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Sixty-eighth session

Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization (Agenda item 84)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/68/100)

The item entitled “Need to consider suggestions regarding the review of the Charter of the United Nations” was included in the agenda of the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly, in 1969, at the request of Colombia (A/7659).

At its twenty-ninth session, the General Assembly decided to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on the Charter of the United Nations to consider any specific proposals that Governments might make with a view to enhancing the ability of the United Nations to achieve its purposes, as well as other suggestions for the more effective functioning of the United Nations that might not require amendments to the Charter (resolution 3349 (XXIX)).

Meanwhile, another item, entitled “Strengthening of the role of the United Nations with regard to the maintenance and consolidation of international peace and security, the development of cooperation among all nations and the promotion of the rules of international law in relations between States”, was included in the agenda of the twenty-seventh session of the General Assembly at the request of Romania (A/8792).

At its thirtieth session, the General Assembly decided to reconvene the Ad Hoc Committee as the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization to examine suggestions and proposals regarding the Charter and the strengthening of the role of the United Nations with regard to the maintenance and consolidation of international peace and security, the development of cooperation among all nations and the promotion of the rules of international law (resolution 3499 (XXX)).

Since its thirtieth session, the General Assembly has considered the report of the Special Committee every year (resolutions 31/28, 32/45, 33/94, 34/147, 35/164, 36/123, 37/114, 38/141, 39/88, 40/78, 41/83, 42/157, 43/170, 44/37, 45/44, 46/58, 47/38, 48/36, 49/58, 50/52, 51/209, 52/161, 53/106, 54/106, 55/156, 56/86, 57/24, 58/248, 59/44, 60/23, 61/38, 62/69, 63/127, 64/115, 65/31, and 66/101).

At its sixty-seventh session, the General Assembly requested the Special Committee, at its session in 2013, to continue its consideration of all proposals concerning the question of the maintenance of international peace and security in all its aspects in order to strengthen the role of the United Nations, to continue to consider, in an appropriate substantive manner and framework, the question of the implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under Chapter VII of the Charter based on all of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the proposals submitted on the question, and to continue to consider, on a priority basis, ways and means of improving its working methods and enhancing its efficiency with a view to identifying widely acceptable measures for future implementation; and requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly at its sixty-eighth session a report on both the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and theRepertoire of the Practice of the Security Council and a report on the implementation of the provisions of the Charter related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions (resolution 67/96).

At the same session, the General Assembly, recalling that the Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes was the first instrument adopted by the Assembly as a result of the work of the Special Committee, welcomed the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration (resolution 67/95).

The Special Committee met at United Nations Headquarters from 19 to 27 February 2013 (A/68/33).

Consideration at the sixty-eighth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 8th, 9th, 28th and 29th meetings, on 11 and 14 October and on 8 and 15 November 2013 (see A/C.6/68/SR.8, 9, 28 and 29).

At the 8th meeting, on 11 October, the Chair of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization introduced the report of the Special Committee (A/68/33). At the same meeting, the Director of the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs made a statement on the status of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, and the Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch of the Department of Political Affairs made a statement on the status of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council.

Statements were made by the representatives of Iran (Islamic Republic of) (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)), Cuba (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), Egypt (on behalf of the African Group) and the European Union (EU).

In the context of the maintenance of international peace and security, concern with regard to the imposition of sanctions was expressed by a number of delegations. They pointed out that sanctions should be implemented in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations and stressed the need to minimize the adverse humanitarian effects of sanctions. Several delegations were also of the view that the objectives of sanctions regimes should be clearly defined, based on tenable legal grounds, imposed for a specified time frame, with the conditions on which the sanctions are imposed clearly defined and subject to periodic review. Several delegations also noted the importance of considering the issue of compensation.

With regard to the implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations relating to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under Chapter VII, a number of delegations expressed the view that it was necessary to continue to consider the topic. Several other delegations reiterated their view that the topic should be removed from the agenda since the application of targeted sanctions in recent years had minimized the possibility of adverse consequences for civilian population.

A number of delegations continued to express interest in the proposal submitted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to establish an open-ended working group to study the proper implementation of the Charter of the United Nations with respect to the functional relationship of its organs. Continuing interest was also expressed for the revised proposal submitted by Libya with a view to strengthening the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security.

A number of delegations welcomed the progress made by the Secretariat in the preparation of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, in particular the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat in order to reduce the backlog of those publications and make them available on the Internet.

On the issue of the identification of new subjects, reference was made to the proposal of Ghana for the inclusion of a new subject on principles and practical measures/mechanisms for strengthening and ensuring more effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations on matters relating to international peace and security in areas of conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding and peacekeeping.

Several delegations called for the improvement of the working methods of the Special Committee. In particular, several delegations spoke in favor of reviewing all agenda items to consider the usefulness of further discussing them, before examining new proposals and supported reexamining the duration and the frequency of the sessions of the Special Committee.

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 28th meeting, on 8 November, the representative of Egypt, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization” (A/C.6/68/L.18).

At its 29th meeting, on 15 November, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/68/L.18 without a vote.

By the terms of draft resolution A/C.6/68/L.18, the Assembly would, inter alia, request the Special Committee to continue its consideration of all proposals concerning the question of the maintenance of international peace and security and of the question of the implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions, including the frequency of its consideration, and to continue to consider, on a priority basis, ways and means of improving the Committee’s working methods and enhancing its efficiency.

This agenda item was subsequently considered at the sixty-ninth session (2014).