Press Trust of IndiaUnited Nations
UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa has expressed hope that the reform of the Security Council would gain traction this year, saying without a strong political will, progress will be difficult.
Espinosa, Ecuador's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in June elected president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, becoming only the fourth female president of the organisation in its 73-year history.
For long, India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany and Japan. The four countries support each others' bids for the permanent seats in the top UN body.
On the long-pending reform of the UNSC, Espinosa said it is very much a member states-driven process.
The "positive side of the story" is that the reform of the three key areas of the United Nations - management, peace and security and development system - commenced at the start of this year, she told PTI.
"This is really due to the commitment of the member states that we were able to agree on a budget and it is happening on the ground so it's a great opportunity to do business better in the organisation," Espinosa said.
"My hope is that the process would gain traction and we will have some progress during this year... it's not that I don't have the responsibility to lead the process but it's out there in the hands of the member states. I will be following, guiding and leading but the truth is that it's in the hands of the member states themselves," she said.
Espinosa noted that there is a strong public opinion across the world that people are waiting for concrete results in the Security Council reform process after 10 years of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations.
"We are working on an agenda and timeline for meetings, let's hope that the conversations and the negotiations really have progress this year.
"Now it is about time that we come up with something meaningful but it's not up to me but up to the member states and I'll be pushing for this," she said.
Espinosa previously said the UNSC reform process has been going on for 25 years and the Inter-Governmental Negotiations was created 10 years ago, recalling that she was present as her country's ambassador when the resolution was adopted.
Some movement has taken place over the last decade and member states have a lot of information available to move the process forward, she said.
"We have a lot of material to draw from. There has been lot of progress and big wealth of information in these 10 years and we have to acknowledge that.
"(The reform process) requires very strong political decisions and political will, without that it's going to be difficult to have a progress," Espinosa said.
India has been at the forefront of efforts to push for Security Council reforms, maintaining that it rightly deserves a permanent seat at a reformed and expanded council.
India has asserted that the UN needs to be adapted to the contemporary needs of the 21st century and for this reforming the Security Council is critical.
A majority of members feel that the reform should include expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership to enhance its legitimacy, effectiveness and representativeness.
The General Assembly President emphasised that revitalising the UN to "strengthen a multilateral rule-based world order" tops her list of priorities for the year.