Amid complex crises faced by peacekeepers, and ongoing strategic reviews of those operations, now was an ideal time to examine the Security Council's working methods, delegates said today in an open debate focused on improving efficiency, transparency, inclusiveness and accountability.
Indeed, the reviews offered an opportunity to move forward on commitments made, said Ian Martin, Executive Director of Security Council Report, especially for timely consultations, information sharing and more interactive informal consultations among the Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police contributing countries.
The quality of such negotiations � and their outcomes � was of supreme importance to the Council's effectiveness, he said, and never more so than when adopting or revising the mandate of a peace operation. Troop- and police contributing countries had a special stake.
It is depressing to me, as a former member of the High level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, to contrast the repeated commitments to enhanced interaction over two decades with what our report described as a lack of effective dialogue generating frustration on all sides and affecting mandate implementation, he emphasized.
Addressing concerns about the penholder system, he said that in practice, three permanent members were the sole penholders on the overwhelming majority of country situations on the Council's agenda. Initiatives by elected members � on the humanitarian aspects of the conflict in Syria and on the protection of medical personnel � highlighted what could be achieved, but remained all too rare.
In the ensuing debate, more than 50 speakers took the floor to offer solutions, with the representative of the Russian Federation stressing that reforms would only be effective when Council members stopped promoting politicized approaches, and instead, addressed mutual concerns and priorities. He did not support meetings on thematic topics that fell under the purview of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, and while transparency was important, it should not hinder frank discussions.
Ethiopia's representative echoed that sentiment, voicing support for greater transparency, and concern about the holding of more open meetings, which, when members were divided, might not be helpful.
Enhancing the Council's relationship with the wider United Nations membership and other United Nations organs was a critical focus for the 25 members of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said Switzerland's representative on its behalf. While some situations required closed door meetings, closer interaction was needed to avoid situations where the Security Council drifts away from the larger membership � and thus the world.
The United Kingdom's delegate said the Council must hear more from civil society, particularly women. Last year, only 30 civil society representatives briefed the Council, and less than a quarter of all briefers were women.
Many speakers referred to the note by the President of the Security Council � or note 507 � revised in 2017, which sets out guidance for the body's work. We need to do things that may seem simple, like listening to what others say in Council meetings and consultations, Japan's delegate said, recalling his country's lead role in revising note 507. Unanimity or consensus were not an end in themselves. Rather, it was important to resolve suffering on the ground.
Germany's delegate pointed out that since 1946, the Council had functioned under provisional rules of procedure once considered a temporary solution. That alone underscored the need for arrangements to allow the participation of all concerned. Unfortunately, this is not the case, he said. The absence of clearly written rules placed elected members at a considerable disadvantage.
India's delegate, meanwhile, said there were 14 sanctions committees, which cumulatively listed 678 individuals and 385 entities subject to such measures. Yet, each of those decisions had been made beyond the gaze of public knowledge, with no explanation of the inputs that had informed them. Those anomalies not only affected the Council's credibility, but impacted the Member States required to enforce the sanctions regime.
That view was shared by Bolivia's representative, who said the success of sanctions hinged on cooperation by all Member States. Yet the details of those regimes were not easily accessible or transparent, including for States being sanctioned.
On the related topic of veto use, Australia's delegate said 2017 had seen the most vetoes cast in more than two decades, impeding decisive action by the Council on egregious crimes in the Syrian conflict. We must move urgently, decisively and in unison to agree on clear limitations on the veto, she stressed. On that point, Mexico's delegate recalled a proposal by his country and France to limit veto use in cases of mass atrocity crimes.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Kuwait, United States, France, Peru, Kazakhstan, Poland, CAte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Sweden, Netherlands, China, Brazil, Hungary, Norway, Iran, South Africa, Argentina, Turkey, Pakistan, Estonia, Portugal, Lebanon, Morocco, Singapore, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Italy, Chile, New Zealand, Ukraine, Belgium, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Finland, Thailand, Cuba, Venezuela, Maldives, Slovakia, Uruguay, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Algeria and Egypt.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 4:15 p.m.
IAN MARTIN, Executive Director of Security Council Report, said recent developments in Council practice centred on advances in transparency and effectiveness. The General Assembly's decision to allow for the early election of non permanent Council members was noteworthy, and the subsequent Council decision to invite newly elected members to earlier observation of its meetings was a significant contribution to their ability to prepare for membership. Further, the commitment to earlier designation of the chairs of subsidiary bodies had allowed for the more effective handover of those responsibilities. Security Council Report sought to make its own contribution to the preparation of elected members by offering its knowledge and experience, including on working methods.
He said previous open debates underscored repeated concern regarding the operation of the penholder system, especially the narrowing of space for initiatives by elected members. The joint statement of six elected members from six regions in the October 2015 open debate noted that the system has diminished the opportunity for wider Council engagement, especially by the elected members, and cuts across the principle of collective responsibility that underpins the Charter. The note by the President of the Security Council (document S/2017/507) � or note 507 � reiterated that any Council member may be a penholder, and also that more than one member may act as co penholders. However, in practice, only three permanent members remained the sole penholders on the overwhelming majority of country situations on the Council's agenda. Initiatives by elected members on the humanitarian aspects of the conflict in Syria and on the protection of medical personnel demonstrated what could be achieved, but remained all too rare. Co penholdership would surely be a way of drawing more fully on those chairing the relevant sanctions committee, or those with regional or other strong expertise on country situations.
Closely linked to the penholder system was the manner of negotiations, he said, on which his organization closely reported. The quality of negotiations and their outcomes were of supreme importance to the effectiveness of the Council. The latest note 507 addressed this more fully than its predecessors and stressed that drafting should be carried out in an inclusive manner; that penholders should engage in timely consultation with all members with openness and flexibility; that there should be at least one round of discussions with all members; and that penholders should provide a reasonably sufficient time for consideration by all members. Moreover, there should be informal consultation in an early manner with the broader membership. Although this might seem an obvious statement of good practice, it was far from being the reality.
He said the quality of negotiations was never more important than when the Council was adopting or revising the mandate of a peace operation. In that context troop- and police contributing countries had a special stake. It is depressing to me, as a former member of the High level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, to contrast the repeated commitments to enhanced interaction over two decades with what our report described as a lack of effective dialogue generating frustration on all sides and affecting mandate implementation, he said. Given the Council's current focus on strategic reviews of peace operations, and the crises faced today by so many operations, there could not be a more important time for it to move forward on the commitments made to timely consultations, information sharing and more interactive and focused informal consultations among Council members, the Secretariat and troop- and police contributing countries.
Note 507 detailed a number of ways information from the Secretariat could be presented in a more helpful manner, he said, including through greater interaction with briefers. Yet, during negotiations of the note, members had been unable to agree on a reference to situational awareness briefings, particularly an appropriate format for the Council to receive early warning of situations which could require its consideration. At a time when the Council and the Secretary General were focused on conflict prevention, it was important that Council members reach agreement among themselves and with the Secretariat on how they wished to be kept informed, and thus ready to engage promptly on emerging threats to peace and security. Successive notes 507 had been valuable codifications of existing agreements regarding Council practice; but advances in those practices depended on the constant creativity and initiative of Council members themselves.
MANSOUR A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), Council President for February, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that there was still room for improving the working methods of the body to increase its role in maintaining international peace and security. Article 25 of the United Nations Charter must be implemented, and the Council should comply with other Articles in the Charter to ensure the transparency of its decisions, especially concerning sanctions and peacekeeping operations. While the General Assembly was discussing Security Council reform, at the same time it was important to address the right to veto. The abuse of the veto by a certain number of permanent Council members had undermined the credibility of the Council's decision making process. Some permanent members had used the veto during past years to protect their own national rights and interests and the interests of their allies. Member States of the Council had pledged to not obstruct any resolution that addressed crimes against humanity and war crimes. Use of the veto must be restrained in those situations and when dealing with humanitarian issues.
AMY NOEL TACHCO (United States) said that it was easy to get bogged down in the details of working methods, but those details were important. Her country wanted to focus on people. It needed to listen to the people affected by the Council's decisions. If the perspectives of people in Syria, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo could be captured, the Council's perspective would change. Civil society and humanitarian experts briefed the Council because voices from the field were important and differed from other types of reports. From them, the Council heard about cases of torture and arbitrary arrest, and could use that information to inform its view of conflicts. The Council must listen to the voices of women and girls in conflicts, and it must recognize the need to include them at every stage of conflict and peacebuilding. Once conflict emerged, the Council immersed itself in the details of peacekeeping missions, but if it acted decisively when hearing of human rights violations, it stood a better chance of stopping conflict in the first place.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that discussions over the past several years with a broad range of Member States had helped identify issues where there was a real potential for improving the Security Council's existing working methods. The Council's effectiveness and performance in maintaining international peace and security must be improved. Crowd pleasing was not helpful and it should be avoided. Transparency was important, but should not become an obstacle for frank discussions among Council members. His delegation did not support Council meetings on thematic topics, including on topics that fell under the competence of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, as doing so undermined the established division of labour and distracted the Security Council from focusing on its mandated tasks. It was unacceptable that certain meetings were being transformed into self promotion exercises.
Being a penholder meant having additional responsibility, and in fulfilling that role it was important to act respectfully and to keep abreast of recent developments, he said. The lack of activity of some penholders often resulted in some crises slipping from view. It was unacceptable that the Security Council was often working under artificial time crunches and was constantly under pressure, which made it difficult to fully examine documents. He expressed concern about the arbitrary interpretation of the formats under which regional situations were examined. Improving the working methods was an ongoing process, but that endeavour would only be truly effective when Council members stopped trying to promote politicized approaches and opted for paths that took into account mutual concerns and priorities. The veto power did not fall under the purview of the Council's working methods, he said, adding that the veto was not a privilege, but rather a guarantee that made it possible for the Council to reach balanced decisions.
ANNE GUEGUEN (France) stressed that the Security Council must know how to adapt its methods and operations to changing environments and must cast a reflective and critical approach to its work, when necessary. The flexibility of the rules that governed the Council was one of the strengths of the body. Note 507 had been simplified and had become an important reference document, which France had used during its presidency of the Council. During consultations there must be more interactive discussions to foster a true exchange of views, there must be time limits put in place for statements and greater efforts to ensure statements were operational in nature. Further, the Council should seek to adapt meeting formats, including in cases of public briefings which were followed by consultations. It was essential to ensure systematic respect for multilingualism in all the Council's activities, and the entity should seek to improve the transparency of its work, including with regard to troop contributing countries. The structure of the Council should better reflect the realities of the world, while also improving its capacity and legitimacy for carrying out its mandate. France called for the permanent Council members to voluntarily suspend the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said that it was important to develop working practices based on efficiency, transparency, due process and predictability, among other matters. Referring to note 507, he said that he recognized the contributions of Member States and those of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, of which his country was a member. Its code of conduct underscored the rules governing the use of the veto when addressing heinous crimes. For his delegation, it was useful to observe the Council's consultations three months before becoming a new member. That practice should be consolidated. Note 507 recognized that all Member States of the Council should be able to propose and draft documents, and that was positive in regard to penholdership. Peru was ready to take on that responsibility, he said.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said that it was timely to review the implementation of note 507. His country was among the first elected members to welcome and test the implementation of provisions on transitional arrangements for the new non permanent Council members in response to the call of the broader United Nations membership to uphold the principles of transparency and inclusiveness in the reforms. Elected members had an important role to play and could take responsibility for how the Council operated, without expostulating on veto power. During Kazakhstan's presidency of the Council it strove for openness, inclusiveness and liability. It also ensured the adoption of press statements following almost every consultation in January. The Council's core capabilities to prevent conflict were closely related to its working methods. While he recognized that systematizing existing and new Council practices was desirable, just documenting them might not result in better performance.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland), paying tribute to all those who contributed to the improvement of the Council's working methods so far, said that several recent provisions were important for non permanent members. Her country would welcome full implementation by the Council of the measures set forth in note 507. In the spirit of solidarity, she also wished to consider a few additional ideas to increase transparency and inclusiveness. She would welcome developments regarding a prevention oriented approach within the Council, so that matters that would affect international peace and security would be covered early. Using the United Nations Department of Political Affairs for briefings on situations that may escalate would be helpful in discharging the Council's responsibility. Her delegation was keen to focus on strengthening of international law in the context of international peace and security, and would welcome an exchange of views on how the Council's outcomes were applicable to international law.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said that new and emerging challenges to international peace and security required the Council to be better organized to keep pace with the changing times, while also being responsive and effective in carrying out its responsibilities. He expressed concern that there were several recurring items that appeared on the Council's programme of work, even though there were no new developments to speak of, and in that connection, he called for better prioritization of the items the Council took up. Regarding thematic debates, there was a growing tendency to bring up issues that were not within the Council's purview. His delegation supported efforts to enhance the transparency of the Council, yet had concerns about the practice of holding more meetings in the open chamber, particularly as on some issues displaying a divided Council may not necessarily be helpful. Reports of the Secretary General were very useful, particularly for elected Council members, but the challenge was to figure out how to ensure that those reports were concise, timely and relevant. Briefings by Special Representatives needed to be more concise and draw attention to issues that required Council action, while briefings from regional or subregional organizations were helpful, although the content of those briefings should be synchronized with other briefers.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said that the new note 507 was a valuable resource for new and current members of the Council, including the new language on the negotiation process and cooperation with non Council bodies. Many parts of the note focused on best practices and signalled the Council's desire to become a more inclusive, transparent and effective body. The Security Council needed to work closely with troop- and police contributing countries and needed to hear more from civil society, particularly the perspectives of women. Last year only 30 representatives of civil society briefed the Council and less than a quarter of all briefers were women. There was a need to ensure that meetings were more action oriented and that consultations were more interactive. The Council must work harder to do more on preventative diplomacy, including focusing on the conflicts of today and tomorrow, not only those of previous decades. As the world's threats evolved, so too must the Council.
BERNARD TANOH-BOUTCHOUE (CAte d'Ivoire) expressed support for the decision that allowed newly elected Council members to participate in the Council's activities three months prior to the beginning of their mandates. Regarding consultations, he welcomed efforts to promote dialogue with troop- and police contributing countries. Field missions made it possible for the Council to understand the true problems facing countries, by allowing Council members to come into contact with all stakeholders and promote dialogue. Such missions were also a direct channel for information, making it possible for the Council to assess whether progress was being made and exercise pressure on the parties to conflict to better meet their commitments. His delegation appreciated the Council's relations with the press, including the issuance of press statements, which made it possible to disseminate information on the Council's actions to the general public.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) pointed out that note 507 did not mention sanctions, as those were governed by various sanctions committees, nor did it mention the working methods on interactions with troop contributing countries, which were governed by Security Council resolution 1353 (2001). In 2010, the Council adopted a revised note 507 that built on the momentum of the improvement of the work carried out by that body. The existence of the veto was an obstacle in the work of the Council, and often prevented nations around the world from demonstrating that there was no place for impunity. The veto was part of a bygone era, was undemocratic and should be reformed, he said. It should stop being a sacrosanct element of the Council.
OLOF SKOOG (Sweden) said that working methods were a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. They created the framework that enabled every Council member to be fully informed and to contribute to informed discussions. Since Sweden joined the body, it had called for a minimum outcome from all consultations in the form of agreed messages to be given to the wider membership and the media. That increased transparency and brought a focus to the work of the Council. An honest conversation was needed on the system of penholders. If that system was to continue, such responsibility should be distributed evenly between both permanent and elected members. Interaction with the broader membership had to be improved and enhanced, and the Council needed to talk with countries, and not about them.
KAREL VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) provided several suggestions on improving working methods. To facilitate the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Council could explicitly weigh the means and options provided for by Chapter VI of the Charter, guided by an inventory of past experiences. Compliance monitoring mechanisms for Council resolutions must be fostered by, among other things, enhancing cooperation with international legal mechanisms, he said, raising concern about the continuing vacancy of the Ombudsperson of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities. In addition, he recommended strengthening the advisory role of the Military Staff Committee and conducting more proactive and intensified dialogue between elected and permanent Council members. Implementing the new measures was the best way to ensure the Council worked effectively to face current challenges, he said, expressing support for the proposed guidelines on not using the veto in mass atrocity cases.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLA�Z (Bolivia) said that working methods were one of the most important issues that the Security Council must grapple with. Awareness and mastery of those working methods helped ensure elected members could operate on the same footing as permanent members, and in that regard, the Security Council should conduct negotiations that would lead to the approval of final rules and procedures. He highlighted the importance of the early election of members of the Council and their early participation in Council proceedings. Sanctions had become one of the most frequently used tools used by the United Nations, and their success depended on the cooperation of all Member States; thus the details of sanctions regimes must be more accessible and transparent, particularly for those States that were being sanctioned. He stressed the need for all documentation to be given adequate time for consideration and consultation by Council members. More and more elected members should be appointed as penholders on various issues. He expressed concern that issues were incorporated into the Security Council's programme that corresponded to the mandates of other bodies within the United Nations.
MA ZHAOXU (China) underlined that the Security Council shouldered a momentous responsibility when it came to tackling international peace and security threats. In recent years, the Council had convened numerous open debates on its working methods, which was a demonstration of its steadfast desire to improve its effectiveness. There had been a tangible increase in the Council's open debates, which highlighted the need for greater coordination with other United Nations bodies and regional and subregional bodies. The Council must stay focused on key issues and ensure the effective execution of its mandate, which underscored the need for careful adherence to the Charter as it applied to the Council's responsibilities. The Council must coordinate with other United Nations bodies when it came to thematic debates so all could play their role and avoid duplication. Regarding decision making, negotiations should be conducted with a view toward reaching consensus, including ensuring all members had adequate time to review relevant documentation. The Council must encourage greater information exchanges and value the views of all parties, and in that context, the Council should more actively engage with troop contributing countries, valuing their views and concerns during mission deployment and mandate adjustment.
KORO BESSHO (Japan), recalling his delegation's leading role in revising note 507 and putting its content into action, added that we need to do things that may seem simple, like listening to what others say in Council meetings and consultations. Discussions would never be truly interactive unless parties were in the same room. Unanimity or consensus in the Council's working methods were important, but not an end in themselves; instead, the important thing was to alleviate and resolve suffering on the ground. On open debates, he encouraged the Council President to remain present until the end in order to listen to the views of the wider United Nations membership, and called for more presidential summaries, earlier distribution of concept notes and the circulation of speakers lists one day in advance. Any Council member demonstrating willingness and ideas should be encouraged to take part in the Council's drafting process, he said, adding that the Chairs of sanctions committees could contribute more on sanctions related resolutions. Meanwhile, troop contributing countries might be able to contribute on mandate renewals, and co penholding could be further explored to better utilize Council members' expertise and share burdens.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil), citing an increase in the number of letters submitted to the Council seeking to justify military action � especially in the context of counter terrorism � said there was room for improvement in the content, timing and circulation of such letters, submitted under Article 51 of the Charter. States must provide sufficient information on attacks based on the invocation of self defence to allow for the appraisal of proportionality and necessity. Proposing the creation of a dedicated section on the Council's website listing all communications received under Article 51, he stressed that the body's exceptional authorization of military intervention must be carried out responsibly so as not to harm those whose protection was being invoked. Urging the Council to draw inspiration from the peacekeeping and sanctions regimes to ensure that resolutions included sunset clauses, demanded adequate reporting and established panels of experts to monitor implementation, he emphasized that we cannot allow for the erosion of the authority of the Charter, especially regarding the rules on the use of force. He echoed expressions of support for enhanced consultation and engagement with troop- and police contributing countries, the Peacebuilding Commission and international courts.
KATALIN ANNAMA�RIA BOGYAY (Hungary) said in the quest to form a more effective Council, her country supported efforts towards greater transparency. A more effective use of current measures and practices were necessary in some areas. The Council's report to the General Assembly should provide a more comprehensive review of its work. She strongly supported the idea that the Council increase its number of public briefings and informative interactive dialogues. More wrap up sessions would enhance the flow of information and help the wider United Nations membership understand the Council's position. It should use existing tools to prevent mass atrocities, and take into account the 2015 review processes on the Organization's peacebuilding architecture. As a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, she said that Hungary advocated for refraining voluntarily from the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocity.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) noted that there were 14 sanctions committees established under various Security Council resolutions and that cumulatively, those committees had listed a total of 678 individuals and 385 entities as subject to United Nations targeted sanctions and restrictive measures. Yet, each of those decisions of the sanctions committees were taken beyond the gaze of public knowledge, with no explanation of the inputs that went into them. The challenges related to the working methods of the sanctions committees were not merely related to transparency and accountability, he said, and in that context a case existed for the Council to address the anomalies in the committees' working methods. Those anomalies not only affected the efficiency and credibility of the work of the Council, but also impacted the larger membership that was required to implement the Council's decisions.
JARG LAUBER (Switzerland), speaking on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, drew attention to efforts on behalf of its 25 member States in four key areas: Enabling non permanent Council members to be fully involved with Council business, including through their early access to as many relevant resources and documents as possible; improving the Council's drafting and decision making procedures by enabling its elected members to participate in the penholder system; ensuring due process with regards to targeted sanctions, including by appointing an Ombudsperson and extending his or her mandate to other sanctions regimes; and enhancing the Council's relationship with the wider United Nations membership and other United Nations organs. Citing several positive developments in that area in recent years, he said that, while some situations required closed door meetings, closer interaction where possible was needed to avoid situations where the Security Council drifts away from the larger membership � and thus the world � when it is in some situations not able to take decisions due to the use of the veto. Finally, he encouraged all States � both members and non members of the Council � to adhere to the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group's code of conduct and implement it.
JUERGEN SCHULZ (Germany), pointing out that since 1946 the Council had been working under a set of provisional rules of procedure � once considered a temporary solution � which underscored the need for any such working arrangements to be transparent, understandable and clear enough to allow for the sufficient participation of all concerned. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to the working methods of the Security Council, he said, adding that the absence of clear written rules put the body's elected members at a considerable disadvantage. Welcoming the 2017 updates to note 507, he said members should now focus on implementing their provisions, especially regarding the development and drafting of Council products; the relationship between the Council and troop- and police contributing countries; and the Council's interaction with the Peacebuilding Commission. As a newly elected Vice Chair of the latter, Germany supported efforts to strengthen links between the two bodies to enhance the United Nations ability to move more seamlessly from crisis response to long term peacebuilding. Finally, he warned that discussions on the Council's working methods should not distract from the more fundamental matter of reforming its composition to better reflect today's realities.
MAY-ELIN STENER (Norway) said to maintain momentum in the reform process, the Council must continue to constructively debate its working methods with a view to striking a balance between gaining the wider United Nations membership's support and enabling it to take prompt and effective action. Fully implementing agreed measures in note 507 would be crucial in maintaining that balance, she said, calling on the Council to swiftly enforce them. A relevant and strong United Nations required an efficient, transparent and inclusive Security Council to meet today's international peace and security challenges and to improve global governance.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) said that the Council's provisional rules of the procedure, which had remained provisional for 70 years, should be formalized to improve transparency and accountability. Closed meetings and informal consultations should be kept to a minimum and should be the exception rather than the rule. It was vital for the Council's credibility to reject the intentions to turn it into a tool to pursue national political interests and agendas. That intention to use the Council as a tool for more dangerous ends could not have been made clearer than in the statement by the representative of the United States at the meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on 5 March 2006. In addition, on 5 January 2018, the United States pushed for an emergency meeting on an issue that flagrantly fell outside the scope of the Council's mandate. On 29 January 2018, the United States Mission set up a show to present members of the Council with some fabricated evidence, such as a destroyed yet intact missile supplied by Saudi Arabia. Those examples discredited the Council, which also failed to take the slightest action when it came to genuine issues, such as the occupation of Palestinian territory by the Israeli regime.
JERRY MATJILA (South Africa) said the Council's structure had been contested almost since its inception, given that only 5 members carried veto power and only 15 members made decisions on behalf of the entire United Nations membership. While note 507 further improved working methods, the question remained about whether the Council would implement those changes. To develop a more effective Council, he cited recommendations such as boosting consultations and coordination with troop- and police contributing countries and holding annual joint meetings and informal dialogues with the African Union Peace and Security Council. On the latter, the Council should avoid being selective in its approach, he said, adding that the recommendation's language could be strengthened to emphasize the necessity of cooperation. The Council should also continue to enhance its relations with the Peacebuilding Commission and seek the view of Member States that were parties to a conflict or affected by it.
GABRIELA MARTINIC (Argentina), welcoming the latest revised version of note 507 as a balanced and useful text, said her delegation had always advocated for a more transparent, democratic and efficient Security Council. During the country's Council presidency in 2000, Argentina had initiated the practice of inviting previous Council members to participate as observers, and during its chairmanship of the Informal Working Group in 2013 2014 it carried out numerous dialogues with troop- and police contributing countries and drafted output documents on such issues as the Council's penholder system. Periodic reviews of note 507 and other relevant documents remained critical, with adjustments and gaps identified and addressed as needed. Calling for the development of a single, exhaustive document that could streamline and consolidate all discussions on the Council's working methods, she said that in order to fulfil its wide range of responsibilities the body must coordinate closely with other actors. However, Argentina did not wish to see the Council take on functions of other bodies. Due process was needed in all its sanctions committees, with an ombudsperson appointed for each, as was stronger follow up on situations referred by the Council to the International Criminal Court.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOGLU (Turkey) said the Council's working methods were an issue that concerned the entire United Nations membership. The more transparency the Council displayed, the more accountable it would be. The more it shared information, consulted and accepted input, the more effective it would become. He acknowledged that some progress had been achieved in improving work methods. Much of note 507 addressed the ways in which the Council communicated with the world and the degree to which information about it was available. Yet, there was room for improvement in terms of more informative briefings, timely availability of draft resolutions and presidential statements, and a decrease in the frequency of closed meetings.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the Council's enhanced engagement with the wider United Nations membership was critical, as everyone had a stake in the maintenance of international peace and security. The number and proportion of open meetings must be increased, while the meaningful participation of States with a legitimate stake in the Council's deliberations should be ensured throughout the decision making process. That was especially true for troop- and police contributing countries, Pakistan among them. The body should also be more transparent and balanced in the work of its subsidiary organs, while elected members should have a more equitable representation on them and play a bigger role as penholders.
MINNA-LIINA LIND (Estonia) said that her country could not speak about the everyday work of the Council as it had never served as a member. The main goal should be the increased ownership of the Council's work by all countries and its accountability to the membership. Recalling the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group's position that the Council's interaction with the Assembly must be improved to live up to the expectations of the membership and the new standard of openness and transparency, she advocated a review of the Council's working methods, building on recent discussions among members. The Group had also recalled the Council's responsibility in reaching consensus on a recommendation to the Assembly for the appointment of the Secretary General. Further, it had called for regular public briefings by the Council on developments in the nomination process.
FRANCISCO DUARTE LOPES (Portugal), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, welcomed open debates as an expression of the commitment to greater transparency and openness to non Council members. Whenever a debate was expected to have an outcome, the Council should decide, at a later stage, to allow the input of non members to be reflected in it. He also noted that an increasing number of Council members expressed their views publicly at briefings, which fostered transparency and allowed members to have their views on record. He encouraged the Council to better use its subsidiary bodies, such as the sanctions committees and the working groups, to ensure that it captured early signs of emerging threats to peace and security.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon) said an urgent twenty first century update of the Council's working methods and architecture must reflect modern challenges. The Council must be made more transparent and efficient, notably by better communicating with and involving more Member States in decision making. Improvements in qualitative access to information must be coupled with a qualitative and participatory approach. The Council's annual report to the Assembly must be more analytical, ask difficult questions, draw on lessons learned and call for common action. We look forward to seeing in the coming report the reasons behind the crippling effect of vetoes exercised last year on matters affecting peace and security and leading to further protracted conflict with massive human cost, he said, emphasizing that the Council and Assembly should operate in a productive framework of shared responsibility in the widest interpretation of the threats to international peace and security.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) said the new measures provided an updated substantial document that could support further improvements. The Charter had conferred on the Council important duties, he said, noting that reforms had already seen more debates on working methods and new processes for selection of the Secretary General and Council elections. Such activities had increased transparency and effectiveness, he said, and the new measures would enhance those efforts. Morocco supported preventive diplomacy and the need to promote dispute settlement, both areas that had seen improvements in the Council's work. Discussions on working methods were part of the Secretary General's overall new vision for the United Nations, he said, emphasizing his support for continued related efforts.
JO PHIE TANG (Singapore) praised recent progress to enhance transparency and inclusion, but raised concerns about efforts to improve effectiveness, notably when the Council was unable to reach consensus and on the issue of veto use. She asked members, especially permanent ones, to reflect on their role in the maintenance of peace and security, adding that robust debate must be accompanied by a willingness to achieve a meaningful impact on the ground. Suggesting practical steps forward, she said more must be done to involve concerned States or regional bodies on decisions affecting them. The Council must also examine ways to improve sanctions implementation, while the outcomes of reviews on United Nations sanctions should built upon, with the Council working with the Assembly to take the issue forward. Further, more must be done to strengthen the role and voice of elected members. The Council, as a whole, must account for its performance by adopting its own rules of procedure. Recalling that the Assembly had sought to improve that situation in 1952 by mandating a Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, she said 66 years on, the Council must do its part.
CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LA�PEZ (Colombia) said today's meeting demonstrated the Council's commitment to transparency and efficiency. He welcomed progress in enhancing the participation of non permanent members as penholders and raising public awareness about the Council's work. Making progress was especially crucial given the Secretary General's efforts to reform the Organization's peace and security pillar. Calling for action to build a decision making culture in line with our shared interests, he said Council reports should help the wider United Nations membership and the public better understand situations on its agenda. Turning to the ongoing process to revitalize the General Assembly, he said Colombia and Croatia had been appointed to co Chair the Ad Hoc Working Group on that issue, which was closely related to other reforms.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said an effective Council responding to such crises as the Korean Peninsula, Syria and Yemen was critical, yet paralysis in carrying out its functions must end. The veto had played a central and unfortunate role, having been repeatedly used in stark opposition to the Charter's spirit. Permanent members must play a leading role in upholding the Council's decisions. The Code of Conduct regarding action against mass atrocity crimes had won support of 114 States, including two permanent Council members, he said, calling on all States to join and emphasizing that Liechtenstein only supported Council candidacies from those that had joined. Further, the Council must act as an enforcer of accountability. In addition, it must use a new tool, added by States Parties to the Rome Statute, which activated the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction over crimes of aggression when it entered into force in July. That landmark development in the history of international law complemented the prohibition of the illegal use of force in the United Nations Charter. The Council should thus use its Court referral powers wisely, as it had tremendous potential for holding leaders who had committed illegal acts of aggression accountable, and deterring illegal war making in the first place.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) said the newly agreed measures responded to the demand for the Council's enhanced transparency, inclusiveness and interaction with the rest of the United Nations membership, reflecting improvements such as the new selection process for subsidiary organ chairs and the ways to share Council terms, as Italy and the Netherlands were doing. Going forward, the Council must boldly interpret the guidance presented in note 507, with the role of the elected 10 members being crucial. Presenting several suggestions, he said the Council must more closely cooperate with Peacebuilding Commission and must give due consideration to troop- and police contributing countries. Italy also welcomed the co penholdership practice that brought added value to the drafting process, which should also include consultations with the broader United Nations membership and concerned States and regional organizations.
BELA�N SAPAG MUA�OZ DE LA PEA�A (Chile), agreeing with the majority of recommendations heard today, underlined the need for the Council to work closely with the Peacebuilding Commission and with troop contributing countries. She encouraged members to exercise moderation on veto use and to pay adequate attention to addressing pertinent issues. She recommended strengthening elected members' role, allowing them to be considered as co penholders. During the last wrap up session, organized by Kazakhstan, actors in the region contributed to discussions, and thus lightened the Council's procedural load. She also recommended giving voice to groups involved in situations under the Council's scope in the drafting of discussion papers. Transparency of subsidiary bodies should also be enhanced by using online communications.
CRAIG JOHN HAWKE (New Zealand), welcoming note 507 as an important codification, stressed that it must be met with a change in the Council's culture. First, working methods should empower elected members to be fully involved in collective decision making, as some important decisions were currently negotiated without them, leaving them to be presented with last minute, take it or leave it proposals with no realistic opportunity to participate. Meanwhile, penholdership could become distorted to exclude meaningful input from elected members. Elected members should themselves be ambitious and enact the changed behaviour they wish to see in the Council, he said, citing New Zealand's work with four other such members to draft and secure the unanimous adoption of resolution 2286 (2016) on health care in armed conflict as a positive example. Working methods should also enable meaningful engagement with troop- and police contributing countries through more informal triangular consultations. Working methods should strengthen the Council's capacity to prevent conflict, with all members kept well informed of developments and potential threats to international peace and security.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine) said his country, during its Council presidency, had favoured open meetings whenever possible and worked to summarize discussions, including at media stakeouts. Ukraine had taken the same attitude in its duties as Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2127 (2013) concerning the Central African Republic and the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, convening meetings with the participation of regional States and holding joint informal consultations with other committees. Citing the Council's successful political intervention in the post electoral crisis in the Gambia, which testified to the body's potential in conflict prevention, he expressed hope that preventive diplomacy would become a staple of its work. On veto use, Ukraine supported the Code of Conduct regarding the action in response to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as France and Mexico's joint initiative on suspending veto use in mass atrocities cases. While recent years would be remembered as a time when repeated vetoes � primarily by the Russian Federation � had strained the Council's reputation to a point almost beyond repair, it was never too late to stop abusing veto power.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) said working methods should be considered part of a broader United Nations reform, urging all to address the causes of conflict and pressing the Council to continue to work in the interest of international security. It must also make the most of information generated by the entire United Nations to improve its work. Proposing several ideas, he said Council relations should be strengthened with the Peacebuilding Commission, which would enrich discussions on countries and regions. In addition, the Council must step up exchanges with all pertinent stakeholders in crisis or conflict situations, particularly regional actors. Dialogue with troop- and police contributing countries must be strengthened, he said, as must progress related to procedural guarantees involving sanctions.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), noting that the Council's working methods were not an end but a means to an end, stressed that the goal must be the effective and equitable resolution of conflicts based on United Nations Charter principles and relevant international law. Welcoming positive developments in the past decade, he nevertheless declared: The Council should not mirror power statuses but stand up credibly for the weak and powerless. On far too many occasions, the body had been impeded by the veto in the face of mass atrocities and severe violations of international law. While Indonesia supported abolition of the veto power, it also favoured proposals by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group and by France and Mexico. Until veto regulation was achieved, a formal explanation of veto use by the five permanent Council members should be made available to the General Assembly. Also calling for regular and meaningful cooperation with troop- and police contributing countries throughout the various mission stages and strategy decisions, he said the Council should also draw more on the Peacebuilding Commission's expertise and abide by Articles 31 and 32 of the Charter, fully taking into account the views of affected non member countries.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) recalled that the Secretary General had risen to the occasion of his responsibility under Article 99 of the Charter following reported mass atrocity crimes in Myanmar's Rakhine State, making the Council aware of potential threats to international peace and security posed by the crisis. That practice should be encouraged more regularly as warranted by any humanitarian situation likely to be compromised by otherwise political considerations, he said, noting that Council meetings on the Rohingya crisis had led to the adoption of a fairly comprehensive presidential statement. Regular briefings and consultations on the situation should continue, and the Council should consider visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh to meet with the more than 680,000 people who had fled into his country. Thus far, the Council had found it difficult to adopt a resolution on the situation, due mostly to the potential for veto use against it, he said, stressing that vetoes should be avoided in cases of mass atrocity crimes. Citing reports from United Nations bodies that had unequivocally referred to mass atrocity crimes against the Rohingya, he called for decisive action by the Council to help restore their confidence in the possibility of a safe, dignified and voluntary return to Myanmar.
OMAR CASTAA�EDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said today's discussion could help lay a solid groundwork for the implementation of note 507. While some progress had been made, codifying best practices is a task that never ends, and there was always room for improvement. While there had been more open meetings, debates and Arria formula meetings in recent years, he expressed regret that there had been fewer wrap up sessions and meetings between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. Note 507 underlined the importance of such interactions, enabling the Council to obtain updated information in work to prevent conflict. The appointment of subsidiary bodies Chairs must always be done in an equitable manner, while that of expert panels should be more transparent and take into account issues of geographic and gender balance. Enhanced coordination with troop- and police contributing countries was also crucial, he said.
TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said interest abounded for further progress through the informal working group and annual open debates on working methods. Presenting suggestions, he said unity among permanent members was absolutely necessary and that the broader United Nations membership should be given more opportunities to be heard. The Council's effectiveness depended on implementation of its decisions. The fact that unlawful use of force against sovereign States and the resulting military occupation of their territories continued � notwithstanding Council resolutions, including those referring to regional arrangements � did not mean that such a state of affairs constituted accepted Council practice. Achieving peace and security was hardly achievable if universally recognized principles were overtly disregarded by aggressors to whitewash their illegal actions. At a time of increased armed conflict, forced displacement and terrorist threats, more actions were required at all levels to safeguard international peace and security.
ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) expressed support for the establishment of permanent and elected Council seats for Arab countries, noting that Council reform, begun in 1993, had yielded greater complementarity with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. However, practical solutions must lead to change. Most Member States had agreed on the Council's dysfunction, which had prevented it from taking effective conflict prevention action in the case of Syria. Offering suggestions, he said elected members must participate in all of the Council's work and a code of conduct must be adopted, requiring members to refrain from blocking resolutions that involved genocide and mass atrocities. In addition, an ombudsperson must be named for the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999), 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh), Al Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.
DAVID GREGORY YARDLEY (Australia), recalling that Article 24 of the Charter enshrined the Council's responsibility to act on behalf of the entire United Nations membership, called for broader engagement in that regard, including through regular briefings to regional groups and outreach to affected countries. Sanctions were one area demonstrating that much of the Council's work in fact relied on non members to implement its decisions. Many of the 2015 High Level Review of UN Sanctions Compendium and its 2016 follow up report, launched by Australia and several other States, were now being implemented, with the goal of enhancing cooperation, collaboration, transparency and capacity building. We must move urgently, decisively and in unison to agree on clear limitations on the veto, she added, noting that too often the Council had failed in its mandate because narrow interests had been allowed to prevail over those of the most vulnerable. The year 2017 had seen the most vetoes cast in over two decades, impeding decisive action in response to some of the most egregious crimes in the Syrian conflict. She therefore called on all Council members, current and incoming, to commit unambiguously to the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group's code of conduct and the French Mexican initiative on restricting the use of the veto in situations of mass atrocity.
KAI SAUER (Finland), associating himself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, spotlighted the preparation of newly elected Council members as one issue that merited more consideration. Finland, in cooperation with Columbia University and other partners, had supported the preparation of elected members through workshops, and it favoured earlier elections to help members better prepare. Voicing support for increased interaction between the Council and partners such as regional and non governmental organizations � including as briefers coming before the Council � he said open debates and informal, interactive dialogues and informal meetings also helped to enhance the Council's transparency. Finland was a member of the Group of Like-Minded States on Targeted Sanctions, which sought to improve due process in sanctions regimes through the establishment of clear procedures that made the work of sanctions committees more credible. In that regard, he said, it was critical to fill the still vacant post of Ombudsperson of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) without further delay.
NONTAWAT CHANDRTRI (Thailand) said the Council's agenda was increasing in size, complexity and sensitivity, requiring the body to become more effective and efficient. Adding that such challenges also required constant review of the Council's working methods, he drew attention to sanctions, which remained an indispensable tool for global collective action in maintaining international peace and security. Sanctions should be targeted in order to minimize unintended economic and social consequences, and in imposing them Member States should rely heavily on clarity of measures and definitions of scope. Welcoming the inclusion of harmonized system codes for prohibited items in the Council's latest sanctions resolutions, as well as ongoing coordination efforts between sanctions committees and the practice of updating consolidated sanctions lists, he said those practices must be expanded to allow sanctions committees to update lists of all prohibited items and sanctions measures. He also urged Council members to continue convening public meetings and engaging the wider United Nations membership to help ensure the highest standards of transparency and better sharing of information.
Ms. RODRA�GUEZ (Cuba) said her delegation supported genuine Security Council reform to ensure that it was a transparent body. She welcomed the approval of the new presidential note 507. More efforts were required to democratize the Council with respect to its membership and working methods. Despite an increase in the number of open debates and monthly wrap up sessions, as well as the consultations that took place with Member States to select the new Secretary General, the trend of the Council to work in closed format continued. Effective measures were needed to ensure there was genuine participation.
HENRY ALFREDO SUA�REZ MORENO (Venezuela) welcomed the efforts over the past two decades to improve the Council's working methods. The inclusive approach to choosing the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies was a positive change. Even though progress had been made, there were still practices that undermined the Council's efficiency in taking up matters related to international peace and security. It was inconceivable that there would be objections to open debates or the inclusion of Member States from key regions. He asked for open meetings to be the rule, and not the exception. Closed consultations should not be used to take any importance away from open meetings. He was concerned by some Council members' attempts to use the working methods to push their specific agendas. He rejected any attempt to bring into the Council any issues that were not threats to international peace and security.
ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) voiced regret that the Council's work � undertaken on behalf of the whole United Nations membership � was often perceived as secretive. It was crucial for information about the body's deliberations on matters relevant to the whole international community to be shared in a timely and inclusive manner, and for every Council member to be able to contribute meaningfully to the body's work. The perceived gap between the P5 and the E10 must be countered and addressed, he emphasized. Welcoming improvements made in recent years, he said the question of the veto merited more consideration, and joined other speakers in calling on permanent Council members to refrain from exercising the veto in cases of mass atrocity. More work could also be done to enhance the Council's focus on the emerging realities of conflict, including by addressing non traditional threats to security, extreme poverty, resource shortages, climate change and violent extremism.
JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) noted that in Article 24 of the Charter, Council members had the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. The right of veto was a misnomer as the Charter did not contain a reference to a veto, but rather a rule regarding voting in the affirmative for the five permanent members. The veto was not a right but a responsibility. Its use had blocked and derailed common interest and stoked division among members. It also countered international law. In 2015, Mexico and France presented a statement that made it clear that situations of mass atrocities, specifically crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, could constitute a threat to international peace and security. In those cases, the Council should not be prevented from acting by the use of the veto.
RICHARD GALBAVY (Slovakia), recalling that his country had chaired the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions in 2017, emphasized the importance of strengthening efforts to implement measures and commitments set out in the updated version of note 507, adopted in August 2017. In the course of those efforts, more attention should be paid to making the work of the Council and its subsidiary bodies more open. Dialogue between the Council and Member States, particularly those directly affected, should be enhanced and widened. Substantive engagement between the Council and troop- and police contributing countries should also be improved in order to strengthen the former's decision making and as an incentive for the general membership to support peacekeeping operations. A more meaningful relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council could also enhance the Council's effectiveness.
LUIS HOMERO BERMASDEZ A�LVAREZ (Uruguay) associating himself with the statement of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, underscored that more interaction needed to take place between the Council and the full United Nations membership. There should be more meetings using formats that allowed for greater transparency and provided for a more coherent flow of information. Uruguay supported the holding of briefings where Council members could make public statements, which resulted in greater transparency and enhanced the body's legitimacy. Better coordination between the Council and troop- and police contributing countries was needed. Triangular cooperation between the Council, troop- and police contributing countries and the Secretariat was a central aspect that should be considered in the context of the reform process. The existence of the veto was a major obstacle to the Council's work, he said, stressing that the veto should never be used in cases where reprehensible crimes had been committed.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain) said it was important to have open debates on a regular basis on the Council's working methods, which was in the interest of all Member States and helped the Council be more effective and adapt to changing situations. Those sessions allowed for progress and shortcomings to be evaluated and addressed. The work of the subsidiary bodies must be presented in informal periodic briefings to Member States. It was important to increase coordination and cooperation between the Council and the other main bodies of the United Nations. There was also a need to increase coordination between the Council and regional and subregional organizations and a need to strengthen approaches that would enable the Council to anticipate conflicts. Transparency must be ensured through the issuance of press and presidential statements, he said, stressing the need for more open Council meetings.
JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA GARCA�A (Costa Rica) said that note 507 was a huge step forward when it came to strengthening transparency in the Council's work. Any member of the Council should be able to act as a penholder; he called for greater participation of the 10 non permanent members in that regard. Regarding informal consultations, it was important to establish procedures such as allowing for sufficient time for the consideration of proposals. Being able to defer the adoption of decisions or outcomes of open debates should also be taken into consideration. Open debates should provide a forum for other actors such as civil society, particularly women, to contribute positively. There was a need to improve relations and cooperation between the General Assembly and the Council, so they could work together to preserve international peace and security.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) said that dealing with working methods was as vital as the debate on the restructuring of the Council's membership. The expansion of the Council's work rendered its working members even more important. The scope and consequence of its decisions meant that even more transparency should be imposed. As the decisions of the Council should be accepted and implemented, the evolution of those decisions should be examined. The working methods should confirm the link between Council members and the wider United Nations membership, and all countries should feel that the Council was acting on its behalf. Member States that were not Council members should not feel disenfranchised. Closed meetings and informal consultations were necessary, but should be the exception rather than the rule.
MOHAMED OMAR MOHAMED GAD (Egypt) recalled that Egypt was a member of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions and involved in updating note 507 during its term on the Security Council. The functioning of the Council was a collective responsibility, requiring the full participation of all members, permanent and elected, on equal footing. Decision making processes must be more democratic and inclusive, including regarding the adoption of resolutions. Discussions among Council members must be transparent and inclusive. Information should be made available to all members, allowing for full participation. Given the complicated nature of conflicts on the Council's agenda, there was a need to have comprehensive approaches that took into account the different dimensions of conflicts. It was crucial to develop close coordination between the Security Council and countries that contributed troops to peacekeeping operations. The complicated interlinked nature of threats to international peace and security required close cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly the African Union.
Source: United Nations