Statement on behalf of Latvia by Elvira Cupika-Mavrina, Legal advisor of Latvia to the United Nations at the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform
New York, 4 May 2023

Honorable Co-Chairs,

I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Co-Chairs – Permanent Representatives of Austria and Kuwait - for conveying this meeting and leading the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Security Council reform. Latvia welcomes your efforts to make these discussions more transparent by webcasting and recordkeeping. Please count on our continuous engagement and support.
In order to move forward it is imperative that we remind ourselves of the core principles of the United Nations and the promises that were made back in 1945:

We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to regain faith in fundamental human rights.

The issues that the world is facing today demands an effective Security Council that adequately responds to all security challenges and protects the core values that are vested in the UN Charter. We need the Security Council that lives up to its responsibility to protect and promote peace, justice, human rights, rules-based order and equality among nations.

All that we currently have is a Security Council that is deadlocked as a permanent member continues its unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against a fellow UN member state – Ukraine. With each atrocity crime committed in Ukraine, Russia continues to blatantly violate core values embodied in the UN Charter. In fact, Russia’s forced deportation of children from Ukraine is the most documented crime committed by the Russian leadership, since officials have on multiple occasions proudly admitted that they deported children from Ukraine to Russia. We believe that the principled position regarding the crime of aggression must be considered as a moral, political and legal compass for the permanent and elected members of the Security Council.

Latvia regrets the lack of progress made in the reform of the Security Council. We advocate for a meaningful and results-oriented reform in pursuit of a strengthened United Nations, increased ownership of the Council’s work and its accountability to Member States.
The current composition of the Security Council does not reflect the realities of the 21st century. The world has changed significantly since the UN was founded in 1945, and the Council’s structure needs to reflect these changes.
Latvia believes that it is important for all regions of the world to have the opportunity to voice their opinions and contribute to the discussions and decisions of the Security Council. Thus, there is a clear need for increased membership of the Security Council based upon equitable representation.

Africa, Latin America and Small Island Developing States are diverse regions with important perspectives on global issues such as human rights, disarmament, nonproliferation, climate change and other important peace and security related topics. Likewise, we see a merit in the allocation of additional elected membership to the Eastern European Group.
Further on, while the veto is an important tool, it’s been used increasingly to block progress on situations where action is needed the most. In this context, we believe that the use of veto or a threat to use it cannot be justified in the case of aggression and annexation of a territory of another UN member state.

We commend the Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity, launched by France and Mexico in 2015.
Furthermore, we support the Code of Conduct of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency group, which urges all members of the Council to not vote against UNSC resolutions that are aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. We believe that the abovementioned initiatives provide necessary impulses for a change in Council’s working methods to increase accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. We call on all UN Member States to join this pledge.

Likewise, we strongly support the veto initiative adopted by the General Assembly last year upon the proposal by Liechtenstein. There should be no excuses for not fulfilling the latter commitments to safeguard civilians and strengthen the Council's moral standing.
Lastly, we firmly believe that no matter the size, all countries can have an impact in the Security Council. We are strongly committed to further prove that the Latvia can positively contribute to solving global challenges.

Latvia would like to reiterate its call to start the text-based negotiations without any hesitation. Text based negotiations would allow us to identify areas of agreement and disagreement, to explore different options and proposals, and to move towards a consensus on a final outcome. We must ensure that the process is inclusive and transparent, with all member states. They must be conducted in good faith and with a spirit of cooperation.

As an ACT member, Latvia stands ready to continue its work towards accountability, legitimacy and transparency by enhancing the working methods. Therefore, in 2025 Latvia as a member of the EEG group will run for the elections to the Security Council which reflects our readiness to contribute to international peace and security, protect the rules-based international order and advance effective multilateralism.

Thank you!