7 December 2012

Security Council Hears Briefings by Outgoing Members on Activities of Subsidiary Bodies They Chaired During Two-Year Tenure

7 December 2012
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6881st Meeting (AM)

Security Council Hears Briefings by Outgoing Members on Activities

of Subsidiary Bodies They Chaired During Two-Year Tenure

The outgoing members of the Security Council — India, Germany, Portugal, Colombia and South Africa — delivered briefings this morning on the work of the subsidiary bodies they had chaired during their two-year tenure.

Speaking about what he called the Council’s oldest subsidiary body, the 751 and 1907 Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, Hardeep Singh Puri of India said the body continued to face significant challenges in its oversight work, particularly in relation to technical violations of the arms embargo, objections by aid partners to reporting requirements, questions about the Monitoring Group and, in some cases, non-cooperation by Member States with the Group.  The workload had increased exponentially compared with the previous two years.

Remarkable progress had been made, nevertheless, in the process of stabilization of Somalia, creating a historic opportunity, he said, encouraging his successor to continue to engage with Somalia, Eritrea and other States of the region.  As implementation of sanctions should have the intended impact and not exacerbate the population’s suffering, it was necessary to keep regimes under constant review and adjust measures to keep pace with the changing situation on the ground. 

Taking the floor next on the work of the 1267 and 1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1988 Afghanistan Sanctions Committee, and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict established by resolution 1612 (2005), Peter Wittig of Germany said challenges in the fight against terrorism and the protection of human rights were at the heart of the Council’s effort.  The sanctions regimes must, among other things, match the terrorist threat and serve their mandated purposes. 

During his tenure, he said he had aimed to forge a consensus as a basis for the needed reforms.  During that time, the Council had adopted resolutions separating the Taliban from Al-Qaida, rendering the regime more nimble and responsive, and establishing an ombudsperson.  To improve due process in the regime, the Council should consider widening the ombudsperson’s activities to other sanctions regimes. 

As Chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, he emphasized that the Council must make use of its power for the sake of women and children who bore the brunt of suffering in war.  Working hard to reduce the time-gap between the Secretary-General’s reports and the Group’s conclusions, he had set out to strengthen the Group’s effectiveness.  To assist that effort, he urged the Council to follow up swiftly on recent resolutions that focused on putting more pressure on persistent perpetrators and achieving better accountability.

The Working Group could take some practical steps, including issuing information outside the reporting cycle to immediately react to violations, he said, citing as a model the “horizontal” notes used by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to report on situations on the ground.  Briefings on specific conflict-affected countries were also valuable, as were country visits that complemented the Council’s work on the ground.

Briefing on the 1718 Sanctions Committee concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions which addressed working methods of the Council, Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral of Portugal said of the 1718 Committee that striving for consensus was difficult but necessary to address the situations on its agenda. 

He noted that the 1718 Committee had been able to agree on new designations and update its work plan and the sanctions list related to the nuclear and missile programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It also had agreed on the importance of Implementation Assistance Notices, regular reviews of the parameters of the sanctions regime and the use of existing synergies between different Committees and their expert panels.  Noting that the implementation of sanctions was always a work in progress, he expressed hope that the next Chair would continue to receive cooperation and constructive support.

The 1970 Committee on Libya, established in February 2011, was possibly the most rapidly evolving United Nations sanctions regime in years, given the rapid changes in the Libyan political context, he said.  While the core objective of the sanctions had initially been to prevent attacks on the civilian population and to prevent the former leaders from accessing funds outside the country, the measures had been modified to support the Libyan-led transition and rebuilding process and regional security, with the Committee responding promptly to the need to speed up funds for that purpose. 

In that light, he said it was important to consider early inclusion of humanitarian exemptions in sanctions regimes and to clearly determine whether subsidiaries of listed entities were subjected to sanctions.  He understood that as soon as the Libyan authorities deemed it appropriate the Council would consider delisting the remaining two listed entities.  In addition, it was necessary to consistently assess, with the cooperation of all related United Nations bodies, the serious challenges from the proliferation of arms and military material from Libya to the region.  The complexity and rapid changes in all areas required an important effort to disseminate information to United Nations delegations.

Concerning the Informal Working Group on the Council’s procedural matters, he said that it was never easy to get away from comfortable routines, but it was necessary to start by improving internal working methods.  Despite work on transparency and inclusiveness, important questions remained; effectiveness of consultations, in addition, could be increased by greater informality. 

Such matters, plus efficient use of resources, practices related to penholders, appointment of subsidiary body chairs, and inclusiveness were all dealt with in depth through a draft note now undergoing finalization, he said.  The Working Group was also considering ways to improve transparency and interaction with the wider membership.  Another such note was being discussed on ways to improve open debates, and measures to improve the annual report by providing more substantive information were also being considered.

Speaking on the work of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee and the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, Néstor Osorio of Colombia said, in regard to the Sudan group, that the potential of the sanctions regime to affect a political solution in Darfur could still be more effectively utilized, through better and more targeted implementation. 

In that context, he said, direct dialogue with the Sudanese authorities should be strengthened in order to overcome logistical problems, improve understanding of sanctions and enhance implementation.  Smooth working relations with Member States and partners were also needed, particularly to bolster the work of the Panel of Experts in collecting needed information.  He noted that only nine national implementation reports had been received.  Also important was to specify listing criteria in a detailed manner and better engage the private sector.

On Committee 1737, he welcomed the creation of the Group of Experts and he reported on the regular meetings being held with it.  Working methods had been better defined, improving dialogue with Member States, particularly with regard to timely discussion of violations.  Public meetings on the Committees work, held regularly during his tenure, should continue to improve outreach and transparency.  Independence in investigating reported violations was particularly important in maintaining the integrity of the Committee’s work, he said.

At the conclusion of the briefings, the Council President for the month, Mohammed Loulichki of Morocco, expressed the Council’s appreciation to the outgoing Chairs for the manner in which they discharged their important responsibilities.

The meeting began at 10:14 a.m. and ended at 11:07 a.m.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.