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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

UAE ambassador to lead UN Security Council reform

UN reform is a perennial topic but powerful states are reluctant to change the status quo

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh has been the UAE's permanent representative to the UN since September 2013. Getty Images
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh has been the UAE's permanent representative to the UN since September 2013. Getty Images

The UAE's permanent representative to the United Nations Lana Zaki Nusseibeh has been reconfirmed in her role at the head of efforts to reform the UN Security Council.

Ambassador Nusseibeh's appointment as a co-chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on UN Security Council reform (IGN) was announced by the president of the General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, who in a statement said more equitable representation remained essential as past efforts had not achieved enough.

So far, we have not been able to reach agreements about the reform of this body that is essential to the United Nations and to the multilateral system,” she said.

Amb Nusseibeh welcomed her reappointment. “As the principal body charged with maintaining international peace and security, the Security Council plays a crucial role in the organisation’s efforts to address the global challenges of today. Its effectiveness is often tied to the wider success and credibility of the UN as a whole, and to the future of multilateralism and a rules-based order,” she said.

Confirming Amb Nusseibeh's role, Ms Espinosa Garces added in a tweet that it was one of her “greatest responsibilities to appoint co-facilitators for GA processes.”

"The reform of the council is very important, not only for member states, but to United Nations system as a whole," said Ms Espinosa Garces.

Amb Nusseibeh will be joined in her role by Christian Braun, Luxembourg's permanent representative to the UN.

Amb Nusseibeh has been the UAE's permanent representative to the UN since presenting her credentials in New York in September 2013.

She served as vice-president of the General Assembly in the last session and was also president of the UN Women Executive Board in 2017.

Reform of the United Nations is a frequently raised topic, with the US administration of President Donald Trump particularly critical of the global institution.

Think tanks and many policymakers say the UN requires renewal but proposals often run into difficulty because changes to the current order often have political consequences, with leading states potentially losing power if they give up key positions to other nations.

The IGN was founded in 2008 and focuses on five key issues including: categories of membership in the Security Council; the veto held by permanent members; whether to enlarge the Security Council and how that might work; and the Security Council's relationship to the General Assembly.

"The co-chairs will continue work to with member states to advance the current IGN process, with the aim of reaching the widest possible consensus," said a press release from the UAE's mission to New York.

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