|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6300th Meeting (AM & PM)
In Review of Working Methods, Security Council Urged to Enhance Transparency,
While Ensuring Effectiveness, Efficiency; Avoid Pursuit of National Agendas
The Security Council must continue to improve its openness to non-Council Member States, temporary members and the general public while ensuring its ability to act effectively and efficiently, speakers said in a day-long debate on the body’s working methods, in its chambers today.
The debate, which included 53 speakers, was the third ever held on the subject, for which Japan, which holds the Council Presidency for this month, had taken the lead. Japan’s concept paper for the debate calls for a review of the implementation of previously-agreed measures and for additional proposals on improving transparency, interactions with non-members and efficiency of the body (see Background).
“Effectiveness is by no means opposed to openness, quite the contrary,” France’s representative said, noting that wide interaction was essential to formulate Council actions and to effect their implementation, a point pressed by many speakers today. He noted, in that light, that more timely and more substantive interaction had already begun with countries that contributed troops or police to peacekeeping efforts.
Along with other representatives of the five permanent members, he noted further improvements in openness that had already been made. He said that such a trend should continue as long as the balance was maintained between public and private meetings -- and transparency and effectiveness -- within a flexible approach that suited each situation and without the need for codification of such an approach. He noted an increasing amount of open debates on a wider range of subjects. The representative of the United States added that today’s debate alone included some 20 per cent of the total United Nations membership.
Most representatives of non-Council members and elected members acknowledged and even praised progress that had been made in transparency and openness of the Council, but stressed that more needed to be done. Speaking on behalf of the African Group, Sierra Leone’s representative called for a more accessible, democratic, representative, accountable and effective Security Council, in order to respond to current exigencies.
African Union members, he said, desired a further increase in the number of both meetings in the public view and meetings open to wider participation, enhanced relationships with troop-contributing countries, stricter respect for the United Nations Charter, avoidance of using the Council to pursue national agendas, and limiting action under binding Chapter VII to the most dangerous situations. They also urged avoiding the use of sanctions for the narrow objectives of a few States and formalizing the rules of the Security Council in order to improve its transparency and accountability.
Many speakers today also called for more participation of elected Council members, including countries that were not part of special interest groupings, in early deliberations on resolutions. They welcomed increased transparency of sanctions committees, particularly when it came to listing and de-listing the targets of such measures. Many called for a greater balance of public and private meetings and some called for more Arria Formula meetings, which allowed the participation of non-governmental organizations and other groups, as well as other innovative meeting formats.
The representative of the Russian Federation welcomed the opportunity to hear the views of the wider United Nations membership on the Council’s working methods, but reminded participants that decisions on the matter could only be taken by Council Members. As for requests for more participation of non-Council members, he maintained that existing opportunities were not being fully utilized; there was low attendance at the meetings that involved troop-contributing countries. In addition, he stressed that it was important to retain a balance between the openness of the Security Council and its ability to be effective.
New Zealand’s representative rejected the notion that the working methods of the Council could only be decided by Council members themselves, because of the impact of Council decisions and their need for legitimacy. In that vein, Australia’s representative said that the basic mindset of the Council should be one of active accountability and deliberate transparency, keeping in mind the need to justify its decisions, to share information, to consult widely and to accept input, not as burdensome or optional extras, but as core elements of its work.
With many speakers urging strong cooperation between the Council and other major United Nations organs, India’s representative urged improvement of the Council’s annual report to the General Assembly –- which continued to be a bland statistical compilation of events, a bland summary and listing of meetings and outcome documents -- to better convey the context and impact of decisions to the general membership of the Organization.
The question of working methods should not be de-linked from the overall reform debate, asserted Germany’s representative, echoing the view of several delegates today. Comprehensive reform of the Council would make it more legitimate, more representative and thus more effective. “To improve working methods without reforming Security Council structures would ultimately create a source of political frustration of the general membership and risk eroding the authority of the Council,” he said.
Several speakers today noted that better focused and more concise statements would allow more countries to participate in open meetings. Towards that goal, Italy’s representative concluded: “In deference to the five-minute rule, an innovation in working methods that we can put into place immediately, I end my statement”.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Turkey, Mexico, China, Austria, United Kingdom, Lebanon, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Uganda, Japan, Liechtenstein (on behalf of the Small 5 Group), Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Luxembourg (on behalf of Benelux countries), Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Slovakia, Jordan, Portugal, South Africa, Slovenia, Peru, Switzerland, Philippines, Canada, Costa Rica, Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, Malta, Iran, Singapore, Ukraine, Colombia, Kenya, Namibia, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Malaysia, Ecuador, Qatar, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and broke for lunch at 1:20 p.m. Resuming at 3:05 p.m., it adjourned at 5:40 p.m.
As the Security Council today considers the implementation of measures regarding its working methods set out in document S/2007/507, it has before it a concept paper distributed by this month’s Council President, the Permanent Representative of Japan (document S/2010/165).
Today’s debate will be based on the Council President’s note of 19 July 2006, which was the result of negotiations in the Council’s Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. The document addresses such issues as agenda, briefings, documentation, informal consultations, meetings, programme of work, resolutions and presidential statements, subsidiary bodies and newly elected members. The issue was last discussed on 27 August 2008 (see Press Release SC/9436).
According to the concept paper, the Council’s working methods are important to meet two, sometimes conflicting, requirements: to make decisions that will ensure prompt and effective action to maintain international peace and security as stipulated in Article 24 of the United Nations Charter; and to gain the support of the wider United Nations membership for such decisions. Although progress had been made in enhancing the efficiency and transparency of the Council’s work, there was room for improvement. The open debate will provide an opportunity for Council members, as well as the general membership, to express their views.
The paper states that the debate should focus on three areas that are of key importance to Council members and non-members alike: transparency; interaction with non-members; and efficiency. Japan will follow-up in the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, of which it serves as Chair.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey), stressing that “the Council belongs to all of us, not only to the 15 but to the entire UN membership”, said that to interact better with that membership, the body should hold more open meetings, as opposed to closed consultations, and have a closer working relationship with troop and police contributing countries, interactive dialogue with countries on the Council’s agenda, a closer relationship with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, regular consultations with regional and subregional organizations and more Arria Formula meetings with the opportunity to listen to the non-member stakeholders and non-governmental organizations.
In the same vein, he said that Council missions could and should be used more effectively in communicating the body’s messages, contacting its interlocutors on the ground and getting better first-hand assessment of the situation. The Presidents of the Council should be given a more systematic role in conveying the gist of closed consultation to non-members and the media, with more leeway allowed to inform the interested parties about the Council’s deliberations. Finally, he stressed that the full membership of the Council should be involved in the body’s work, not only the parties interested in particular agenda items.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that much progress had been made in the working methods of the Council over the past several years, and methodological efforts were ongoing. However, existing opportunities for participation were not being utilized fully by non-members of the Council; there was low attendance at the meetings that involved troop-contributing countries. In addition, he stressed that it was important to retain a balance between the openness of the Security Council and its ability to be effective. He looked forward to hearing the views of the wider membership on the Council’s methods during the day’s debate, but stressed that decisions on the matter at hand could only be taken by Council Members.
GUILLERMO PUENTE ORDORICA ( Mexico) said it was vital that the Working Group on Documentation should continue to make a detailed analysis of the recommendations in document S/2006/507 and update it where needed. Not all recommendations had been implemented and new concerns had arisen. It was necessary to increase the number of open meetings and to ensure that informal consultations were only held when necessary. He questioned, in that regard, the relevance of informal consultations briefings that could be given in open meetings.
He said that, in order to increase effectiveness, the different formats of Council meetings should be codified in a way that the Council could interact with parties to conflict as well as with civil society, such as through Arria Formula meetings. Article 24 of the Charter stipulated that the Council act on behalf of Member States in the maintenance of international peace and security. The Council must continue to find methods to ensure that its decisions were effectively implemented by Member States.
LI BAODONG ( China) said that nowadays, the Council was facing colossal tasks. The Working Group had carried out fruitful work and there had been valuable proposals from non-Council Member States. Further improvement should be sought to make the work of the Council more equal and transparent. The wider views of the Member States should be taken into account, such as through monthly briefings and dialogue with troop-contributing countries, in which Member States could air their views so that the Council was better informed. Participation of Member States should be geared towards achieving practical results, instead of being a mere formality.
He hoped that open meetings would be more results-oriented and that the themes of open meetings should not be too general. The agenda of the Council should be reviewed to make it more up to date. There had been an excessive increase in thematic items. It was also important to improve the timeliness and quality of Council documents. Reports of the Secretary-General should be more targeted and timely to really reflect problems and recommendations, and should be made available in a timely manner in the six languages of the Organization.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING ( Austria) said that priority efforts in improving working methods of the Council should be enhancing transparency and strengthening the relationship with the wider membership and the public at large. The cooperation between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission could be expanded, with the Chairs of all country-specific configurations of the Commission participating in relevant consultations, whether or not they were Council members. He called for more cooperation with regional organizations, as well, and outlined innovations introduced by his country in the Taliban sanctions committee and the tribunals committee, which Austria chaired. Transparency and interaction was important within the Council, as well, and it was important that all members be included in substantive consultations on agenda items, not only members of special interest groups.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said that the guiding principle for improvements should be effectiveness. He welcomed the call for greater transparency and encouraged all presidencies to hold necessary briefings and not let the temporary Council venue impede access to the general public. Sometimes it was necessary to debate issues out of the public eye, but it was important that internal consultations lead to genuine debate. Further strengthening the relationship with troop-contributing countries and the Peacebuilding Commission, as well as interaction with the wider membership in informal meetings, would be valuable as well. He said that Council missions could be better formulated and more frequent briefings by the Secretariat on issues of emerging concern would also be of benefit. He requested that a short list of generally agreed, achievable improvements be drawn up by the working group on working methods for implementation by successive presidencies.
CAROLINE ZIADE ( Lebanon) said the subject of working methods was an integral part of Council reform. Enhancing transparency was necessary, as it was the window through which non-Council Member States could be informed. She proposed an increase in the number of open sessions, as compared to closed consultations. Arria Formula meetings and informal interactive sessions should be increased in order to enhance open-door diplomacy. Statements during open sessions should be shorter and focus on concrete results. She welcomed the participation of regional and subregional organizations in open meetings and called for an increase in the interaction between the Council and the chairs of other international and regional organizations, especially with the Peacebuilding Commission.
She said that the informal meetings with troop-contributing countries should also include host States. Briefings by representatives of the Secretary-General should be done in open meetings, except in exceptional cases. Transparency about the subsidiary organs of the Council remained insufficient, she said, and proposed circulating the agendas of the subsidiary organs prior to their meetings. She called for increasing interaction between the sanctions committee chairs with non-Council Member States, and urged formal adoption of the Council’s provisional rules and procedures. The Council should also seek to improve implementation of its resolutions. An example of that was the conflict in the Middle East. Dozens of resolutions concerning the Middle East had been adopted, but the occupation and settlement policies of Israel continued.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said that more transparency would promote accountability and increase the confidence of the wider membership and the public. More formal meetings and access to information would allow for proper evaluation of the Council’s effectiveness. Better coverage of the activities of the Council’s subsidiary bodies would also be welcome. The Council’s annual reports should an analysis of the quality of the Council’s work. The value of informal consultation should be enhanced by providing non-Council Member States about their contents. Informal, interactive discussion should be increased.
Stressing the importance of increased interaction with troop-contributing countries and regional and subregional organizations, she said that holding informal consultations with the wider membership before adoption of the Council’s Annual Report would also increase transparency. It was also necessary to consult the wider membership when negotiating mandates for peacekeeping operations. Council field missions were valuable and provided perspective on the realities on the ground. The work of the Council would be enhanced with more and longer visits, especially to Africa. Timely submission of the Secretary-General’s reports to the Council and troop-contributing countries was crucial.
ALEJANDRO WOLFF ( United States) said that the Council had a solemn responsibility to maintain international peace and security and must be as effective, efficient and transparent as possible in performing that task. He said that a number of measures had been taken to improve performance in the past several years, including more briefings, better reporting, increased dialogue through informal discussions with interested parties and more open meetings -- including today’s, which included some 20 per cent of total United Nations membership. He encouraged more countries to participate in such meetings in both the Council plenary and other venues, when held. Concerted efforts had been made to consult with troop-contributing countries early and often and hold more open meetings on peacekeeping as a whole. Making the Council more effective was an ongoing process, he affirmed, stressing that to hear more voices, it would be valuable if statements in open meetings became more succinct. Today’s discussion would help shape further improvements, he affirmed.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that working methods must allow the Council to act as effectively, transparently and credibly as possible. “Effectiveness is by no means opposed to openness, quite the contrary”, he said, since communication was essential to formulate and implement Council actions. Listing improvements already made in the area, he said more substantial dialogue had been improved with troop-contributing countries and that path should be further pursued. There were an increasing number of open debates on a wider range of subjects, to better deal with the new challenges of peacekeeping, terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and many other areas. A good balance between public and private meetings must be maintained, he stressed, with a flexible approach that suited each situation, without the need for codification of such an approach. He urged all Council Presidents to make further improvements with such principles in mind.
IVAN BARBALIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) placed high importance on the implementation of measures in note S/2006/507 and the promotion of transparency, efficiency, interaction and dialogue with non-members of the Council. Agreeing with the views, analysis, and assessment of challenges offered in the concept paper, he suggested an approach based on creating a proper and adequate balance among generally accepted principles and guidelines. Transparency, efficiency and interaction and dialogue with non-members, while compatible, often contradicted each other in practice, he said.
While recognizing the importance of informal consultations, he noted the need for public meetings to be held as often as possible in keeping with rule 48 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure, and with a strengthened interactive nature. The development of new practices such as informal interactive dialogue was welcomed, as such practices possessed the potential to not only enhance the quality of the Council’s decision, but also create a sense of common ownership. The interaction between the Council and troop-contributing countries was of particular significance in drafting and implementing mandates. Additionally, increased interaction and exchanges with regional and subregional groups, as well as with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, was needed. Looking ahead, he said improvement of efficiency could be achieved through practical implementation of the note and the continued work of the Informal Working Group.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that the efforts to enhance transparency and efficiency should include a more frequent and better dialogue with the wider membership. Meaningful access for non-members to the activities of the Council subsidiary bodies should also be increased. Council consultation with troop and police contributing countries was another aspect of the working methods that was of importance to the wider membership. Consultations should be held as early as possible in negotiations on the mandate renewals of peacekeeping operations. The contributing countries should also have access to Secretary-General reports and draft resolutions as early as possible. Closer interaction between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission should also be pursued.
She said it was key that information be shared with Council members, non-Council Member States and regional and subregional organizations. In that regard she underlined the importance of having a more frequent dialogue with the African Union. Private meetings were often needed to address an issue under consideration, but the Council should strive to hold as many open sessions as possible. Improving the working methods was not sufficient to ensure long-term transparency, accountability and efficiency. For that to happen, the Council should be expanded in the categories of permanent and non-permanent members, with the inclusion of developing countries in both categories.
EMANUEL ISSOZE-NGONDET ( Gabon) said that, although progress had been made in improving working methods, numerous practices continued to impact the transparency and effectiveness of the Council. He regretted certain practices, such as delays in the publication of Council documents in the six languages of the United Nations. Numerous documents were only published a few days before Council meetings and did not allow Council members sufficient time to consult with their capitals. It was desirable that consultations be held before the Council was briefed by the Secretariat. It would also be helpful if new Council members were briefed on the working methods before their tenure started. As for crisis and conflict management he said it would be useful if the Council improved mechanisms that would allow it to remain abreast of the evolution of crises. The United Nations Office in West Africa was a good example, and he urged establishment of a United Nations Office for Central Africa.
He said the dialogue between the Council and non-Council Member States had improved, as had consultations between the Presidents of the Council and the Assembly. He welcomed the increase in the number of open meetings. Improving the working methods was a long-term endeavour that should be pursued with determination. A more open, transparent and more inclusive Council would reflect the demands of the present day.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said that the workload of the Council was increasing because of the current complexities of maintaining peace and security, and for that reason the body must work efficiently while still improving communications with the wider membership. In that latter effort, he noted more open meetings and early consultations with troop-contributing countries, among other measures. He urged that more briefings be held and that cooperation with the General Assembly be increased, and that the strengthening of strategic partnerships with the African Union and other regional organizations continue. He stressed the urgent need to reform the Security Council to better reflect current realities and for that purpose called for quicker progress in those negotiations.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that the Council had made good progress in recent years in improving its working methods, but it was important to review such progress periodically and to make the necessary adjustments, in light of the current situation and comments from non-Council members. A pragmatic approach was needed to meet the sometimes conflicting requirements of prompt and effective action and gaining the support of the wider United Nations Membership, which was necessary for fully implementing decisions. He welcomed the positive reception of the 2006 note by the President and the compilation of working methods published by the Japanese mission, saying that a periodic update of such comprehensive notes would be beneficial to all. Improvement of working methods was also important in the context of Council reform; he looked forward to the earliest possible negations on that issue.
Noting efforts to enhance transparency, he said that more open meetings were now organized, the programme of work was much more available through wider media, and, as President, he had made it a practice to hold a press stakeout after every informal consultation. Such efforts should continue, even though it must be recognized that it was often not possible to share much of the contents of consultations. Recent efforts for an enhanced and timely dialogue with troop-contributing countries was welcome, with the working group on peacekeeping operations a useful forum for such interaction. For greater interactive dialogue with non-Council members, he said that a flexible approach should be adopted. In order to allow more participation in open meetings, he added, it was important that statements be focused and concise.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), speaking on behalf of the S-5 Group (Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore, and Switzerland), said the group continued to encourage improvements of the Council’s work methods, with a particular focus on the areas of transparency, access and inclusion, and welcomed the open debate as a “very good approach”. While the adoption of note 507 was welcomed, additional and far-reaching measures were needed to achieve legitimacy, transparency and accountability within the work of the Council. Implementation of the note had been slow and inconsistent; however, the group planned to continue making formal and informal contributions. In efforts to promote transparency and improve upon the annual report, informal consultations should be held before and after the adoption of the annual report, and open debates should be held when the report is adopted, he said. He also suggested that the report should address important cross-cutting issues such as peace and justice, include a chapter on improvements of the Council’s work methods, and provide more information on the work of the Informal Working Group.
As access to information on the Council’s work had become difficult to obtain, the group placed particular importance on implementing measure 46 in note 507, which required subsidiary bodies to seek the view of Member States with a particular interest in the topic under discussion. The group welcomed the adoption of resolution 1904 (2009), which brought significant changes in the de-listing regime, including the establishment of an Ombudsperson. He stressed the format of meetings was a key element of access and, as such, a wide range of mechanisms were available to enhance access and transparency. Regarding access, he said rather than lead to a new wall of secrecy, the temporary conference room arrangements should be viewed as an opportunity for Council members to interact with interested parties.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said the Council should stop encroaching on the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and should avoid resorting to Chapter VII of the Charter as an umbrella for addressing issues that did not necessarily pose a threat to international peace and security and should fully utilize the provisions of Chapters VI and VIII. It was also vital that the Council President had regular interactions with the wider membership of the Organization. The number of public meetings should be increased and briefings by special envoys or representatives of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat should take place in public meetings. More steps by the Council and the Assembly were needed to improve the Council’s working methods. Improving the methods required strong political will, particularly of the permanent members.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said that improving working methods was interlinked with the intergovernmental negotiations on the reform and enlargement of the Council. Also, a balance in the power structure between the permanent and non-permanent members of the Council was needed. The relationship between the Council and other principal organs of the Organization should be revisited. The International Court of Justice had a major role to play in settling any dispute between those organs. The misuse of the veto right and the threat of a veto should also be addressed in a manner that would rationalize and restrict its use. Pending achieving that intermediate step towards complete elimination of the veto, it should be granted to all new permanent members joining the Council within the enlargement process.
SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the Benelux ( Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), said her country had organized the 2008 debate on the issue, with a focus on transparency, interaction and efficiency. A lot of effort had been made to increase transparency. For example, the transparency of the process for listing and de-listing on the Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee had increased considerably. Also, the establishment of an Office of the Ombudsperson further increased transparency. Deliberations of Council members would be enriched if there was even more interaction with States and non-state actors associated with a conflict, and that was especially important in the early stages of consultation. Private meeting should be included. In the case of non-State actors, it was the Council’s prerogative to decide. Parties should be able, however, to submit their views in writing. The Council would also benefit from enhanced cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. The Benelux was also a strong proponent of further strengthening the relationship between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
As for efficiency, she said that key provisions of resolutions could be incorporated into country specific resolutions. The Council should reflect on how best to assess implementation of its decisions, analyze obstacles to implementation and suggest mechanisms to enhance implementation. The proposals just mentioned could be implemented without delay.
JARMO VIINANEN ( Finland), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries ( Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), stated that transparency and wider interaction were crucial in fulfilling the Council’s duty of maintaining international peace and security. Despite the adoption of notes S/2006/507 and S/2007/784, more work was required to ensure their implementation. In that regard, he pressed for transparency and information sharing among all Member States, with a particular focus on small States with limited opportunities to join the Council. He requested regular, high-quality briefings for non-members of the Council, as well as the reinstitution of interactive wrap-up sessions. Open debates were of extreme importance to the Nordic countries, but could be improved upon by consultations with non-Council Member States in drafting concept papers and increased focus on making thematic debates more action oriented.
On issues of transparency and fairness, the Nordic countries believed that resolution 1904 added transparency and clarity to the procedures of the 1267 Committee, and the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsperson, as well as the swift appointment of the Ombudsperson, would further enhance transparency. Improvements in interactions between the Council, troop-and police-contributing countries, and the Peacebuilding Commission should also be considered to ensure a smooth transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding. In light of the importance of debates on the Council’s working methods, the Nordic countries suggested that open debates be held annually and emphasized the need for ongoing reform, so that the Council could carry out its tasks in a more transparent, inclusive and participatory way.
CAMILLO GONSALVES (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning with the statement made by the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that due to the stark absence of both CARICOM countries and small island developing States in Council membership -- the last CARICOM State to serve on the council was 10 years ago -- CARICOM was particularly interested in transparency, efficiency and the Council’s interaction with non-members. As historical “Council outsiders”, CARICOM recognized recent improvements, yet believed more improvements were required. With that in mind, he stressed that reform of working methods must take place within the context of wider Council reform, and should include an increase in permanent and non-permanent membership. In a general context, he asked that the Council discontinue troubling encroachments into the functions of the other 177 non-members, asserting that it was “far better to construe its mandate strictly, and do a small number of things well, than it was to be more expansive and do a host of tasks poorly.”
Regarding the enhancement of transparency, openness, efficiency and wide Council interaction, CARICOM supported suggestions made by the S-5 Group. CARICOM, however, took issue with the expansive reading some States gave to Article 30 of the Charter and the argument that only the Council could adjust its own working methods. Given the role of the General Assembly, as clearly expressed in articles 10 through 12 of the Charter, he said, the Council should adopt, rather than resist, recommendations which may be offered through wider membership. In remedying certain deficiencies, continuous evolution of the Council and its working methods was not only desired, but necessary. The Council needed to reflect changing global realities and respond to membership, as it was a product of both. CARICOM also hoped that one or more of its members would once again soon grace the inner sanctum of the Council.
OSMAN KEH KAMARA (Sierra Leone), speaking on behalf of the African Group and acknowledging significant progress in efficiency and transparency at the Council, said that Africa favoured a more accessible, democratic, representative, accountable and more effective Security Council responding to the exigencies of the time.
He recounted the common position adopted by the African Union Assembly in January 2010, which included calls to increase the number of public meetings, enhanced relationships with troop-contributing countries, greater respect for the United Nations Charter, avoidance of using the Council to pursue national agendas, avoidance of over-use of Chapter VII, avoidance of using sanctions for the narrow objectives of a few States, and formalizing the rules of the Security Council in order to improve its transparency and accountability. In addition, he called for the Council to work more closely with the General Assembly and stressed that efforts aimed at restructuring the Council should not be subject to a predetermined timetable, with all five clusters being afforded the same sense of expediency.
MILOŠ KOTEREC (Slovakia) welcomed progress made in transparency of the Council, involvement of non-members in its work and in speed of its decision-making process, saying it was evident that a more analytical and forward-looking approach was a benefit for all. He proposed that the openness of the Council’s work, in particular in regard to the work of subsidiary bodies, should be further strengthened, and interaction with other Member States, particularly those directly affected or concerned by an agenda item, be made more effective by a better use of private meetings with wider groups of countries and more regular use of Arria Formula meetings. Private meetings with troop-contributing countries should be held in a timely, flexible and way. Finally, he said that the maximum relevance of the Security Council’s annual report should by ensured through more substantial and analytical content and by holding an interactive discussion with the General Assembly on the report.
CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI ( Italy) said that many aspects of the working methods still needed improvement, including an increase in the number of open meetings on such issues as sanctions regimes. He proposed a renewed commitment and effort by all Council members to implement at least some of the measures discussed that did not require a Charter amendment. Troop- and police-contributing countries should be more engaged in the Council’s proceedings through open meetings and informal consultations. Regional organizations must also be involved in questions being debated.
He said there was significant support for greater use of the Arria format that allowed civil society and non-governmental organizations to enter into dialogue with the Council. The number of open meetings should be increased, while the number of closed meetings and informal consultations should be reduced. At the very least, there should be post-meeting briefings by the President for interested non-Council Member States. The search for innovations in the Council’s working methods had been promoted most enthusiastically by non-permanent Council members, and a key role in that was played, as well, by non-Council-member small States. That was understandable, as the current exclusionary practices make Council membership virtually off-limits for them. “In deference to the five-minute rule [for lengths of statements]: another innovation in working methods, which we can put into place immediately,” he said.
ADI G. KHAIR ( Jordan) said the Council should ensure full implementation of resolution 1353 (2001) and Presidential Statement S/PRST/2009/24 that provided a framework for cooperation between the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries, and the Secretariat. The needed commitment by the wider membership to United Nations peacekeeping could be further strengthened by holding public meetings. He encouraged the Council to expand the practice of holding thematic debates and open meetings related to peacekeeping. He further encouraged the Council Presidents to brief the members of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping. The Council President could also arrange regular meetings with such groups as the Non-Aligned Movement, the European Union and interested regional groups and organizations.
He said strengthening consultation with troop-contributing countries should remain a priority. Meaningful and substantial consultations should continue to be held between the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, including at the request of the latter and during the entire life cycle of peacekeeping missions. Enhancing the Council’s working methods, its efficiency, transparency, openness, consistency and inclusiveness in the decision-making process was essential to sustaining the confidence of the current troop- and police-contributing countries and could broaden the base of the contributors.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAES CABRAL ( Portugal) said that enhancing transparency, efficiency and accountability of the Council was a substantive concern, not a formal one. The real question was how to strengthen the Council’s authority through a more open and participatory decision-making process, through a better understanding of its decisions, and through enhanced accountability. The Council and its members must continuously strive to preserve the adequate involvement of all Council members, improve information exchange and promote participation in its internal decision-making process. The trend of meeting more and more often in public should be strengthened, while reducing the number of informal consultations. Direct dialogue with concerned States and parties should be increased, among other things, through private consultations or Arria Formula meetings.
He said that briefings by the Secretariat should be delivered, as a rule, at Council meetings, with the participation of non-Council Member States. In open thematic debates, non-Council Member States should speak before Council members, and some time should be allowed between such a meeting and the adoption of a possible outcome. Council Presidents should have a more active and substantive role in briefing delegations, in presenting personal assessments on the work of the Council and in speaking to the press. In order to increase accountability, the influence of the general membership in the determination of the Council agenda should be increased and interactive consultations should be held before the annual report was presented to the Assembly. Reviving the former practice of including monthly assessments by the Presidents that reflected their perspectives on the substantive work of the Council was also desirable.
DIRE DAVID TLADI ( South Africa) welcomed the “modest” improvements made in the working methods of the Council since the last open debate on the issue in 2008, particularly those aimed at enhancing the Council’s engagement with the broader United Nations membership. The early engagement with troop-contributing countries was one step in the right direction and should become entrenched. It should also be structured in a manner that will afford the contributing countries the opportunity to directly enter into the discussion relating to the renewal of mandates of peacekeeping operations.
He said that increased interactions with concerned parties to a conflict were also welcomed, such as those in 2009 with Sri Lanka, Chad, the African Union and the Arab League. He called for deeper cooperation with regional organizations and the General Assembly and stressed that Council deliberation on resolutions should be open for genuine deliberations among all members, including the 10 temporary members, “and not the exclusive domain of a few”. He reminded the Council that the Charter stated that it acted on behalf of the United Nations membership, which had the right to be kept informed. Increasing the Council’s transparency, which was not yet at a sufficient level, would contribute to the body’s greater credibility.
SANJA ŠTIGLIC ( Slovenia) said that non-Council members should be more informed about the Council’s work, since it had increasing impact on more and more countries. She welcomed improved consultations with troop-contributing countries and non-Council members, but stressed that there was a need for wider interaction with non-Members and more Arria Formula meetings, among other formats. Meetings with troop-contributing countries could also be further improved. In addition, she said there should be more briefings for non-Council members and draft resolutions should be made available to them earlier. She welcomed further transparency in sanctions committees, particularly when it came to listing and de-listing those subject to those measures. Involvement of the wider United Nations in the work of the Council would remain a key to more effective maintenance of international peace and security, she stressed.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ ( Peru) said it was important to remember that the working methods were an integral part of the process of reform of the Council. The Council had introduced greater transparency and enhanced participation by non-Council Member States and members of civil society, but there was still room to increase the transparency, effectiveness and accountability of the Council. In considering proposals to enhance participation of non-Council members, one should keep in mind that increasing efficiency and accountability should not be done at the expense of transparency.
He said that implementation of measures and suggestions raised by many delegations would enhance the Council’s legitimacy, image and efficiency. The Charter stipulated that the General Assembly should receive and consider annual and special reports from the Council. The non-Council Member States, however, must have greater access to information of a substantive nature not reflected in the Annual Report. More interaction with non-Council members and bolstering other systems of interaction were urgent, as many matters before the Council were of a cross-cutting nature, including such issues as peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
HEIDI GRAU ( Switzerland) said measures to improve the working methods could be divided into three categories: first, improvements that were technical and that could be implemented quickly; second, existing practices that should be applied more systematically; and third, politically more sensitive issues that were best resolved on a case by case basis. From a technical perspective, efficiency and transparency could be increased by the use of modern information technology. Less formality regarding the participation of non-Council Member States could be achieved by removing the rule for a written request. She regretted that briefings after informal consultation still happened on an ad hoc basis. Further steps were necessary to make the work of the subsidiary bodies more accessible to the wider membership. She proposed that more regular and systematic briefings be given by the Presidents and that possibilities for participation of interested non-Council members be provided.
She said there had often been a reluctance to address situations that were not on the formal agenda of the Council, but nevertheless required its attention. Informal formats to deal with those situations was an innovative approach. Further, she supported regular dialogue between the Council and the President of the Peacebuilding Commission.
CARLOS D. SORRETA (Philippines), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, remarked on the higher degree of interaction and dialogue between Council and non-Council members, especially on peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The greater participation of non-members created the impression that the Council cared about the views of non-members and reflected a growing sense of inclusiveness, which also kept unilateralism at bay. But, as new developments and threats emerged, the Council’s work continued to grow, absorbing its attention, resources and energy. There was a need for the Council to refocus its attention on core issues ‑‑ peace and security ‑‑ and to refrain from cross-cutting issues that should be dealt with more appropriately by the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other United Nations organs.
He drew attention to proposals put forward by the Philippines for “specific amendments”, described in the paper it transmitted to the General Assembly on 14 February 2009 (note verbale 000039), which had been provided to other Permanent Missions on 16 February 2009.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said that although there had been progress in implementation of note 507, that progress had not been consistent. He hoped the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions would undertake a review of the note before the end of the year. For many Member States, membership in the Council was a rare occurrence, but the Council’s decisions affected them greatly. The wider membership had a legitimate interest in knowing how Council decisions were taken and in contributing to them, as appropriate. Holding orientation debates before discussions were scheduled on specific items would improve the contribution of non-Council members. Although private meetings were sometimes necessary, he urged the Council to keep the wider membership informed about its deliberations. The Council should hold as many meetings as possible in a public format.
He said there had been a noticeable improvement in the quality of consultations with troop contributing countries, but those improvements were still carried out in an ad hoc manner. He urged the Council to systematize that practice so that input of the troop contributing countries could be heard before the discussions on peacekeeping mandates. One of the most important recent developments had been the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission. Closer and more substantive interaction between it and the Council was needed. He recommended that the Council systematically engage the Commission earlier in the post-conflict period, possibly when peacekeeping operations were winding down.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) rejected outright the suggestion that the Council’s working methods were for the Council alone to decide. For the overwhelming majority of the wider membership, the Council’s working methods were vitally important as they affected its ability to contribute to and understand the Council’s work. It was therefore in everyone’s interest to ensure that both the United Nations and the Council were credible, effective and strong. The Council meetings should be public whenever possible. At those meetings, essential information should be shared and should be outcome-focused. Key troop contributors were sometimes still unable to participate meaningfully in consultations with Council members. He advocated the use of formats such as informal interactive dialogues, such as the Council President had used during the 1994 Rwandan crisis.
He said the informal interactive dialogue format used in discussions on Sri Lanka and Chad should become a standard tool for Council interaction with non-Council members whose cooperation it was seeking. Draft documents should be shared with non-Council members sooner, and interested parties should have greater influence in the preparation of those documents. More effective discussions between Council members were also desirable. An interactive style of engagement would improve the Council’s effectiveness and collegiality.
ANDREW GOLEDZINOWSKI (Australia) said that the Council’s basic mindset should be one of active accountability and deliberate transparency, keeping in mind the need to justify its decisions, share information, consult widely and to accept input, not as burdensome or optional extras, but as core elements of its working methods. He welcomed improvements, such as monthly briefings, whose quality had improved in recent years, as well as informal interactive dialogues, innovations in sanctions applications and the creation of an ombudsman. A closer and more organic relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission, however, was needed. He was pleased that arrangements had been settled to accommodate non-Council members and the press in the new interim location due to the renovation of Headquarters, but was surprised that changes in established practice were even in question and that advantage was not taken of the opportunity for greater transparency. He also suggested that non-Council members speak first in open debates, so that members could be more attentive to them.
JAIRO HERNÁNDEZ-MILIAN (Costa Rica), supporting the statement made by Liechtenstein on behalf of the Small Five Group, welcomed the increase in public meetings by the Council, but asked that more such meetings be held, including those on the monthly work programmes. The new early consultations with troop contributing countries should be continued; such improvements and others should not be up to the will of the President but part of a more regular procedure. He supported consultations with members of States affected by an agenda item, but stressed that they should not take place in detriment to consultation with other Member States. Secretary-General’s reports should be distributed earlier. Open meetings should not be limited to thematic debates and, in addition, presidential statements should not be approved in advance of those meetings. His country had proposed more equitable participation in Council missions and would be available to help that initiative come into fruition.
JORGE ARGÜELLO ( Argentina) said that the issue of transparency of the Council’s working methods was directly related to its effectiveness and openness. The measures that really would improve the transparency, participation and efficiency of the Council were not there yet. Reform should be achieved that strengthened the institutional balance and the relationships between the Council and the other main organs by regular consultations, cooperation mechanisms and adequate information exchanges. A regular and substantial dialogue with the Economic and Social Council should also be established.
In the context of accountability, special reports under Articles 15 and 24 of the Charter should be issued as well, he said. There was a trend to exaggerate the number of open thematic debates, with the risk that those debates were becoming marathons of speeches without clear, effective and concrete results.
RODOLFO ELISEO BENÍTEZ VERSÓN ( Cuba) said comprehensive, urgent and profound Security Council reform was necessary and should include the modification of that body’s working methods. The Council was not transparent, democratic or efficient. The permanent members continued with their own negotiations behind closed doors, presenting the wider membership with a fait accompli. As a minimum requirement, the number of public meetings should be increased. Closed-door meetings and unofficial consultations should only take place as a matter of exception. Resolutions and presidential statements should reflect the statements made by Member States during public meetings.
He said he was concerned at the growing trend by the Council to take on functions that were assigned to other United Nations bodies, including the Assembly. The agenda had to be adjusted in line with the Council’s mandate. The Council should be accountable to the Assembly and present analytical annual and special reports to it. The veto issue was intrinsically linked to the working methods. It was an anachronism and an anti-democratic privilege that should be eliminated as soon as possible. Pending that, the veto should be limited to decisions taken under Chapter VII. It should also be possible to override a veto by an overwhelming number of positive votes or by a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly. There were already several specific proposals to improve the Council’s working methods. Action should be taken to do so without further delay.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India), saying that the clamour for improved working methods was tied to the need to reform the Council’s representation, agreed with previous speakers that the Council would render great service to the maintenance of international peace and security by deepening and enriching its consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries in devising, revising and implementing peacekeeping mandates. It was also urgent to improve the annual report, which remained a bland statistical compilation of events, a bland summary and listing of meetings and outcome documents, in order to better convey the context and impact of decisions.
He also called for more open meetings and regular consultation with non-Council members, and making draft resolutions and statements available to them as soon as such documents were tabled, or earlier if possible. In addition, more timely and substantive briefings and regular consultations with the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council would be valuable. Genuine and lasting improvement of working methods, however, could only be possible as part of a comprehensive process of Security Council reform.
GUSTAVO ÁLVAREZ ( Uruguay) said that States should have the opportunity to take part in meetings that affected them. In that vein, there had been significant progress in strengthening consultation with troop contributing countries, and he hoped that that process would continue. Informal consultations involving the informal working group on peacekeeping should also be continued and all such meetings should be institutionalized. Such improvements and others should not, however, be tied together with an expansion of the Council, as that would impede further progress.
SAVIOUR F. BORG ( Malta) said that improving the transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the Council working methods were the key elements of Council reform. Increased transparency in the working methods not only increased the Council’s credibility and legitimacy, but also its accountability. Monthly briefings of new Council Presidents on the work programme, as well as the more detailed annual report, had enhanced the relationship between Council members and the wider United Nations membership. In improving the working methods, the views of the general membership should be positively received by the Council, including those on the holding open debates and briefings and fewer closed meetings.
He said there was a false perception that issues before the Council were the sole responsibility of Council members, particularly the permanent five. Today’s threats, however, were becoming increasingly global and transnational. The matters brought before the Council, therefore, called for greater involvement and engagement by and with the non-Council members. The Council needed to make more space for the Peacebuilding Commission and enhance and improve its working relationship with other principal organs of the United Nations through regular and institutionalized consultations.
MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE (Iran), associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that the Council should be acting on behalf of all United Nations Member States, but in reality it reflected less and less the wishes and the views of the general membership, or even those of Council members. In addition, he said that the general membership and even concerned countries were kept totally uninformed of negotiations or statements directly affecting them, let alone consulted on the Council’s outcome documents. Those obstacles to participation, among others, including the denial of the right of reply to countries against whom allegations were raised, in certain meeting formats, violated Article 31 of the Charter, he maintained.
He said that selective notification of meetings, unnecessary resort to Chapter VII, and use of the veto also impeded the equitable participation of Member States. The Council should seriously address those shortcomings and clarify its relationship with the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations, redressing its encroachment on those other bodies’ prerogatives. Failure to redress those concerns had led to a decline in public trust in the Council; therefore impartiality, transparency and fairness should be restored.
VANU GOPALA MENON (Singapore), aligning himself with the statement delivered by the representative of Lichtenstein on behalf of the S-5 group, said the subject at hand had been “mired in the reluctance of the Council to open itself up to scrutiny”. Its provisional rules of procedure stated that meetings should be held in public, but that premise of transparency had unfortunately been eroded over the years in favour of functionality ‑‑ it had been easier to broker deals in back rooms rather than the boardroom. He said reports and briefings alone could not ensure transparency. Transparency meant providing a reason for the sudden shift in the date of today’s open debate, for example, or providing adequate notification for important Council meetings, and providing access to Council meetings to non-members, the Secretariat and the press.
In that connection, he drew attention to concerns arising over the perceived curtailing of access due to limitations imposed by the Council’s relocation as part of the Capital Master Plan. Measures must be taken to restore the same access and conference arrangements that were in place before the Council’s temporary relocation, immediately and without precondition.
He said more was needed to create opportunities for interaction and dialogue between members and non-members. There had been some improvement, particularly with troop- and police-contributing countries and regional organizations. The Council consulted with Member States in preparing the annual report, and briefed them on each month’s programme of work. But more than that, countries directly affected by a particular issue should be given every opportunity to participate in deliberations. The Council should also open its proceedings to non-members beyond interaction and dialogue, so that Member States could better understand the Council’s decision-making considerations, processes and challenges.
Towards improving the Council’s efficiency, he said, for example, that the Council should notify the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) without delay when it decided to establish a special political mission. In December 2009, while the Fifth Committee was in the midst of considering the budget for special political missions for the 2010-2011 biennium, the Council had taken decisions on three new special political missions. The usual way for notifying the Fifth Committee was through a report of the Secretary-General, accompanied by recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), but, that process took time. Following that route, those three missions had been taken up at the Fifth Committee’s resumed session in March, leading to difficult negotiations. Some countries had resisted the idea of increasing the budget for special political missions while others felt that absorbing the costs under the existing budget would negatively impact existing missions. States eventually reached a solution but many of the complications could have been avoided if a system of better communication flows had been in place between the Council and the Fifth Committee.
YURIY SERGEYEV ( Ukraine) said that greater transparency and interaction with the general membership were essential for support of Council decisions and their implementation. The thematic aspect of the Council’s agenda had been strengthened with such pressing issues as maritime piracy, post-conflict peacebuilding, drug and arms trafficking and other issues. The major topic of conflict prevention, however, should be more visible on the Council’s radar. There was room for improved interaction with troop and police contributing countries, especially in giving those countries a stronger voice in the decision-making process.
He welcomed improvements in the Council’s handling of the sanctions regimes by ensuring their targeted and time-limited character, spelling out concrete conditions for lifting, and improving listing and de-listing. The need for more insight into the Council’s business was widely shared by non-Council members. The ad hoc practice of regular briefings for regional groups by non-permanent members they had delegated to the Council should be formalized. Both members and non-members of the Council would benefit from the “wrap-up” meetings at the end of a presidency.
MARTIN NEY ( Germany) said that now, more than ever, transparency was of paramount importance if the Council was to meet expectations. There was little rationale to having routine meetings taking place behind closed doors. Council documents, such as reports, statements and draft resolutions, as well as briefing notes, should be made available to non-members in a timely fashion. Affected parties, including troop and police contributing countries and main financial contributors, should have facilitated access to the Council. Enhanced interaction with non-governmental organizations and non-State actors should also be considered. Interaction with other institutions within the United Nations, such as the Peacebuilding Commission, should also be strengthened. Increased access for non-members must not undermine efforts to make the Council’s work more efficient.
He said a comprehensive reform of the Council would make that body more legitimate, more representative and thus more effective. The question of working methods should not be de-linked from the overall reform debate. The fundamental issue should be addressed, namely the need to bring the Council in line with the geopolitical realities of today’s world. The untenable underrepresentation of Africa, Latin America and Asia, as well as the need to ensure adequate representation of other major contributors to the maintenance of peace and security, should be addressed. “To improve working methods without reforming Security Council structures would ultimately create a source of political frustration of the general membership and risk eroding the authority of the Council,” he said.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said it was necessary to continue broadening already implemented practices to further improve the transparency and participation of the wider membership in the activities and decision-making of the Council. The number of closed meetings should be reduced and the participation of States in Council discussions of matters that directly affected them should be guaranteed. Greater space should be created for consultations with regional groups and organizations, as well as with other actors, whenever necessary.
While recognizing the efforts of the permanent members to limit the use of the veto, she said that regulating its use under clear parameters would be an important step towards greater transparency. The use of the veto could be limited to situations under Chapter VII and could also be limited to substantive and not procedural matters. The threshold of negative votes required by permanent members could be increased to, for instance, two. The permanent members should also explain or justify to the Assembly their decision to use the veto. She also suggested the holding of periodic meetings between the Presidents of the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Council, and the presentation of regular analytical reports by the Council to the Assembly.
ZACHARY D. MUBURI MUITA (Kenya), supporting the statement made by Sierra Leone on behalf of the African Group, said that the Council should take the next step in reforming its working methods, making reforms that were consistent and predictable rather than ad hoc, and including them in finalized rules of procedures. In addition, the annual report to the General Assembly should be more frank and open and other opportunities for communication with the Assembly should be developed.
He added that there should more open public meetings at all stages of consideration of an item, written records should be kept of all formal meetings, non-Council members should be accorded regular access to the body’s work, measures to guarantee transparency in decision-making, especially as concerned sanctions regimes, should be enhanced, and regular exchanges of views should be held with other United Nations organs. He reiterated his country’s continued engagement in the process of Council reform, with a view to achieving the objectives set by the 2005 World Summit.
KAIRE MUNIONGANDA MBUENDE (Namibia), associating himself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that some aspects of the Council’s working methods had evolved, but that it had done so in an ad hoc manner. Some of the changes had been captured in presidential notes, but often, the language was drafted in aspirational terms rather than as a firm commitment. To the best of his knowledge, there had not been any change in the provisional status of the Rules of Procedure since 1946. In his view, the Rules should be formalized.
He further noted that although the United Nations Charter provided for the participation of non-members of the Council in its discussions when it involved their interests, quite often, the Council did not give those States a chance to participate in a meaningful way. At times, even elected members of the Council experienced difficulty in participating effectively, particularly when drafts were negotiated behind the scenes by the five permanent members. While recognizing the need for the Council to adopt its decisions expeditiously, sufficient time should be allowed for consultations with all members. Most military personnel came from countries not represented in the Council, and so Namibia would like to see further improvement in the interaction between the Council and troop contributors.
On the report of the Council to the Assembly, he remarked that it must be analytical and should provide an assessment of the Council’s ability to deal with problems at hand. It should signal difficulties in areas where improvements could be made, and it should continue to include an account of the work by the Military Staff Committee and of the Council’s subsidiary bodies.
PETR KAISER ( Czech Republic) said the goal of maintaining international peace and security should not be achieved at the expense of transparency. The further measures were required to increase trust among the membership and to create a sense of ownerships of Council decisions that Member States were obliged to implement. More transparency could be achieved by implementing prompt information sharing and better access. All Member States should receive as much information as possible about Council deliberations and those of its subsidiary bodies. The annual report should be more substantive and analytical. Although there had been more open debates of the Council, that trend should be strengthened. He welcomed adoption of resolution 1904 (2009), which improved listing and de-listing procedures and authorized the establishment of an Ombudsperson regarding sanctions against Al Qaida and the Taliban.
He said interaction with the parties with a direct interest in an issue before the Council was of crucial importance. Relations between the Council and the troop contributing countries could be improved. Those countries’ involvement should start at the beginning of shaping mandates for peacekeeping operations. Arria Formula meetings could be used more often. Regular communication with the other main bodies of the Organization was a precondition for making the Organization more efficient. The Council’s relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission should also be strengthened. Measures to increase transparency should not be detrimental to the Council’s efficiency, but should contribute to it through a better knowledge of the situations facing Member States. Improving the Council’s working methods was part of the complex task of making that body more representative.
JULIO ESCALONA ( Venezuela) said that improvement of Council working methods was integrally involved in the reforms needed in order for the body to better serve the sovereign equality of nations and the legitimacy of the United Nations as a guarantor of peace and justice. He reiterated support for proposals made to increase cooperation with the General Assembly and maintained the importance of access of non-Council and elected members to all considerations of the Council. For that purpose, the number of private meetings should be decreased in favour of more open meetings. It was crucial that the proposals of all Member States for improvement of Council working methods be taken into account, he stressed.
RAJA NUSHIRWAN ZAINAL ABIDIN ( Malaysia), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said it had been “all too quickly assumed” that prompt and effective action was incompatible with the need to gain wider United Nations support. Malaysia believed that in many situations, effective action required the support of the entire international community. Transparency, interaction and dialogue with non-members, as well as efficiency, must be applied to the entire spectrum of the Council’s work, including implementation of its resolutions.
He said that some of the proposed measures, such as references to all speakers at political and ambassadorial level by name and title, or ensuring that draft documents used during informal consultations were made available to non-Council members, lent themselves to quick implementation. That was less true for other measures, such as having subsidiary bodies seek the views of Member States, or of having sanctions committees seek the views of those affected by the sanctions. In cases where sanctions committees met to discuss the request of States to de-list entities or individuals from consolidated lists, that particular State should have the opportunity to either listen in to the Committee’s proceedings, or be officially informed about them.
Briefings by special representatives, heads of United Nations missions and the Secretariat were useful because they provided an account of what was happening on the ground, he continued. As such, he advocated greater transparency in the briefings and for non-Council members to be allowed to attend, but without the right to interject or interact. Malaysia appreciated that regional and subregional organizations were also invited to participate in open thematic debates. He hoped that interaction with troop contributors would be expanded.
FRANCISCO CARRIÓN-MENA ( Ecuador) said that sadly, two years after the August 2008 debate on the working methods of the Council, there was still a lot to do in implementing the measures of note 507, in particular in the areas of transparency and participation of non-Council members. Although Council Presidents held informal meetings on the programme of work and briefed on the work of the Council’s subsidiary bodies, such briefings were not systematic. While welcoming the increase in the number of open meetings, he said it was unfortunate that those meetings were still the exception whereas private consultations were the rule.
He said more interaction was also necessary with troop contributing countries and regional organizations. Moreover, many open meetings related to issues that were not of the Council’s competence and interfered with the mandates of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. A dialogue between the Council and the Assembly would improve the annual reports. He hoped the implementation of the measures mentioned in note 507 would receive timely follow-up and stressed that the concerns and proposals expressed today should be acted upon in order to guarantee transparency and open interaction without detriment to other necessary and urgent Council reforms.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) focused on the use of the veto, stressing that it should not be used to “thwart important decisions”. Also, Chapter VII should be invoked in a fair manner in cases that required it and only when deploying peacekeeping missions. Even in those cases, Chapter VII should be limited to paragraphs concerning a Mission’s self-defence, although other paragraphs might necessitate its use as well. He called on the Council to improve the quality of its annual reports to the Assembly, and touched on the benefit derived from changing the pace of meetings between the Presidents of the Assembly and Council. He said perhaps the State holding the Council presidency could transmit monthly assessments of the Council’s work to the Assembly.
He observed that a majority of Member States had, on several occasions, stressed that the Council should not go beyond its mandate under the Charter. He reiterated that it should not infringe on the functions of other United Nations organs in issues that did not involve international peace and security. However, the Council should take account of Assembly recommendations on matters concerning the maintenance of peace and security, in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 11 of the Charter. It should also enhance coordination with regional and subregional organizations, as provided by Chapter VIII of the Charter.
His Government had found it “odd” that formal closed meetings were held to consider items that did not require confidentiality, such as the periodic meetings with the International Court of Justice, he continued. In the same context, Qatar believed it useful to hold further Arria Formula meetings, which had proven more effective in dealing with some issues than formal meetings. And, while the Council had taken praiseworthy action to improve the procedures of terrorism and sanctions committees concerned in terms of listing and de-listing in order to avoid legal problems, those methods still needed amending in a way that was based on court decisions and followed the legal due process.
The Council was a political organ whose documents fed into international law and had an impact on it, he noted, adding that, for that reason, its work should be improved by involving legal experts from the Secretariat on legal matters on its agenda and that of its subcommittees. Also, members of the group of experts within its subcommittees should be subjected to the principle of geographical distribution, in consultation with all Council members. The website was indispensable, and efforts by the Secretariat to strengthen its institutional memory were welcome.
AMJAD HUSSAIN B. SIAL (Pakistan), supporting the statement made by Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, acknowledged some improvement in transparency in the Council’s work, but said that the “exclusivity” of the Council’s work was not being adequately addressed, for which he called for a greater compliance with the United Nations Charter and the Council’s provisional Rules of Procedure. In that regard, open debates and public meetings should not be a mere formality for the decisions taken in informal or closed consultations, but should factor prominently in the Council’s decision-making process. Two-way consultations with the wider membership should also increase in frequency.
He said that the efficiency of the Council did not have to suffer from wider interaction and transparent operation; it could be enhanced if due attention was paid to issues on the merit of those issues rather than because of national interest, and if the Council refrained from taking up issues that were better dealt with by other bodies. Efficiency could also be improved, particularly in inter-State conflicts, if the veto was used more rarely and recourse was taken to the pacific settlement of disputes as per Chapter VI of the Charter.
PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) said that efforts had been made to enhance the overall transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of the Council despite its ever demanding workload. Welcoming the increase in open meetings, he maintained that the substantive nature of such meetings could be improved. Non-members that are parties to disputes under consideration should participate in meetings whenever possible.
He said Council members should continue to make the commendable effort to share the work of the Council by routinely providing briefings to their respective regional groups. More substantive and analytical reports, starting with the annual report, could give wider insight into the Council’s work, and ad hoc meetings, convened on a case-by-case basis, could be institutionalized in a way that enhanced the Council’s efficiency. As a troop and financial contributor to peacekeeping operations, his country found meetings between the Council and troop contributors to be very useful and informative and he appreciated the recent, more substantive and early consultation on mission matters. He added that improving working methods was an important component of Security Council reform.
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