Statement of the Republic of Estonia 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Agenda Item 123 Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council

Delivered by the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia, Mr Sven Jürgenson on 24 November, 2021

Mr President,

Please allow me to thank the President for convening today’s debate.

At the outset, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Permanent Representatives of Poland and Qatar for leading the intergovernmental negotiations on the Security Council reform during the previous session of the General Assembly. We congratulate the Permanent Representatives of Qatar and Denmark for accepting the role of co-chairmanship of the current session of intergovernmental negotiations.

Mr President,

Estonia continues to regret the lack of meaningful substantive progress on the reform of its Security Council that bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

We continue to advocate for a meaningful, results-oriented process to reform the Security Council. The main goal of the reform endeavours should be a strengthened United Nations, an increased ownership of the Security Council’s work and accountability of the Council to the UN membership.

There is a clear need for increased membership of the Security Council based upon equitable representation.

Estonia is grateful for the trust to serve as an elected member in the Council for the first time from 2020 until the end of this year. We continue to advocate for all states, in particular small states to have an opportunity to serve in the Council.

Mr President,

We continue to point out that concerning an enlarged Council the question of veto must be given careful consideration. The use or threat of use of veto by some members of the Security Council has at times rendered the Council unable to react to situations where action is needed the most. The failure of the Security Council to protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes severely and adversely impacts its credibility.

The permanent members of the Security Council should refrain from using veto to block Council’s action aimed at preventing or ending situations involving mass atrocity crimes. This vital commitment by all permanent members is achievable on a voluntary basis already now with no amendments needed to the UN Charter. There are no excuses for not following through with this commitment to bolster protection of civilians and the moral standing of the Council.

Furthermore, as a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group, Estonia actively supports the code of conduct that addresses Security Council’s action regarding genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

These two initiatives share a common goal and are complementary. We call on more states to join the Code of Conduct by the ACT group and the Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity, launched by France and Mexico, both in 2015.

In closing, let me reiterate a call for concrete and meaningful steps by the UN membership to advance our common goal of making the Security Council more representative, effective, transparent, accountable and, thus, more legitimate.

Thank you.