The Political Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations commits us to instill new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council. Despite the passage of over 7 decades since the UN’s establishment, the Security Council remains an institution which has not adequately responded to major changes in the geopolitical map especially in terms of its representativeness, accountability, and working methods.
The Philippines believes that further progress in the IGN process could be achieved if the IGN moves forward to a next phase of creating a basis for an eventual agreement.
It is therefore important to retool the manner of our work so we can have concrete and measurable progress through a rolling single text for discussion and negotiation on the clusters to reach agreement or the broadest consensus.
Our fundamental aim over the past decades dating back to the 1990s has been to agree on a package of the interlinked elements on expansion of membership for greater equitable representation and agreed improved working methods leading to greater transparency in the decision making processes of the Security Council, and greater participation of members and the GA in such processes. In other words, an agreed package containing elements from the 5 clusters.
You have prompted us to start by clarifying positions on regional representation and equitable geographic representation. We note that increased commonality was achieved in 2019. For instance, the document referred to in the oral decision 73/554 of 2019 further highlighted the importance of increased representation for developing countries and small and medium-sized states. In addition, categories of membership and greater regional representation have been reflected. The Philippines reaffirms its support for increasing the number of members of the Security Council and in this regard ensuring that the Asia-Pacific is also equitably represented. Other regions, especially Africa, should also be equitably represented.
Specifically, the Philippines has supported an enlarged Council through an increase in the number of members up to 27, including fair representation for the Asia and the Pacific region. Such range is reflected in the revised elements of commonality, items II, sub paragraph 3, on the size of an enlarged Security Council.
Critical to an enlarged and more representative body is the balance in geographical representation based on regional groups’ populations. Only in this way can we ensure that the Council is truly a democratic and representative body. To illustrate, the Asia-Pacific Group accounts for almost 60 percent of the total population of all Member States in the UN. With 53 Member States, it accounts for 27 percent of the total UN membership. In peacekeeping operations, the Asia-Pacific contributes approximately 41 percent of the total human resources running these operations. Presently, the APG accounts for only 20 percent of the total number of seats; that is, only 3 seats – 1 permanent, 2 elected – of the 15 seats.
As the Security Council takes into account the question of equitable representation on and increase in membership, equal if not more attention must be devoted to the improvement of its working methods, i.e. the other matters related to the Council, to make its decision-making processes more transparent and open to wider participation non-members and better interaction with the GA itself, as covered in the cluster on the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly. This is in line with Article 24 (1) of the UN Charter, which states that the Security Council acts on behalf of the wider membership in carrying out its duties. This in turn, would ensure that the Council’s decisions and actions more fully represent and take into account the views and concerns of the wider membership of the UN.
Moreover, though the Council is the master of its procedures, its decision-making processes should be more transparent and participatory. This requires taking fully into account the views of the wider membership on issues under its consideration, as well as the GA, as a principal organ. The GA and SC should have effective institutional working arrangements.
Finally, the Philippines remains committed to the IGN process and we are confident in your leadership to ensure that the session this year yields concrete progress. We hope to go into more detail on the substantive issues as well as the procedure of our work in the days ahead. It goes without saying, the procedure we adopt will significantly affect how far we advance. But we must be careful not to allow a discussion on the IGN process to dominate our work. We trust in the wisdom of the Chairs on this point.
*The current Co-Chairs of the IGN are PR Alya Ahmed Said Al-Thani (QATAR) and PR Joanna Wronecka (POLAND).