Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at First meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters”



Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Today we will start a new round of Intergovernmental Negotiations. And, I want to welcome you all to this meeting.

I also want to pay tribute to our co-Chairs, Ambassadors Nusseibeh and Imnadze. Today will be their first time chairing these negotiations. But it will not be their first day of work in their new capacities. In fact, both co-Chairs have been working hard behind the scenes since November. They have been engaged in extensive consultations, including with many of you. They have also published a negotiation timetable in advance, which will benefit us all.

As we begin a new round of negotiations, I am sure we will all have many things to say. Some of these things can be said with absolute certainty.

The first is that the Security Council was originally designed over seventy years ago. The world it was created to protect is unrecognisable today.  The Council must reflect these changes. It must take into account new realities. We have all agreed on this. Throughout our years of negotiation, no one has challenged, or questioned, the need for reform. Which is why we can say, we need a credible process leading towards a meaningful outcome.

Something else we can say for certain is that there is great interest in this process. I can see, today, that many UN Member States are represented by high-level delegates. When we discussed this issue in November, so many states wanted to take the floor that we had to reconvene for a second day.

And, the priority attached to this IGN process is not unique to these rooms, in New York only. The topic of Security Council reform is discussed in the media. It has its own hashtag on Twitter. And, it is on the minds of world leaders. This was clear, last September, when your heads of state and government participated in the General Debate. Many of them called for a Security Council that reflects the world around it.

Another thing we can say, for certain, is that we know what does not work. We know what will not drive us forward.

Repeating well-known positions. Drawing red lines. Calling for flexibility from others, without giving any ourselves. Choosing prepared statements over interactive dialogue. Talking at – instead of to – each other.

If we follow these routes, we will end up going nowhere. That is certain. And every minute we waste going nowhere has repercussions for millions of people around the world.

However, as we begin new negotiations, many uncertainties remain. And that is why we need your input today.

The co-Chairs have invited you to reflect on the process so far. And, in doing so, they have asked for your ideas on how it should proceed. This will mean identifying any gaps that need to be filled. It will mean shining a light on new possibilities for convergence. It will mean looking at options to move ahead in all five clusters. It will mean thinking outside the box. It will mean brainstorming. It will mean really talking, and really listening, to each other.

We need a Security Council adapted to today’s world. It relates to the lives of people. It affects the credibility and relevance of the General Assembly. 


President of the UN General Assembly

Excellencies, dear colleagues,

Before I conclude, I will return to the certainties. Because there is something else we can say for certain. Which is that this is your process. It is owned by you. It depends on you. And, what it does – or does not – achieve is up to you.

I am here to create a platform for your success. Your opinions and ideas today will help me to do this.

I know that this places a heavy weight on our shoulders.

Because, we need a Security Council adapted to today’s world. And that is not merely a technical, or procedural task. It relates to the lives of people. It affects the credibility and relevance of the General Assembly, which established this process. And, it puts the entire United Nations system at stake.

But as heavy as this weight is, I am confident that we can handle it. Because, that is what the General Assembly is built to do.

So, I wish you a productive discussion today. You are in good hands, thanks to our committed co-Chairs.

Thank you – and good luck!