Speech

"We believe that the time has come to make the United Nations Security Council more reflective of the modern world"

Intervention of Mark Lyall Grant from the UK Mission to the UN at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UNSC reform

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Sir Mark Lyall Grant

Mr Chairman

Let me begin by welcoming your appointment as the new chair of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations on this important topic. I look forward to working with you as you seek to inject new momentum into the important issue of UN Security Council reform.

All of us here agree on the need for Security Council reform. In this 70th anniversary year for the United Nations, we have the opportunity to sharpen our focus and genuinely move forward. But, sadly, from this common start point, we tend to diverge down our own paths.

The United Kingdom’s position is clear. We believe that the time has come to make the United Nations Security Council more reflective of the modern world. We therefore support a modest expansion in both permanent and non-permanent membership. We believe that this supports the fundamental requirement that the UN Security Council remain effective and efficient, while furthering the aim of a more representative Council. In line with the importance we attach to the Council’s efficiency, we do not support extending the use of the veto.

In particular, we support new permanent seats for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan alongside permanent African representation. Individually and collectively, the G4 nations have a strong claim on a permanent seat and represent a diverse range of peoples and positions. Permanent African representation is also a central element of our vision for reform.

But, if we are to succeed in pushing forward with reform, we will all need to engage in the process wholeheartedly and willingly. In this, Mr Chairman, I would like to put on record our support for any innovative approaches – including text based negotiations as a logical first step towards a resolution – that you may take in the interests of galvanising this debate and moving it away from a rehearsal of familiar positions.

Working towards an expanded Council should be complemented by concerted efforts to improve the Council’s working methods. The UK remains at the forefront of initiatives to improve work in this area. It is essential that this continues and that the Council keeps pace with technological advancements.

Mr Chairman, Let me stress the importance the UK attaches to the debate on Security Council reform. We follow developments closely and at the highest levels. We remain willing to work with all partners sharing a similar commitment and I call upon everyone here to focus on our areas of agreement, driving progress where possible, rather than dwelling on differences. Again, Mr Chairman, you have our full support in steps you take that emphasise such an approach and ensure we do not immediately find ourselves in the logjam of old.

This year, of all years, the eyes of the world will be upon us. We should respond by showing that we can move this debate forward and ensure the Council is representative and reflective of the modern world while living up to the ideals of the Charter.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

Published 12 February 2015