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Statement by Mr. Gert Auväärt at the GA plenary meeting on agenda item 124 "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council", 20 November 2018

20.11.2018

Statement by Mr. Gert Auväärt, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the General Assembly plenary meeting on agenda item 124 "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council ", 20 November 2018

Madam President,
 
At the outset, allow me to thank you for convening today’s debate on this crucial topic. We are all convinced that the United Nations has to be fit for purpose and the Security Council reform should help to make the UN more credible and stronger. Security Council needs to have the capacity and readiness to adequately respond to all the challenges in the world and live up to its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. But unfortunately this has not always been the case.
 
I would like to thank the Permanent Representatives of Georgia and United Arab Emirates for their hard work leading the Intergovernmental Negotiations at the last session and wish the very best for the Permanent Representatives of United Arab Emirates and Luxembourg in their endeavors during the 73nd session.

Madam President,

Concerning the most important issues for Estonia in the Security Council reform process. We have had to witness, on numerous occasions, how some members of the Council have used or threatened to use the veto leaving the Council paralyzed and unable to react to situations where action is needed the most. 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 117 Member States for the code of conduct. Hopefully more countries will be lending their support to the code in the closest future. Estonia has also reiterated its support to the initiative by France and Mexico on the use of veto. We believe that these two initiatives are complementary and share a common goal. 
 
Let me also highlight another issue important to Estonia regarding the expansion of the Security Council. United Nations must adapt to the realities of current times. Estonia believes that every country, small or big, should have the opportunity to be represented on the Council but a stronger voice of small nations, especially the Small Island Developing States, is absolutely vital. In addition we fully empathize with African common position, which would increase representativeness and legitimacy of the UN as a whole and is the only way to rectify the historical injustice endured by the African continent with regards to the composition of the Security Council.

When considering the relevance of the work of the Security Council we should reflect on the agendas and substantial matters discussed in the SC meetings. The notion of peace and security is expanding, there are new challenges which can severely hinder global peace and security and which therefore should be debated in the Security Council. For example climate change and cyber security are two clear examples of such challenges of growing importance and urgency.
 
Finally, let me emphasize that small steps in improving the working methods of the Security Council can bring along a much wider positive effect. Estonia would like to see greater accountability, coherence, and transparency of the Council’s activities through increased inclusiveness and targeted action. These principles are key in governing our state. We consciously apply them, as we believe they will make our governance more effective, but also better understood by people. We believe that the same principles would have a larger effect at the regional or global level and therefore should be cherished and used by different international organizations, including the United Nations. The Security Council, as a body representing all the members of the United Nations, could also benefit from these principles.
 
We also need a better communication between the Security Council and the General Assembly. The Security Council should be kept accountable by all the UN member states, by ensuring more transparency in its actions and more cohesiveness in deeds and decisions. It is a shortcoming of the Council that its Rules of Procedure are still provisional. It is very much up to the Council members to make use of the existing procedures and different outreach formats of the Council to achieve a better outcome of their work.
 
In conclusion, Madam President, I would like to reconfirm Estonia’s commitment to engage constructively in the Intergovernmental Negotiations during the 73nd session to continue moving the reform process forward.
 
I thank you.
 

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