Statements and Articles


Speaker: Amb. Ion  JINGA
Date: July 19th, 2016
Location: UN Headquarters


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the Working Methods of the UN Security Council

Mr. President,

I would like to express our appreciation for the work Japan has performed as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, particularly the measures to enhance the Security Council efficiency, transparency and interactivity. The comprehensive "Note 507", adopted in 2006 and updated in 2010, and the handbooks of documents relevant to the Security Council’s working methods contributed to make the work of the Security Council more effective and transparent.

As requested by the Concept Note for this open debate, I will streamline my intervention on three topics related to the Security Council methods of work.

First, transparency.

The Security Council is responsible for its methods of work and it is up to the Council to modify them. At the same time, the entire UN membership has conferred on the Council the primary responsibility for preserving the international peace and security. The Council acts on behalf of the UN member states and its decisions must be implemented by 193 countries. Which is why the working methods of the Security Council is an issue that concerns the entire UN membership, as it was underlined by a large majority of countries during the open debate held on 20 October 2015.

Significant progress has been achieved in the last couple of years in adapting the methods of work to the new global realities, and the Council proved to be both creative and flexible when a new tool for handling a particular situation was necessary. Although this positive evolution was driven by specific needs and not by a thematic reform, using ad-hoc innovations in specific cases seems to be a realistic approach.

Much of Note 507 addresses the ways in which the Council communicates with the outside world and the degree to which information about the Council is available and accessible. In this respect, improvements have been made on the issue of communication with full UN membership, through open debates and briefings, wrap-up sessions, announcement of various types of meetings in the UN Journal, early circulation of draft resolutions, or notification about the Council’s emergency meetings.

Yet, we need more time for hearing from people on the ground, including through informal formats such as the Arria-formula meetings, which provide a tool for the Council to get views beyond those of member states. Greater transparency is also necessary in the functioning of the Security Council subsidiary organs, which should be encouraged to further interact with the UN membership on topics related to peacekeeping, conflict prevention and sanctions.

My second focus is on the use of working methods in conflict prevention.

There is a broad consensus on the need to enhance our efforts on prevention, having recognized that in conflicts like in medicine, preventing is more efficient and less expensive than healing.

As the Security Council activity is not only about ending conflicts, but also about avoiding future ones, it is important to connect the Council’s work on peace and security to the development agenda, because – quoting DSG Jan Eliasson - “there is no peace without development and there is no development without lasting peace”.

Consolidating the Security Council role in prevention, through strengthening early warning mechanisms such as horizon-scanning briefings, briefings on threats and informal interactive dialogues, can play an essential role in detecting emerging threats to peace and security.

Better synergy requires better coordination of the Security Council with the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and the Secretariat, as well as with the Peacebuilding Commission. More interaction with regional organizations, troops and police contributing countries, special representatives of the SG and high commissioners, the ICC and the ICJ, will also contribute to conflict prevention. 

Third, discussions about the working methods must be placed within the larger context of the Security Council reform, which will be possible only if the UN member states want such a reform. We may have different views on this topic, but the reality is that without identifying a common denominator to channel the debate on the Council reform, dissatisfaction and frustration among member states could slip this process into a less positive direction, with the risk to affect the UN credibility.

We all need a strong Council which continues to play the decisive role in preserving peace and security on the globe. In 1946, when the UN was created, there were 50 founding countries; today, the organization has 193 member states. In 1946, the world population was 2.5 billion; today we are 7.3 billion people on the earth. The Council composition should reflect these new geopolitical and demographic realities.

Therefore, updating the methods of work cannot be a substitute for engaging into more substantiate talks on the Security Council reform. We must continue to search for a constructive solution, while respecting the UN Charter. In important moments, the Council has shown inspiration and flexibility. We have to rediscover these ingredients.

I am confident that the spirit of openness and cooperation which exists in the negotiation process on the revitalization of the role of the General Assembly may be translated into the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform. 

Thank you!

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