Statement at IGN debate

Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council (IGN)

Statement by Estonia, delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Kristel Lõuk

13 December 2023, New York


I congratulate you on the progress made during the last session and look forward to working closely with you during this session of the General Assembly.

Estonia supports the way forward proposed by the co-chairs including continuing the innovative practices [1]during the future sessions and the three elements of the IGN process during the 78th session: (1) negotiations to reinforce and build convergence, (2) Structured Dialogue on models proposed by States and Groups, (3) a contribution by the IGN to the Summit of the Future, in order to avoid duplications between different ongoing processes.

Mr. Co-chairs,

Estonia continues to regret the lack of meaningful substantive progress on the reform of the Security Council — the body that should bear the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as stated clearly in the UN Charter. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.

The main goal of the reform endeavors should be a strengthened multilateral world order based on international law, with UN and the UN Charter at its core. We should use the momentum to restore the political relevance of the United Nations Organization. For this we need a fit-for-purpose, transparent, open and accountable Security Council with a strengthened decision-making capacity.

Adherence to the principles of the UN Charter, full and unequivocal support for the international law, UN Charter and the ICC should guide us when addressing the Council reform.

On the elements of the SC reform:

We would need further discussions on the respective rolesof the SC and GA, as well as the relationship between the two. We, in the General Assembly should be able to collectively overcome the veto in the Security Council if the Council itself cannot uphold the international law and principles of the Charter. The Veto Initiative is an important step towards ensuring accountability within the United Nations system that has also strengthened the role of the General Assembly on addressing the peace and security matters. We have also seen the relevance of the Uniting for Peace Resolution.

The central issue regarding the efficiency of the Council revolves around the use of the veto right. There should be no veto right if there is a suspicion that the one who uses it may have acted against the international law. Estonia supports the French-Mexican initiativeon veto restraint and the Code of Conduct by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group on not voting against resolutions aimed at ending mass atrocities, including the crime of aggression.

UN Charter stipulates in paragraph 3 of Article 27 that “a party to a dispute shall abstain from voting” in the Security Council. I call on the Council to strictly and always implement this clause as foreseen in the Charter and as it has been done in numerous cases after the UN was brought to life.

To ensure that the Security Council can carry out the tasks set by the UN Charter, we need to adjust the structure and working methodsof the Council. Estonia welcomes the initiative of the IGN co-chairs to organise annual meetings between the IWG Chair and the IGN Co-Chairs to discuss ways and means whereby the two processes can best complement each other for the common goal of enhancing the working methods of the Security Council.

As of the future composition of the Security Council – it must adequately reflect the current world. We advocate for a fair distribution between continents and regions. Small, medium and big states should all have a chance to be represented.

Estonia advocates for a meaningful, results-oriented process to reform the Security Council. Therefore, Estonia supports moving to text-based negotiations.

Thank you!

[1] launching of the IGN website, the introduction of the webcast for some of the IGN sessions, the Open-House Discussion on Security Council Reform, the exchange with the IWG Chair as well as the continuation of the “un-formals”. I