Global Policy Forum

Statement by H.E. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti on Regional Representation at the Fifth Round of Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform


By Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti

June 28, 2010

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for convening this meeting to consider the question of regional representation in the Security Council. 

We gladly heed your call to continue our exercise of seeking ways to streamline the negotiating text.

The first major conclusion we can draw from the contributions submitted to the Chair is that the UN Charter rightfully remains our most fundamental and indispensable guide. 

This is particularly true in the case of representation by Member States – and only Member States – as members of the Security Council. In the text, no proposal explicitly aimed at creating a category of ‘regional seats’ or similar arrangements, which could challenge the very notion that this is as an Organization made of sovereign States.

Also, there was no specific suggestion to change or redefine the structure of existing regional groups at the United Nations.

The thrust of most proposals address the problem of how to secure a fair distribution of seats, taking into account the well-established principle of equitable geographical distribution, as applied both in usual practice and through the Charter.

There is a virtually universal recognition that developing countries must be better represented in the Council. Enhanced representation of these countries would be a natural consequence of the perceived need to have a Council that adequately reflects in its composition the overwhelming majority of the UN membership.

The present composition of the Security Council is inequitable and unbalanced in both categories of permanent and non-permanent members. As a matter of fact, it cannot be denied that African and Latin American and Caribbean States are not represented in the permanent membership at all. The current number of non-permanent seats should also be increased to give to more Member States – from all regions – the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process of the Council.

Mr. Chairman,

We can notice in the text a common desire to expand the Council for the creation of additional seats. That is not in dispute. 

What remains to be determined is how to allocate these new seats in a way that is equitable, inclusive, and geographically balanced, mindful of existing regional groups at the UN, in a manner that responds to current political realities. 

Actually, the question of distribution of seats is linked to the size of an enlarged Council. Therefore, it should be considered in the context of a decision to be made in this regard. 

What we can do in this section of the text is to merge those proposals that converge on principles, along the lines suggested here, and deal separately with the specifics. 

This would entail, at a later stage, a precise definition of the number of seats, in each category, that should be distributed to African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean, Eastern European, and Western European and Other States.

I do not want to be too technical right now or bother colleagues with a full list of items to be merged. But my delegation is of course ready to join others in further contributing to your efforts, Mr. Chairman, so that we can move forward quickly before the end of the fifth round.

Thank you.


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