The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Statements and Speeches

Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, on "The Question of Equitable Representation on the Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Council"

22 February 2016

Madam Chair,

We would like to thank you for convening this important and timely debate on the question of the equitable representation on the increase in the membership of the Security Council and other related matters of the Council.

My delegation aligns itself with the statements delivered by Saint Lucia on behalf of the
L.69 Group and Sierra Leone on behalf of the Africa Group and we wish to make the following additional remarks in our national capacity. We would like to expound on a few principles our positions on the text before us are encapsulated in the two groups' remarks.

On the issue on the size of an enlarged "inclusive" Council, we strongly believe that to have any legitimacy it needs to be representative of all the various regional groups in the United Nations, in both categories of membership. South Africa's point of departure is to continue to approach the negotiations based on the Common African Position that representation in the Security Council should be increased from 15 to 26, with six of the 11 new members' allocated permanent seats with veto rights, as well as five new non­ permanent seats. Within this proposed structure Africa seeks two permanent seats and an additional three non-permanent seats, increasing Africa's representation to five non­ permanent seats - such an increase will adequately address the historical injustice against Africa in the composition of the Security Council

Moreover, we would also like to see expansion in both categories for other regions of the South, such as Latin America, which has no permanent seat, and Asia, which has only one permanent seat - the non-representation of Latin America and the under­ representation of Asia entrenches biased composition of the Security Council. Like other member states, we do not believe that a larger Security Council will necessarily be inefficient, or at least it will not be more inefficient than the Council is at present. In fact South Africa believes that a great deal of the Council's failures will be addressed when its composition is corrected.

Madame Chairperson,

With regard to the working methods of the Security Council, we have seen some improvement and the Security Council has attempted to be more transparent and inclusive, however the Council's efforts are rather patchy and not predictable. We would therefore like to make a recommendation that can be implemented immediately - the aim of which is to increase direct engagement with the member states on the agenda of the Security Council as well as those member states and groups affected by the decisions of the Security Council.

In this regard, we believe that the Security Council can learn from the AU Peace and Security Council, which has open sessions used to engage with affected countries and groups - these sessions are not used solely for formal statements, but are in fact interactive engagements with questions being posed and answered. The AU PSC does
this to ensure that the PSC hears from the parties and not just dictate to them and that any recommendations made by the PSC. Furthermore, these sessions take place in public and not behind closed doors, and take place before the PSC debates the proposals and resolutions before it. South Africa encourages the Security Council to adopt such an approach, doing so will not only allow the Council to be more transparent and inclusive, but will go a long way to ensure that the decisions of the Council address the real situation on the ground.

Finally, we remain convinced that reform of the Security Council is achievable, but it will not happen without hard work and tough decisions. We thank you for guiding a new process of editing the chair's text of last year to delete and merge more of the repetitive text as this will provide us with a streamlined text that can be the basis of true negotiations.

I thank you