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Statement by
His Excellency Mr Enele S Sopoaga
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations

General Assembly Debate
Item 11: Report of the Security Council on the “Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council and Related Matters
New York, 13th October 2004


Mr. President,

On behalf of the delegation of Tuvalu, I would like first to thank the Security Council and the Secretariat for the work they have done to prepare the report before us. Tuvalu also appreciates the work of the Security Council in its endeavour to international peace and security over the past years. We acknowledge in particular the support of the Security Council in efforts to restore peace to the people of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea in the Pacific region.

Mr President,

Despite our being new to the UN, we observe with great anxiety the growing challenges and threats confronting the security environment. The international fight against terrorism and alleged weapons of mass destruction, the consequences of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and civil unrest in the Middle East and parts of Africa, have clearly underscored the complex nature of work within the Security Council. It also clearly underscores urgent need for appropriate reforms to be made in the United Nations to ensure a more efficient and responsive Security Council.

Tuvalu therefore welcomes ongoing work on reforming the work of the Security Council as highlighted in the report. The efforts of the President of the 58th Session of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr Julian Hunte, to revitalize the work of the Open-Ended Working Group established to consider aspects of reforms in the Security Council are commendable. However, we feel these efforts will be in vain unless the Open-Ended Working Group is properly enabled to complete its task as required.

Tuvalu supports the importance of wider consultations on security issues through opportunities for public debate in the Security Council, and the work of the Counter Terrorism Committee. Reporting requirements of the latter however should be accompanied with assistance to those with the least capacity to cope such as Tuvalu.


Mr President,

For Tuvalu and many small island developing States, security should be seen in its multi-dimensional nature. Our national security is threatened by environmental degaradation emanating from outside the country. Here I refer specifically to the environmental impacts of climate change and sea level rise and the loss of biological diversity. The impact of climate change has the potential to threaten the survival of our entire nation. Subsequently, we firmly believe, and I am sure I share the sentiments of many vulnerable island countries, that these environmental concerns should be part of the reform agenda of the Security Council. This in essence is widely accepted, including in the Millennium Summit Declaration and elsewhere in the United Nations. It therefore warrants intensifying efforts of all Member States towards comprehensive reform in the Security Council. Indeed, in view of the unique extreme vulnerability to external forces of Tuvalu like many small island developing States, including terrorism and environmental degradation, Tuvalu fully supports this view.

As stated by the Tuvalu Prime Minister during the General Debate of this session it is our strong belief that to maintain its legitimacy and relevance to ALL, the United Nations needs to reassess its roles, and its functions so as to better reflect the reality of today’s world to ensure equitable participation and representation in its main bodies.

Mr. President,

It must be emphasized that the primary role and responsibility of the Security Council with respect to the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security is crucial to everyone. To the weak and vulnerable Member States like Tuvalu, it is critical to ensuring our very survival.

In this respect, the issue of enlarging the membership of the Council is vital. With the expansion of the United Nations to 191 Members, and with the membership of the Security Council which has only increased once in 1965 from 11 to 15, Tuvalu shares the view that the restructuring of the Security Council should first and foremost address this issue of membership in the Council, consistent with the principles of democracy, transparency, and also to bring about equitable representation of all regions on the globe, particularly the developing countries and small island developing States, in this vital organ of the UN.

In this vein, Tuvalu supports the expansion in number of both the permanent and the non-permanent seats in the Security Council and we believe Japan deserves a permanent seat in view of its substantial contribution towards international development and peace and security. We also believe Germany, India, and Brazil are also very appropriate candidates for similar considerations.

Finally but most importantly, Mr President, we firmly believe that in view of their extreme vulnerability to external forces as recognized as a ‘Special Case’ in the Rio Summit and all other international development agreements, small island developing States should also be considered for permanent representation in the Security Council. This will truly make the Security Council and the United Nations universal and democratic.

Thank you


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