Selecting Next Secretary-General Highlights Importance of Balancing Transparency, Confidentiality, Speakers Tell Security Council at ‘Wrap-up’ Meeting

31 August 2016
7766th Meeting (PM)

Selecting Next Secretary-General Highlights Importance of Balancing Transparency, Confidentiality, Speakers Tell Security Council at ‘Wrap-up’ Meeting

The inherent tension between the need for greater confidentiality and calls for wider transparency in the Security Council’s work was highlighted during the body’s “wrap-up” meeting for the month of August.

Speakers emphasized that, although there was a need for greater confidentiality in the Council’s discussions within the consultations room, some issues, such as the suffering of the people of Syria, required greater transparency.  Failing to speak openly on that crisis would only serve to give a “free pass” to those who were instigating the war, stressed one representative.

Other delegates emphasized the importance of the Council receiving timely information on emerging threats to international peace and security, particularly with regard to situations that were developing rapidly.  Further, it was of great importance that confidentiality was honoured and that information was not relayed outside of the consultations rooms, so as not to jeopardize the discussions which took place there.

Further to the issues of confidentiality and transparency, the selection of the next Secretary-General highlighted the inherent conflict between those two concepts.  At least one speaker said that, although there was great interest in the proceedings, the results of the straw polls on the selection process required greater confidentiality, as did the conversations that had taken place with the respective candidates.

To that point, one representative noted that the results of the three selection straw polls had been leaked to the public and media almost immediately upon their conclusion.  As such, the Council’s reluctance to reform the selection process had made it impossible for the Council to operate in a spirit of transparency, nor could it guarantee confidentiality to the candidates.

On other issues, speakers noted with concern the ongoing crisis in Syria which had preoccupied the Council over the course of the month, saying that a political solution was the only viable way forward.  On the use of chemical weapons, speakers noted that their use had now been clearly established, which had necessitated a response from the Council.  Other representatives welcomed efforts to establish a 48-hour pause in the fighting near Aleppo and voiced support for the United Nations efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

Another delegate highlighted the importance of the open debate that had been held in the Council on children and armed conflict during August, saying that the discussion was both timely and important.  To that end, one speaker expressed concern that the international community still lacked appropriate terms for preventive action to protect children in armed conflict and war.

The Council’s debate on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction had highlighted that the world had become more dangerous, said one representative, who added that the expansion of terrorist organizations’ objectives and capabilities was cause for concern for all States.  Countering such realities required greater enhancement of coordination and cooperation between regional and international organizations, some speakers pointed out.

Another speaker emphasized that there were opportunities for synergies between the work of the General Assembly and the Security Council with regard to the issues of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The convergence between those two bodies based on the competencies laid out in the Charter could yield important results.

Discussions on South Sudan garnered a great deal of focus throughout the month, with one speaker saying that the establishment of a regional protection force there would represent the most effective response to address the situation on the ground.  Another delegate expressed concern that discussions on the future of that State seemingly ignored the legitimate concerns of delegations on important issues regarding the sovereignty of relevant parties.

Participating in the meeting were the representatives of New Zealand, United Kingdom, Spain, China, Egypt, Venezuela, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Uruguay, France, Japan, United States and Malaysia.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 4:25 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.