Joint Nordic Statement: Debate on the Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the SC and other matters
Joint Nordic Statement at GA Plenary meeting on Item 123:
Debate on the Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council,
delivered by Ambassador Jukka Salovaara,
Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, on 15 November 2021
Thank you for convening this annual debate.
I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.
Allow me to start by expressing our gratitude to Ambassador Wronecka of Poland and Ambassador Al-Thani of the State of Qatar for leading the latest session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform (IGN) under difficult circumstances. We ended the session by reiterating the commitment our Heads of State and Government made in the Declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN, to “instil new life in the discussions on the reform of the Security Council”. We look forward to resuming the IGN session and to honouring this commitment.
We welcome the new facilitators, the Ambassadors of Qatar and Denmark.
As the Secretary-General pointed out in his report on Our Common Agenda, we are at an inflection point in history. We are facing a multiplicity of complex and cross-cutting global challenges that can only be met with an effective and strengthened United Nations.
This includes a reformed Security Council that can adequately respond to today’s security challenges.
The Nordic countries seek a more transparent, effective, accountable and representative Security Council that can support a coherent UN response to the complex and cross-cutting issues we face. One that – in its composition and working methods – reflects the global realities of today and tomorrow. The world has changed since the last expansion of the Security Council in 1965.
The Nordic countries support a balanced expansion of the Security Council from all regions with adequate representation of Africa, Latin America, and Asia. We would like to see increased representation of developing countries and improved opportunity for small states to serve as elected members.
In ensuring a representative Council and redress the historical injustice against Africa, it is vital to ensure that the continent takes its rightful place on the Council through an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats.
We must also carefully consider the impacts of the act of the veto in our deliberations on Security Council reform. Permanent members’ veto power has restrained the Council’s ability to act on critical issues. Use of the veto power should be restrained and come with greater accountability and transparency. In particular, the use of the veto in situations of mass atrocities is not in line with the spirit of the UN Charter. The Nordic countries urge all Member States to join the ACT ‘Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes’ and the ‘Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity’ launched by France and Mexico.
After decades of debate, it is high time that we collectively and urgently act to move reform efforts forward. In this regard, it is vital that we build on the progress and results of the last session.
We continue to reiterate our call for advancing towards more substantive discussions that in our view would be best harnessed through text-based negotiations. The Nordic countries see this as essential for securing progress.
The Nordic countries stand ready to engage in constructive dialogue and to support the Co-Chairs on our common path towards ensuring continued progress on Security Council reform. We will continue to raise our voices in support of a reformed Security Council that is better able to shoulder its responsibility and is more representative of the world it serves. One that is rooted in delivering for “We, the Peoples” as reflected in the UN Charter – now and in the future.