Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN, at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, 6 February 2017
I would like to start by saying that Estonia values greatly your leadership in guiding the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform (IGN) during the 71st session of the General Assembly.
The IGN should remain a process driven by the Member States, based on interactive engagement and exchange of views and guided by the spirit of flexibility and compromise. Our meeting held today and all the forthcoming meetings during the process are valuable for helping us to move towards consensus. I also hope that during this session we are able to build on the achievements of the previous sessions, especially on the “elements of convergence”, which arose from the Intergovernmental Negotiations during the last session.
The United Nations has to be fit for purpose and Security Council reform should help to make the UN more credible and stronger. When we take into account the number of crises in the world today and when we analyze Security Council's capacity and readiness to adequately respond to these challenges then it is obvious that the Council has not always lived up to its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Unfortunately, we have had to witness, on numerous occasions, how some members of the Council have used or threatened to use the veto, and by doing so, have left the Council paralyzed and unable to act in situations where action is needed the most.
This brings me to the most important issue for Estonia in the Security Council reform process. Estonia has expressed before and continues to highlight its position, that permanent members of the Security Council should voluntarily and collectively commit themselves to not using their veto to block Council action aimed at preventing or ending situations involving mass atrocity crimes.
As a member of the ACT group, Estonia also supports the code of conduct calling for all members of the Council not to vote against credible Security Council resolutions that are aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. We welcome the wide support expressed by 112 Member States for the code of conduct and hopefully more countries will be lending their support to the code.
Launch of the code is of course an important step but we have to keep in mind that the main task is its implementation by the members of the Security Council. The implementation of the code sends a strong and clear message that there is no impunity. This is also a possible deterrence for those who might commit future crimes.
Estonia has also reiterated its support to the initiative by France and Mexico to regulate the use of the veto in the case of the most serious crimes as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
We believe these two initiatives are complementary and share a common goal. Where national or regional mechanisms fail to protect the people, decisive and timely Security Council action is crucial to prevent or stop these crimes. Perpetrators must always be held accountable.
Let me also highlight a second set of issues very important to Estonia. It is essential that the Security Council is involved in the maintenance of peace and sustainable development in all parts of the world. Estonia believes that in order to better accomplish this aim, stronger voice of small nations in the Council is absolutely vital. We believe that every country, small or big, should have the opportunity to be represented on the Council. So in this regard we hope that for example small Member States and especially Small Island Developing States will be adequately and continuously represented in the Security Council in the closest future.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you distinguished co-chairs once again for your leadership in this process and I encourage all Member States to engage constructively in the IGN to continue moving the reform process forward.
I thank you.