UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Tuesday underscored the need for making the principle of democracy a “central tenet” of the UN Security Council reform process aimed at transforming the 15-member body into a more representative, effective and accountable one.
“Anything less would mean that the reform of the Security Council seeks to address its existing dysfunctionalities by merely reinforcing them,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told an interactive session of the deadlocked Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) during which she made a strong case for more elected/non-permanent seats on the council, among other points.
“Democracy should be pivotal in our deliberations; it should not be the elephant in the room,” she said in a debate focused on pushing the reform process forward.
Progress towards restructuring the Security Council remains blocked as India, Brazil, Germany and Japan—known as the Group of Four—push for permanent seats in the council, while the Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group firmly opposes any additional permanent members.
As a compromise, UfC has proposed a new category of members—not permanent members—with longer duration in terms and a possibility to get re-elected once.
The Security Council is currently composed of five permanent members—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members that are elected in groups of five to two-year terms.
Full-scale negotiations to restructure the Security Council began in the General Assembly in February 2009, on five key areas—the categories of membership, the question of veto, regional representation, size of an enlarged council, working methods of the body and its relationship with the 193-member assembly.
In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi regretted that the Group of Four stance denies democracy its rightful place as the cornerstone of the reform process. “They seek a democratic process, but not a democratic outcome,” she said.
“Yet, fully aware of its significance, some still attempt to cloak their ambition by invoking quasi-democratic notions,” the Pakistani envoy added. “It is time that this aberration is corrected, and the principle of democracy is restored to its rightful place, as a central tenet of the reform process.”
Ambassador Lodhi also emphasized that the reformed Security Council should be “a mirror of the contemporary world, a world that is not static, and not frozen in time, but ever changing.”
Th Pakistani envoy was commenting on a proposal by the Group of Four that the reform of the Council should reflect “the realities of the contemporary world.
In fact, she said what was needed was a council that “continues to reflect the realities of the world.”
In this regard, she pointed out that when the council was created in 1945, it was argued that it responded to the realities of the world at that time, but those realities changed and the council could not.
“Are we to repeat the same mistake again?” she asked.