25 Nov 2019

Madam President


1                  I would like to start by thanking the Co-Chairs of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process during the 73rd session, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates and Ambassador Christian Braun of Luxembourg, for their leadership of the IGN process. 



2                  At the General Debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly, almost all our leaders spoke eloquently about the need to strengthen multilateralism and the United Nations.  A strong rules-based multilateral system requires an effective, efficient and responsive United Nations.  Reform will be critical if the United Nations is to respond effectively to the complex challenges of the 21st century.  In particular, reform of the Security Council is necessary to make the United Nations effective, efficient and responsive. The international community needs a Security Council that is able to act swiftly and decisively when confronted with global crises.  Our discussions on Security Council reform are therefore a very important part of strengthening the multilateral rules-based system. The IGN process is important and essential in order to strengthen the Security Council and the multilateral system. 



3                 Singapore has reiterated its position on Security Council reform many times here in the General Assembly.  In our view, reform of the Security Council is necessary to ensure that it is accountable and credible and enjoys legitimacy.     In order to enhance the credibility and legitimacy of the Security Council, the composition of the Council must reflect contemporary realities and the diversity among Member States that exists today. There must be greater geographical representation and inclusivity in the Council, especially from under-represented regions such as Africa. Singapore has consistently supported the expansion in membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.  In addition, we support the need to enhance opportunities for the representation of small states and Small Island Developing States in the Security Council.  In any reform exercise, small states should not be disadvantaged or further marginalised. The IGN process cannot be an exercise in accommodating only the interests of the larger countries and the medium-size countries.   We also have to take into account the interests of small states and small island developing states.



4                 Mr President, we will soon begin the twelfth year of discussions on Security Council reform under the IGN process.  My delegation hopes that this is the year where we will see some tangible progress.  I have often asked this question at the General Assembly.  And the question is this:  Is the IGN a vehicle for reform, or is it a vehicle to maintain the status quo?  Does the IGN process help or hinder the process of Security Council reform? If the IGN process is to be taken seriously, then it has to deliver tangible progress.  And we here have to inject greater urgency in our work to ensure that the IGN process delivers concrete progress this year.



Madam President


5                 My delegation has always taken a pragmatic approach to the issue of Security Council reform. In this regard, please allow me to make a few points.   



6                 First, Member States must acknowledge and build on the work done and the progress made over the past few years. We have to expand the areas that enjoy convergence and find solutions for areas of differences. We believe that the Revised Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Consideration is a good basis for our work this year. We have to listen to all views and ensure that all options remain on the table.  Singapore’s long-standing view has been that if the IGN is to deliver some progress, then there has to come a point in the process when Member States engage in text-based negotiations.  We believe that text-based negotiations can help to identify differences and also help to find ways to bridge the differences and build convergence.



7                 The second point that I wanted to make is that we must build confidence and increase the level of trust in the way delegations engage each other on this issue, whether it is through the IGN process through more informal discussions. Any reform of the Security Council will require a strong foundation of trust, understanding and convergence in order to be successful.  Ultimately, our goal is to strengthen the multilateral system.  I would encourage the President of the General Assembly to convene informal discussions among the key delegations as a way of building understanding on the key outstanding issues.



8                 As we prepare for another year of the IGN process, my delegation hopes that all Member States, and in particular the Permanent Members of the Security Council, will seriously reflect on their role and responsibility with regard to the reform of the Security Council.  By virtue of their privileged position, the Permanent Members have a special responsibility to provide leadership in the reform process.  Ultimately, any reform of the Security Council will enhance the legitimacy of the Council and thereby the legitimacy also of the Permanent Members.



9                 The third and final point that I would like to make is that there has been some progress on Security Council working methods and this effort needs to be intensified. We welcome steps taken to improve the Council’s transparency, efficiency and engagement with non-Members.  We also commend the work that has been done by the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions in addressing the working methods of the Council in the past several years and most recently under the chairmanship of Kuwait.  We look forward to seeing sustained momentum on this issue by the IWG next year.  In addition, Council Members must make serious efforts to implement Presidential Note 507, including with regard to the timely submission of the annual report of the Security Council to the General Assembly and of the monthly assessment reports of Council Presidencies.  These reports are an important part of ensuring the transparency, accountability and legitimacy of the Security Council, and should be taken seriously by all Council members.    



10      Let me conclude by saying that Singapore looks forward to working actively with all delegations in the IGN process.



11      I thank you very much for your attention.


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