Global Policy Forum

Republic of the Philippines: Press Release by the Mission to the UN (June 11, 2009)

June 11, 2009

Saying there should be no turning back, the Philippines today urged the United Nations to take more concrete steps on the issue of Security Council reforms by putting forward a draft of a proposed resolution increasing the membership of what is considered to be the most powerful organ of the world body.

In his intervention during the 21st informal meeting this morning of the General Assembly on the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council Reforms, Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the time has come to move the process forward.

"In light of the endless discussions and debates on these key issues, began as early as after the 1965 increase in the membership of the Security Council, the time has come to resist the temptation to retrace backward the path we had taken," Ambassador Davide said in his statement.

"Thus, the only way forward is not to go back again and repeat, for the nth time, all such proposals. Rehashing them would not do us any good," the Ambassador said. "The only way forward is now to give these proposals a life all their own by way of the appropriate resolution proposing amendments to Article 23 of the United Nations Charter."

The former Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court went further by presenting the text of a draft resolution that would amend the UN Charter and expand the membership of the Security Council from the present 15 member-states to 31.

The Davide proposal is different from previous proposals to increase the membership of the Security Council. In March 2005, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed the expansion of the Security Council to 24 members in his plan referred to as "In Larger Freedom." Another proposal made a month later by a group of countries called "Uniting for Consesus" called for an increase in the number of elected members to 20.

The amendments being proposed in the draft resolution will increase the number of permanent members from the present five to 13 and the elected members from 10 to 18. Based on the Davide proposal, the new permanent members shall be composed of two each for Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean and one each for Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Other States.

The first new permanent members shall serve for a term of five years after which the regional groups shall decide among themselves which member states in their groups shall succeed the retiring member and which shall enjoy full permanent status. Should any group be unable to do so, the successor will serve for a term of five years, which shall be the scheme until the region shall have decided on the member state in the region that would serve as full permanent member.

The Davide formula also called for the election of non-permanent members for a term of two years. The additional eight elected members shall be composed of two each for Africa, Asia and Latin America and Caribbean and one each for Eastern Europe and Western Europe and Other States.

According to the draft of the proposed resolution, the first election of the non-permanent members after the increase of the membership of the Security Council shall be held simultaneously with the elections of the rest immediately following the ratification of the amendments. A retiring non-member shall not be eligible for immediate re-election.

The draft also called on regional groups to ensure that the additional seats for elected members allotted to them shall be fairly, justly and equitably rotated among member-states in each group. The draft also called upon all Member States to ratify the above amendments in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by the first day of September 2011.

In presenting his proposal, Ambassador Davide recalled General Assembly Resolution 47/62 approved on 11 December 1992, where Member States made it clear that a reform of the Security Council was necessary and that not only the number of non-permanent members should increase but that there also be new permanent seats.

He said that because of the responses of Member-States, the General Assembly established 3 December 1993, through GA resolution A/RES/48/26, the Open-Ended Working Group on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Other Matters Related to the Security Council.

"We know, of course, that the Open-Ended Working Group had already submitted many reports and recommendations and an overwhelming number of us had attended its meetings in the 61st and 62nd sessions of the General Assembly," Ambassador Davide said.

"Specific and concrete proposals on the increase in the membership in the Security Council relating to size, categories of membership, regional representation, etc. are all now on record," he said, adding that these were all reiterated, or amplified or supplemented in the post 19 February 2009 informal meetings of the plenary on intergovernmental negotiations.

The Philippines elaborated in its intervention at the 10th informal meeting of the plenary on 24 March 2009 its own proposals on increases of membership in both categories and on the issue of equitable or balanced regional representation, which were contained in its communications to the President of the GA and to the Permanent Missions dated 14 and 16 February 2009, respectively.

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