I speak on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.
We thank the IGN co-chairs, the United Arab Emirates and Luxembourg, for continuing their approach of providing Member States with clear guidance so as to promote a more thorough discussion of the issues at hand, including on the remaining two clusters of the IGN.
We are encouraged by the steady progress on UN reform that is currently energizing the work of the Secretariat and Member States, including the ongoing efforts to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the Council’s work in its current format. One important aspect in this regard is the preparation of newly elected members to the work and practices of the Council. Finland, for example, has supported this by arranging an annual retreat for the Security Council and the incoming members in close cooperation with its partners. The retreat has also become a forum for fruitful informal discussions on the Council's working methods.
This progress should serve as inspiration for our endeavors towards a comprehensively reformed Council at the heart of a United Nations, fit to respond to the complex and multifaceted challenges we face today. It is therefore more important than ever that the Council becomes more transparent, more effective, more accountable and more representative in order to better fulfill its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I reaffirm the commitment of the Nordic countries to engage in the collective efforts to this end. Along others, the Nordic countries also reaffirm our call for text-based negotiations as the best way to harness the progress achieved and move the process forward.
The Nordic countries support a balanced expansion of the Security Council. The aim must be to better reflect current global political and economic realities, and ensure increased representation, including both permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa. In our view, it is also important that small states have the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process of the Security Council as elected members.
On the two key issues discussed today (of the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly, and the size of an enlarged Security Council and working methods of the Council), much work has been done during previous sessions of the IGN on identifying elements of convergence that have emerged from the positions and proposals from Member States. Let us build on this progress.
The relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly should be mutually reinforcing and complementary, and ensure increased cooperation, coordination and exchange of information. Ongoing efforts to enhance the role and relevance of the Peacebuilding Commission in the work of the Security Council will also be helpful in this regard. Furthermore, improving access to the work of the Security Council and its subsidiary organs for all members of the GA is important to enhance transparency and the Council’s accountability to the wider membership.
We recognize the continuous efforts of the Council towards improving its working methods, including earlier involvement of incoming members, co-penholdership, meeting formats and the inclusion of regionally representative briefers, to name a few. At the same time, an enlarged Council will need to further adapt its working methods to ensure a transparent, efficient, effective and accountable functioning of the Council to accommodate its increased membership. It will also need to ensure the full participation of all members of the Security Council in its work, including the holding of the Presidency of the enlarged Council by non-permanent members at least once during their tenure.
The Nordics will contribute to a constructive dialogue among Member States on these and other issues, with a view to achieving further progress in our efforts to reform the Security Council.