Thursday, 12 December 2013
April 8, 2009, UNITED NATIONS (NEW YORK): – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today called for the "representational and democratic deficit" of the Security Council to be addressed through an expansion of the Council's membership and a revision of its working methods.
Speaking at the latest Informal Plenary of intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council Reform, which was devoted to discussing the possible size of an expanded Council and the body's working methods, Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves endorsed the proposals of the African Union, which calls for, among other things, two permanent seats on the Security Council for African States.
"We support the legitimate and entirely appropriate aspirations of the African Group," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "Further, we are of the view that any expansion of the Security Council must include distinct and dedicated representation of Small Island Developing States." The Vincentian Ambassador recalled his March 24th statement at the ongoing negotiations, which made a detailed case for representation of Small Island Developing States.
Addressing the concerns of States that suggested an expansion of the Council would decrease its legitimacy, Ambassador Gonsalves reminded the negotiators that it was first necessary to establish a representative body, whose efficiency could then be addressed through modifications to its working methods.
"The object of this reform exercise is not simply to make the trains run on time, as it were," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "It is to restore the legitimacy, and thus the effectiveness, of the Security Council through improvements to its transparency, inclusivity and representative capacity."
"United States President Harry Truman once remarked that 'whenever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.' Similarly, the often self-serving arguments that small size is synonymous with efficiency mask a desire to merely maintain the concentration of power in the hands of the few. The 'smaller is better' logic is one that I am certain would be rejected if applied to the 535 members of the United States Congress, or the 618 representatives of the Federal Assembly of Russia, or the 920 members of the bicameral French Parliament, or the 1,388 Lords and Commoners in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or the 2,987 members of the National People's Congress of China."
"At its illogical extreme, I have no doubt that the Security Council would be more efficient if it had but a single permanent member," said the Ambassador. "But it would be wholly ineffective, because it would be an illegitimate body. The Council's legitimacy and effectiveness will spring from a membership reflecting the diversity of the world's peoples and perspectives."
Addressing the issue of working methods, Ambassador Gonsalves endorsed detailed proposals made by Singapore and the Philippines, among others, to increase the efficiency, transparency and accessibility of the Security Council. "The efficiency of the Council... will be governed not by its small size but by these improvements to its working methods," said the Ambassador.
Ambassador Gonsalves' most recent statement marks the 12th Vincentian intervention on the issue since April 2008. Ambassador Gonsalves also discussed the issue extensively in a November 19, 2008 Statement on the Report of the Security Council (.pdf | " target="_blank">YouTube Video).