As Committee on UN Charter Continues Debate, Speakers Note Lack of ‘Political Will’ in Member States to Discuss, Consider Certain Proposals

20 February 2013

As Committee on UN Charter Continues Debate, Speakers Note Lack of ‘Political Will’ in Member States to Discuss, Consider Certain Proposals

20 February 2013
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on Charter

 and United Nations Role

269th Meeting (AM)

As Committee on UN Charter Continues Debate, Speakers Note Lack of ‘Political

Will’ in Member States to Discuss, Consider Certain Proposals


The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization lacked the political will to review the proposals for bolstering the world body’s role in maintaining peace and security, thereby jeopardizing its ability to carry out its mandate, several delegates said today, as it moved into day two of the annual session.

The proposals in front of the Committee had been put forward by several Governments and focused on:  strengthening the United Nations role in the maintenance of international peace and security; enhancing the United Nations effectiveness; creating an open-ended working group on the functioning of United Nations organs; and seeking a request for an International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the legal consequences of use of force without Security Council consent.

“We delegates” are the ones who should decide what was discussed in the Committee, Ecuador’s representative stressed, pointing to a “lack of political will among some members to discuss certain issues”.  Any discussion on the Special Committee’s working methods only detracted from the focus needed on the lack of progress.

That was an “unfortunate” situation, said the representative of the Russian Federation, as the proposal put forward by his Government and Belarus for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice was an “interesting, useful initiative”.  The representative of Belarus added that the proposal sought a unified understanding on the use of force.  The urgency of the request of a Court opinion had been pointed out in the Special Committee, as well as the Sixth Committee (Legal).  He wished see it on the agenda.

To be sure, there were reasons why the Special Committee had shown “little enthusiasm” for acting on or discussing some proposals in depth, said the United States’ delegate, stressing that several issues contained in the proposals had been taken up elsewhere in the United Nations, and further, that activities inconsistent with the roles of the United Nations principal organs, as set forth in the Charter, should not be pursued.

That included, he said, a revised working paper calling for a new, open-ended working group “to study the proper implementation of the Charter… with respect to functional relationship of its organs”, as well as a revised paper calling for a legal study of General Assembly functions and powers.  To improve efficiency, he urged that the Charter Committee consider convening biennial meetings or shortened sessions.

Venezuela’s delegate disagreed, saying that the Special Committee must encourage the appropriate functioning of each United Nations organ, especially the General Assembly, and play a more active role from a legal point of view to ensure it exercised its powers vis-à-vis peace and security.  The Assembly should reject the focus, encouraged by some, that United Nations sanctions could be used as a cover for taking unilateral actions.

Other speakers echoed those thoughts more broadly, stressing that the Assembly’s authority must be preserved and that the Special Committee was the appropriate forum to discuss that topic, especially through the lens of Security Council encroachment on issues falling under the Assembly’s purview.

Also today, the Special Committee elected Leandro Vieira Silva ( Brazil), from the Latin American and Caribbean States Group, as Vice-Chair.

Also speaking during the general discussion were the representatives of Malaysia, India, Ukraine, Sudan, El Salvador, Tunisia and Belarus.

The Special Committee will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, 21 February, to take up the peaceful settlement of disputes.

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