Statements and Speeches
Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations during Plenary Debate on Agenda Item 122 entitled “The Question of Equitable Representation for the Increase in Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Council”
7 November 2016.
Thank you for giving my delegation the opportunity to register our views on this important agenda item before the General Assembly. I wish to align our views with the statements delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representatives of Sierra Leone and Saint Lucia on behalf of the African Union Member States and the L.69 Group respectively. I wish to make additional remarks in my national capacity.
In participating in today’s debate, South Africa remains mindful of the urgent need to reform the Security Council, which is one of the important organs of the United Nations. We encourage all Member States and groups to work hard to move the process forward on eth basis of the gains made in previous sessions.
We commend you for convening this debate early in your Presidency of the 71st Session. Let me also congratulate Ambassador Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania and Ambassador Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia on their appointment as Co-Chairs of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations and assure them of South Africa’s commitment to working with them to advance the comprehensive reform of the Security Council.
The Charter of the United Nations confers on the Security Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Through this Charter mandate, the Council is given important and far-reaching powers to act on behalf of the broader membership of the United Nations. It is therefore crucial that the Security Council should be reformed to reflect the 21st century realities, and make the Council more democratic, legitimate, representative, responsive and transparent in its working methods and decision-making processes.
South Africa recalls the resolve of our Heads of States and Government in the World Summit Outcome Document in 2005, who committed to intensify their efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all aspects as an essential element of overall efforts to reform of the United Nations. Over the last few years, the United Nations and its membership can be proud of the strides we achieved, with landmark agreements in the sustainable development and environment areas. However, we regret that similar achievement remain elusive in the area of international peace and security, particularly on the question of the reform of the Security Council. We are also concerned that the Security Council has been unable to resolve some conflict situations or failed dismally to intervene in others thus eroding its credibility and legitimacy.
My delegation calls on you Mr President and the Co-Chairs of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations, to spare no effort to expedite the fulfillment of the long outstanding mandate from our leaders as resolved in 2005, to move the reform process forward.
South Africa’s approach to the reform of the Security Council is guided by the Common African Position as articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration on the Reform of the United Nations. We believe that the continued total non-representation of Africa in the permanent category and the under-representation of developing countries in the Security Council in general should be addressed. In this context, we continue to call for the fundamental reform of the Security Council in order to ensure representation of Africa.
It remains a historical injustice that Africa, a Continent of one billion people remains the only Continent not represented in the permanent category despite the fact that African Member States and the African Union are at the forefront of contributing to international peace and security including as major Troop Contributing Countries as well being host to many United Nations peacekeeping missions. Furthermore, the bulk of the work and agenda of the Security Council relates to African issues yet Africa is not represented accordingly.
We therefore reaffirm our support for expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. In this regard, we do not subscribe to expansion in only the non-permanent category as such an approach will not meet the requirements laid out by our leaders in 2005.
Over the years, many delegations including South Africa have emphasized the need for text-based negotiations on Security Council reform in the context of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations. My delegation wishes to reiterate this call and further call for the need to build on the progress achieved in previous sessions, especially during the 69th session and on the basis of General Assembly Decision 62/557 as well as Decision 69/560 of 14 September 2015 and the text and annex circulated by the President of the 69th session of the General Assembly on 31 July 2015.
As they prepare to start their work, we would like to encourage the Co-Chairs to develop a Roadmap for the reform of the Security Council in the context of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations to be accompanied with clear and implementable timeframes. Equally, we hope that the first meeting of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations will be convened as soon as possible, preferably before the end of this year.
In conclusion, my delegation is well aware that the road ahead is going to be challenging, but rest assured that South Africa intends to walk it to its successful conclusion, working with other like-minded Member States. We would like to reassure you of our commitment to working with you and the Co-Chairs to move the process of the reform of the Security Council forward during this session.
I thank you.