Talking Points of Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the informal plenary of the General Assembly
on Security Council reform: "Size of an enlarged Security Council"
and "Working methods of the Security Council"
7 April 2009, New York
I would like to thank you for convening the meeting on the fourth cluster.
(Size of an enlarged Security Council)
The issue of the size of an enlarged Security Council is one of the core issues for meaningful reform.
The current composition of the Security Council, that is, five permanent members and ten non-permanent members, essentially continues to reflect the world as it was in 1945.
The composition of the Security Council was revised only once to increase the number of non-permanent members from 6 to 10 more than 44 years ago. The membership of the UN has increased since then by about 60% from 118 to 192.
Therefore, the overriding objectives for Security Council reform should be first, the improvement of its representativeness, and also the enhancement of its effectiveness, as specified in paragraph 153 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1).
With regard to representativeness, we need to make the Council more broadly representative by reasonably increasing the number of members in both categories.
As to its effectiveness, we should recall paragraph 1 of Article 24 of the Charter, which stipulates that the Security Council must promptly and effectively act on behalf of all Member States in order to carry out its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
In order for the Council to act promptly and effectively, the Council should be adequately representative but relatively compact as a decision-making body. Therefore, it is not enough just to expand the size of the Security Council proportionately to the increase in overall number of Member States in order to enhance its representativeness.
Instead, we should expand the Council in such a way as to strike a balance between representativeness and effectiveness. This view has been supported by the overwhelming majority of Member States.
Therefore, my delegation considers it natural that not a few Member States have expressed their view that a relatively moderate expansion would be appropriate to maintain the efficiency of the Council.
Japan has earlier proposed an enlarged Security Council of 25 members with the addition of 6 permanent seats and 4 non-permanent seats.
The issue of the size of an enlarged Council is closely interrelated with other issues, such as categories of membership and regional representation. Therefore, this issue should be negotiated together with other issues in a comprehensive manner.
We are prepared to negotiate constructively to determine a size for an enlarged Council, which can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States, taking into account the need for effectiveness in the Council's work and our experience as a non-permanent member.
(Working methods of the Security Council)
One hardly needs to reiterate that comprehensive reform of the Security Council entails both enlargement of the Council and improvement of its working methods. We are mindful that the issue of the improvement of working methods could be addressed in parallel with that of the expansion of the Council.
No matter how the Council is expanded, its membership at any given time would always be no more than a fraction of the total number of Member States. Being accepted as a member of the United Nations, every Member State has agreed to accept and carry out the decisions of the Council, as stipulated in Article 25 of the Charter. Therefore, the Council's decision-making must be transparent and accountable to all the Member States in order for the Council to gain their wide support and understanding of its decisions. Only in this way will the Council's effectiveness be enhanced.
It is thus important that the Security Council makes every effort to improve its working methods. In 2006, under Japan's chairmanship of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, a Presidential Note (S/2006/507) was approved by the Council. The Note was then incorporated into the handbook which was distributed to all the delegations.
My delegation believes that the Note and the handbook have helped make Council members aware of the responsibility that membership entails, resulting in such improvements as clarification of the types of meeting formats and a substantial increase in the number of public meetings, in particular those with the participation of the countries directly concerned.
My delegation appreciates the work being done in the Informal Working Group since then. As the current chair of the Working Group, Japan will continue to make the utmost effort to implement the agreed measures set forth in the aforementioned Note, so as to ensure the transparency of the activities of the Council.
From this perspective, my delegation believes that the Security Council needs to make further efforts particularly in the following areas:
- 1) Participation in the public meetings of the Security Council by those non-Council members with a special interest in the matters at hand; and also consultations with those non-members in the decision-making process;
- 2) Frequent, timely and substantive briefings for non-members on the matters discussed in the Security Council as well as those of the subsidiary bodies;
- 3) Regular and timely consultations with troop-contributing countries and major financial contributors, and those counties that are directly concerned or affected by a peacekeeping operation;
- 4) Regular communication with the General Assembly and ECOSOC, as well as relevant regional and sub-regional organizations;
- 5) Substantive and comprehensive annual reports to the General Assembly.
My delegation is ready to work with others to formulate an agreed list of important measures to improve the working methods.
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