Global Policy Forum

Paper on Principles and Procedures for Intergovernmental Negotiations by United for Consensus (UfC)

December 2008



Security Council reform process

Procedures and principles

Pursuant to decision 62/557 of the General Assembly, the Open-Ended Working Group has been mandated to address the framework and modalities in order to prepare and facilitate the intergovernmental negotiations.

This preparatory phase is crucial for launching successful negotiations that will finally advance Security Council reform, as part of the wider UN reform process, aimed at achieving a strengthened and more effective United Nations.
With a view to the above and based on the consultations to be held in the OEWG, we expect the OEWG to evolve a framework which lays down the objectives, guiding principles and the terms under which the intergovernmental negotiations will be conducted in the informal plenary of the General Assembly.

The Chairman of the Working Group will present the results of these consultations to an informal plenary session of the General Assembly, no later than February 1, 2009, for endorsement before commencement of inter-governmental negotiations not later than February 28, 2009.


Objectives and Guiding Principles

The objective is a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects that results in a more democratic, inclusive, equitably representative, transparent, effective and accountable Council.
The objective of decision 62/557 is to achieve a negotiated solution for Security Council reform.

The guiding principles include, inter alia:

• Respect for the sovereign equality of Member States;
• Ensuring equitable geographical distribution;
• Strengthening the democratic underpinnings of the Council to enhance its accountability to the membership; Strengthening the ownership in the reform through the accommodation of interests of all Member States and regional and other groupings, particularly those which have been traditionally under-represented;
• Increasing opportunity for Member States to serve on the Security Council, particularly for groups which have been traditionally under-represented, such as small and medium States, and Africa;


Terms of Negotiations

In order to ensure the legitimacy and success of this reform in the long term, the terms of intergovernmental negotiations process should be based inter alia on the following:

• An open, inclusive and transparent process guided by objectivity and impartiality in full trust of the entire membership;
• Clear rules and procedures to guarantee a fair and level playing field for all;
• All discussions are open to all Member States;
• Rules based on the general practice in the informal plenary of the General Assembly: i) no record of the meetings; ii) no formal decision is taken; iii) no vote; will be applicable;
• Setting of the agenda for the negotiations, in particular sequencing;
• All aspects of Security Council reform are open for negotiations;
• The principle that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed";
• No artificial deadlines;
• The commitment of good faith and mutual respect by all sides, who shall refrain from: i) unilateral or pre-emptive moves including tabling of draft resolutions; and ii) calls for vote, at any stage of the negotiations process;
• The negotiated solution has to elicit widest possible political acceptance by member states, well above the two-third majority;
• Mechanism for formalizing any conclusions, results or the status of the negotiations, in order to ensure continuity of the process. Utilize in this context, the relationship and interaction between the processes in the Open-Ended Working Group and the informal plenary of the General Assembly, taking into account the provisions of Decision 62/557.


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