By Alicia Stott
15 February 2012
In a letter  by the current chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, to the Member States and the President of the General Assembly, it was stated that in the interest of facilitating more in-depth discussion and evaluation the remainder of the meetings for the eighth round of the group will be providing each of the representatives of the five major initiatives the opportunity to present their most current proposals for Security Council reform. The order of these discussions was decided by when the chair received each initiative’s proposal following a call for documents outlining each group’s vision for reform in a letter sent on 18 August 2011. These meetings were set to begin in January of 2012 with the discussion of the informal plenary for the G4, whose letter  was the first received by the chair. Following that a letter  from the Permanent Representative of Italy will be presented as the focal point for “Uniting for Consensus” in February. In March, the letter  from the Permanent Representatives of India and Jamaica will be presented on behalf of the L69 group. Finally, in the first and last weeks of April respectively, a letter  from the Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone will be speaking on the proposal of the C-10 (Committee of Ten African Permanent Representatives) and as well as the letter  from the entirety of the S-5 containing their initiative.
The first of such meetings was held on 26 January 2012, beginning with a presentation and discussion the letter from the Permanent Representatives of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan on the views of the G4. In the introductory statement  delivered by the Permanent Representative of Brazil, the G4 expressed that it was “…bound together by a common vision of an enlarged Security Council that better reflects the geopolitical realities of the 21st Century”. As stated in previous discussions on their stance, the G4 still believes the Council should seek expansion in both permanent and non-permanent membership. In deciding on which countries should be considered for these positions they suggest taking into account the contribution a country makes to maintaining international peace and security, but also ensuring better representation of developing countries in both categories of membership. The G4 also wished to reaffirm its view that Africa should be properly represented in the proposed enlargement of the permanent membership of the Council. The other major tenet of their initiative is to see that working methods of the Council are improved upon.
On the overall progress of the negotiations, while the G4 restated its full support of the process they also noted that in their view progress has been limited; particularly in reference to the Rev. 3 document , the third revision of the negotiation text, where they believe there has been significant resistance to revising it into a shorter document with “realistic options the reflect majority positions”. The G4 expressed its intention to provide renewed momentum to the negotiations that better responds to the urgent call for reform made by a number of Heads of State and Government as recently as the opening of the 66th General Assembly.
The G4 also proposed that the General Assembly should be allowed to give political guidance with concern to the issues of the Council’s membership and its working methods. This would be in line with a letter from the chair dated 23 February 2011 that said the intergovernmental negotiations should “…evolve in an open, transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive membership-driven manner”. In accordance with this, the members of the G4 have been reaching out to other Member States and have found that the
In response to this, the U.K., which has supported the G4’s proposal in the past, reaffirmed this support but added that approaches to reform should ensure a balance between effectiveness and representation. The political coordinator for the U.K. mission, Ambassador Michael Tatham, said to the press, “The United Kingdom continues to support permanent membership for Germany, Japan, Brazil and India, as well as African representation".
Other states, such as Pakistan, a member of Uniting for Consensus, had stronger reactions to the proposed initiatives of the G4. In a statement  delivered at the same meeting, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, expressed disagreement with the G4’s assessment of support for its initiative, as well as with the current format of the negotiations stating that, “Simple narration of known positions without flexibility, as done today by the G-4, flies in the face of objectivity and stultifies negotiations”. Nonetheless, he welcomed the resumption of the eighth round of intergovernmental negotiations and the chair’s reiteration of a commitment to open and membership-driven discussions. He also blamed the breakdown of the previous negotiations in March on the initial draft resolution put forth by the G4 due to its narrowing of the negotiations to the subjects of membership categories and working methods; which the Ambassador acknowledged that the G4 did concede that day that its proposal is not completely comprehensive.
Another issue the Ambassador raised concerned the perceived avoidance of the question of the veto for the proposed new membership as well as the implications of the size of this expansion. He stated that adding new permanent members without veto power would create a third category of membership that would be contrary to the effort of balancing the current permanent members of the Council. Also adding so many new permanent members, regardless of veto status, only creates a greater imbalance between elected and non-elected members. He went on to say that this will only serve to “…enlarge the “club of the privileged” who will have a vested interest in addressing most issues in the Security Council, further draining the oxygen out of the General Assembly, and enhancing the domination of the Security Council.”
Returning to the subject of support for the G4’s proposal, the Ambassador noted a statement made by Jan Grauls, Permanent Representative of Belgium, at the last intergovernmental negotiations meeting. He spoke with respect to needing to test the G4’s draft proposal and if adequate support could not be found they should move on to considering other proposals. Ambassador Haroon points out that the G4 draft is nearly a year old and has yet to gain enough support for even a simple majority in the General Assembly. He believed this amounts to “categorical rejection” of the proposal and the need to move on from it. He saw the efforts of the G4 to be individual national demands rather than being about representation unlike the interests of the African states to gain regional representation which is why such an issue, in his view, find such wider support amongst the entire membership. He concluded his statement by reiterating Pakistan’s, as well as Uniting for Consensus’, commitment to flexibility and compromise in the negotiations as opposed to the, in his words, “take-it-or-leave-it” proposals of the G4.
The next meeting taking place on 21 February 2012 will feature the ‘Focal Point’ of Uniting for Consensus as prepared by the Permanent Representative of Italy to be presented for the negotiations. We will continue to follow these developments as they occur and update with any new information as it becomes available.
|Letter from IGN Chair Zahir Tanin 29 December 2011.pdf ||174.5 KB|
|Letter from the C10 06 September.pdf ||119.03 KB|
|Letter from the G4 06 September 2011.pdf ||135.81 KB|
|Letter from the L.69 Group 06 September 2011.pdf ||140.99 KB|
|Letter from the S5 08 September 2011.pdf ||118.2 KB|
|Letter from the UfC 06 September 2011.pdf ||154.54 KB|