– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly

16 November 2020



Distinguished delegates,

I am very pleased to be with you today for a debate that I find extremely significant: Inter-Governmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reform. The work you have done so far, and the work ahead, will shape and define the future of this organization, its legitimacy and effectiveness.

This year, on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Member States commemorated the achievements of the United Nations across the three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights. Indeed, there is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact of the United Nations.

There is no other organizations that can shape the future of humanity like the United Nations. The demands we put on this organization are enormous. They span the globe.

We expect the United Nations to take action on the most pressing issues confronting humanity today, from pandemics to peace and security, climate change to humanitarian emergencies.

The unexpected scale of the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the United Nations response, leave little doubt that there is no other option but to reform. The United Nations must be fit for purpose so we can address issues, including crises, with more effectiveness and urgency.


The Security Council is the United Nations main organ to address peace and security challenges.

But the Council has, on many occasions, failed to carry out its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

Competing interests among its members and frequent use of the veto have limited the Security Council’s effectiveness.

Even in some of the most urgent humanitarian crises, the Council could not provide a timely and adequate response.

This is a serious setback to the founding principles of the United Nations and our common efforts to build a peaceful world.

While the United Nations needs much deeper reforms, it is evident that reform of the Security Council is an unavoidable imperative, both challenging and essential.

And reform of the Council ultimately depends on you, the Member States. It is a member-driven process. Your commitment to negotiation is crucial.

Volkan Bozkir

President of the UN General Assembly


In carrying out its duties, the Security Council acts on behalf of all Member States.

Member States conferred “on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security”. Therefore, the success or failure of the United Nations Security Council is on all the Member States of the United Nations.

And reform of the Council ultimately depends on you, the Member States. It is a member-driven process. Your commitment to negotiation is crucial.

Any reform, which is not Member State driven, is unlikely to make this organization, and its pillars, more effective and deliver the results we expect.

Hence, true reform can only be achieved if we strive for the ‘widest possible political acceptance’ amongst Member States, if not unanimity or near unanimity.

The General Assembly – through its decision 62/557 – has requested you focus on the five clusters:

First, the question of the use of the veto power;

Second, categories of membership;

Third, regional representation;

Fourth, size and working methods;

Finally, the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Over the years, we have seen convergence among Member States on certain issues.

Through active engagement and a pragmatic approach, I believe we can make meaningful progress on this agenda and I am encouraged by the discussions I have led with many of you.

I urge delegations to seek the broadest possible consensus on comprehensive reforms to the Security Council and to continue the efforts to resolve the main  differences among the membership.

This process can and should be an opportunity to correct the problems of structure and functioning of the Council. It should not create new privileges and new problems.

I look forward to this session and its discussions with the aim of narrowing divergences in an inclusive and transparent manner.

I would like to warmly thank Her Excellency, Ms. Joanna Wronecka, Permanent Representative of Poland, and Her Excellency Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar for taking on the responsibility of co-chairing  the Intergovernmental Negotiations. The early appointment of the co-chairs allows for consultations to start in a timely manner.

I urge you to continue to explore ways to safely conduct all meetings mandated to the General Assembly to ensure that the General Assembly performs its duties.  My team and I will support the co-chairs and Member States along the way.  I also stand ready to explore, in coordination with the co-chairs, an informal dialogue on the programme of work of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations before the end of this year.

I request all Member States extend their support and cooperation to the co-chairs and engage in discussions in good faith, recalling our collective aim to ensure we have a United Nations we need to achieve the future we want.

Thank you.