality among Member States and feed distrust.  These are not conditions that are conducive to the strengthening of multilateralism and it is therefore incumbent upon us to seriously think through proposals that have the potential to undermine the aims and purposes that we the Members of the United Nations, are seeking to achieve. 

Turning to paragraph 4.c., we acknowledge the interconnection between the five pillars of the reform.  We should therefore avoid limited approaches lest we compromise the overall reform process.  CARICOM also recognizes the utility of discussing certain pillars in tandem with others in order to ventilate positions fully and to paint a very clear picture of the Council as we each envisage it.  This contributes to a nuanced understanding of each other’s positions, thereby creating a platform on which constructive dialogue could take place within the framework of the IGN. We think that this is particularly true in the case of the four clusters identified in paragraph 4.c. but we wish to underscore that the reform of the Security Council must be comprehensive in nature and take into account all five clusters.

With regard to paragraph 5.a., we believe that as long as the veto continues to exist, whether now or in an expanded Council, we will need to continue discussions on its impact on the work and on the effectiveness of the Council.  These discussions are in fact part and parcel of the whole reform question and should not in any way be taken up separately and apart from the reform agenda. 

Lastly, with regard to paragraph 6.j., like the majority of delegations, CARICOM envisions a Council numbering in the mid to upper twenties, but at this stage we reserve on the precise distribution of seats, except to say that we support the African position and support a rotating seat for SIDS across all regions.  Given that this paragraph contains the different proposals put forward for distribution of seats among the regions in an expanded Council, we believe it should be retained.

Distinguished Co-Chairs

CARICOM remains supportive of your efforts to move the IGN process forward and we will remain a constructive participant in these discussions.  We look forward to further progress on the outstanding issues and hope that this current session could serve as the catalyst in this regard.

I thank you.