UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY 36TH PLENARY MEETING - QUESTION OF EQUITABLE REPRESENTATION ON AND INCREASE IN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL
17 November 2022
Statement by H.E. The Hon Mitch Fifield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Mr President, colleagues,
Let me begin by thanking the co-chairs of the IGN process for the 77th session, our dear friends and colleagues, H.E. Mr. Tareq M. A. M. Albanai, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwai, and H.E. Mr. Tareq M. A. M. Albanai, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait.
Since we last met in Plenary last year, Members have received the starkest reminder of the importance of Security Council reform and the need to achieve tangible progress.
I refer of course to Russia’s flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the challenges faced by the UN Security Council in responding to Russia’s unilateral, illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine.
The Security Council is integral to the rules-based international order and to our global peace and security architecture. It is the only UN organ with a mandate to make decisions that are legally binding on Member States.
The need for reform of the Security Council was made clear in Australia’s National Statement, delivered by Foreign Minister Wong, at High-Level Week, and in the statements and interventions of many many others.
In particular, we applaud the new level of engagement by the United States on this matter.
Australia welcomes the active efforts of the co-chairs of the IGN to deliver progress through 2022, by convening informal meetings across all five clusters of issues mandated in 2008.
The Council, let’s be clear, needs greater representation from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The Council’s working methods should be improved to ensure it is more accountable to Member States.
And better standards need to be developed for use of the veto, to ensure it is more transparent and limited.
And that’s why Australia was pleased to co-sponsor the Liechtenstein initiative which was adopted by consensus in the General Assembly on the 26th of April.
This is a practical step towards increased transparency on the use of the veto and greater connectedness between the Council and the General Assembly.
But it is not enough.
We urge Members to move to text-based negotiations, and for the IGN to achieve a more open and transparent process.
Only then can these reforms – which so many Member States expressly and urgently want – be realised.
As Australia’s Foreign Minister said in our National Statement: being genuinely committed to the United Nations means being genuinely committed to reforming the United Nations and keeping it vital.