India along with the other G-4 nations today strongly criticised the "very frustrating" developments in the UN Security Council reform process this year, expressing their displeasure and disappointment at the lack of transparency in negotiations, even as the General Assembly President expressed satisfaction over movement made in reforming the most powerful UN body.
The 193-member UN General Assembly this week unanimously adopted an oral decision deciding to continue informal Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) on Security Council reform during its 74th session, beginning in September.
In doing so, the Assembly recognised that forthcoming negotiations on UNSC reform would build on the five informal meetings held during its 73rd session, on revised elements of commonality and issues for further consideration and on proposals made by member states.
However, UN member states raised concerns about the negotiating process moving into its 10th year with little progress and underlined the urgency of reforming the organisation's main organ charged with maintaining international peace and security.
Addressing reporters on Thursday, General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa acknowledged that progress in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations was "extremely difficult, contentious, complicated" because of the different groups, their views and different interests but added she is "very satisfied" with the outcome.
The G-4 bloc of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan however strongly criticised the conduct of the work of IGN in this session, saying it was "perhaps symptomatic of all that is wrong with this process".
"We have discussed within the IGN for 10 years now and have not witnessed any tangible progress. Very frustrating developments seen in this session make it even more difficult for the G4 to accept business as usual. The IGN started one decade ago and it still has to fulfil its goal to kick start real negotiations," the group said.
It added that the outcome document was presented late in the process and member states had only one round of discussions to consider it.
The four-nation grouping said it had made it clear from the outset that the document should be presented much earlier to facilitate more focused and results-oriented discussions.
"Since that did not happen, the least we could ask for was additional meetings. Regrettably, none of those requests were heeded," they said.
The group asserted it is simple logic that if the IGN are in fact a member states-driven process, those same member states should be afforded the opportunity to debate and convey their views on the document presented by the co-chairs.
It lamented that G-4's proposals for the outcome document were not duly incorporated in the final outcome while proposals that were hardly discussed were included in the document.
During the press conference, answering a question on how she saw the advances made in the IGN process under her presidency, Ms Espinosa reiterated that Security Council reform is one of the most contentious and divisive issues in the General Assembly and the task of the GA President is to try and find a common denominator and ensure that the process is inclusive and transparent.
"This is very much a member states-driven process so I have performed my role as to be a bridge, a consensus builder among the very different positions," she said.
Ms Espinosa said that "at the end of the day I think I'm very satisfied with the outcome because now that we have decided on the roll over decision, I can say that this has to be an incremental process. This is has to enjoy the widest possible agreement among member states."
She said under her presidency, the IGN process has been streamlined and only two documents - this year's revised paper as well as the framework document - have been rolled over to the next session, unlike previous years.
"Even if several countries were unhappy, but in multilateralism if you have everybody equally unhappy (it means) that you have succeeded ... I say this with humility but it's a pretty good material for the incoming President to take over the process next year."
The G-4 said that while the end result of the current session was "far from satisfactory" and not even close to what it had hoped for at the outset, the change in the roll over reflects the need for change in the IGN.
The G-4 emphasised that as the United Nations approaches its 75th anniversary, member states must urgently move towards a different type of process, with a renewed sense of urgency.
Outlining G-4's views on how the future process could be improved, the group said the IGN meetings should start earlier and should take place in an open and transparent manner.
"If there are still divergences among member states, it is beyond our understanding why we should work less. On the contrary: we must work more and more efficiently."
There is also a need for early appointment of co-chairs, so that the organization of future meetings can happen as soon as possible and the discussions should be more focused and result-oriented.
"If our aim is to bridge our differences, there is no point in holding general debates as it has happened in the past 10 years. This preliminary work has been exhausted. We now need real negotiations, real give- and-take, in order to reach a workable text that can move us ahead in the process. Instead of repeating ourselves, let's sit down and discuss concrete proposals," they said.
The G-4 also emphasized that it is high time to have a more open and transparent process.
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