GA: Question of equitable representation

Nordic joint statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council, 25 November 2019.

| General Assembly


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Ambassador Braun of Luxembourg and Ambassador Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates for leading the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform (or IGN) last session.

Particularly for their work on the revision of the “Elements Paper”, which has been built on, and improved, for the last three sessions.

While this work is certainly gradual - and far from text-based negotiations we have frequently called for- the fact that we can all come together around one document is progress that should be recognised as a basis for moving forward. 


On the substance of the matter at hand, the Nordic Countries seek a more transparent, accountable, and representative Security Council.

One better equipped to address current global challenges. And which better reflects current global realities, not least in its representation.

This means a balanced expansion of the Council, including increased representation of developing countries, greater possibilities for small states to serve as elected members; and certainly ensuring that Africa takes its rightful place in the Council, through an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa, redressing the historical injustice done to the African continent.


These are all consistent positions of the Nordic countries.

Ones which we are happy to reiterate in this format of the General Assembly Plenary.

But, we would like to see this GA plenary debate become the primary place for general statements about the IGN. We want to empower the Co-Chairs to move right into substance as we begin our informal meetings of the IGN, rather than starting with another general discussion.

The IGN process needs to create the space for more genuine dialogue between Member States, and interaction on each other’s positions and proposals.

The Nordics stand ready to enter this phase of negotiation, and will support all efforts of the Co-Chairs to get us there.   


We welcome the clear guidance for our work this session provided by the General Assembly Decision 73/554. This decision outlines only two documents as the basis of our work; commonly known as the “Elements Paper” and the “Framework Document”.

We welcome the continued recognition of the Framework Document.

It remains an important resource to inform our work. As the most up to date reflection of the direct positions and proposals of Member States.

I spoke earlier on the progress represented by the Elements Paper, but we also see that it has more space for improvement.

Particularly through expanding on the more difficult issues of: Categories of Membership, the Question of the Veto, and Regional Representation.

Meanwhile, we see that the remaining two issues of: Working Methods, and the Relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, have been comprehensively covered.

The IGN must stick to its mandated focus on a future, expanded, Council. Rather than making our already difficult task more so, by straying into ongoing work of improving the current Council. This work is already being undertaken in the Informal Working Group in the Council itself, and through the GA revitalization process.

That said, one major issue that straddles both the current and future Council is effectiveness.

It must be recognised that in instances today where the Council fails to live up to its Charter obligations, a main source of this inability to act is the veto.

This must be given careful consideration in our deliberations concerning an enlarged Council.


We look forward to the appointment of the co-chairs the IGN process for the 74th Session. They certainly have a challenging job ahead of them. Given the work already undertaken in this process’ ten-year history, it is not an easy task to chart a path for further progress. Especially if our current parameters of engagement remain unchanged.

In this light, perhaps it is time for us to also examine the working methods of IGN itself. To weigh the merits of proposals such as: greater transparency in the process, or even just ensuring better institutional memory between Co-Chairs. As we have done between successive Offices of the President of the General Assembly.

These small changes could help our process in the long run.


Ahead of the UN’s 75th anniversary, we all understand the gravity of this topic. Both of the monumental change it could bring about, but also the risks for the United Nations if we do not succeed.

We know African countries- among others- cannot be kept in the waiting room forever.

It is in the best interest of the Security Council that the continent is ensured equitable representation.

That includes permanent representation.

The Nordic Countries stand ready for a constructive dialogue this session, with all Member States and groups of States. And we will lend every effort to support the Co-Chairs towards continued progress this session.  

Thank you.