We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

Joint Statement on UN Security Council Working Methods by 10 elected members Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia & Viet Nam

Delivered by the Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, H.E Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy on behalf of 10 elected members of the UN Security Council 

 

Mr. President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the current 10 elected members (E10) of the UN Security Council.[1]

At the outset, we would like to express our appreciation to the Estonian presidency for convening this timely and important open VTC on the working methods of the Security Council. We thank Ambassador Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Chair of the Security Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions, and Ms. Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report, for their insightful briefings.

 

 

Mr. President,

Reviewing and improving the working methods of the Security Council have always been of great interest to both Council and non-Council members. A number of ideas, to that end, have been put forth and several have been adopted. The E10 strongly believes that this open VTC is yet another extremely important opportunity to take stock of what we have thus far achieved, and most importantly, to discuss ways and means by which we can further this process.

Although the wider UN membership is able to join today’s meeting only through submission of written statements due to technicalities during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the interests shown by UN Member States over the past years clearly demonstrate the importance that all UN Member States attach to the improvement of the Security Council working methods. Sharing that view, this second joint statement by the E10 is a testament to our continued determination to make concrete steps towards improving the functioning of the Council.

 

 

Mr. President,

The E10 is of the view that, in order to do so, we have to address transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the Council’s work as well as its inclusiveness, in a balanced and practical manner, paying due attention to agility, when situations demand. It is the responsibility of all Council members, to ensure that the Council is able to perform its duties mandated by the UN Charter, including in terms of prevention. This is increasingly pressing, particularly as the Council, along with other international organizations, is faced with mounting challenges to multilateralism and growing number of global issues, both traditional and non-traditional. The sweeping, unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic not only shuffles the work of the Security Council but also lays bare the need for the Council to be more responsive, effective and agile to ensure continuous functioning as mandated by the Charter.

 

 

Mr. President,

Regarding what has been achieved, it is highly encouraging that in recent years the Council has agreed on a number of specific measures with regards to working methods, particularly in implementing the Provisional Rules of Procedure and Note 507. Transparency is high on the agenda. Public meetings have been held on almost all of the agenda items of the Council, especially in the past few months. Council Presidencies, including those held by E10 members, continue to closely engage with the wider UN membership, civil society representatives, the press, and other stakeholders through various opportunities, including briefings on the monthly programmes of work and wrap-up sessions. Equally important, we have seen a significant increase in the number of resolutions, press statements and press elements that are initiated by E10 members.

The E10 also shares the view that there is a need for more and more inclusiveness. We have been continuing to promote deeper coordination and experience sharing among elected members through various mechanisms in order to better prepare and make full use of the two-year term. The increasing cooperation among the outgoing, current and incoming elected members has one goal, that is to better serve on the Council in the pursuit of the maintenance of international peace and security. Monthly meetings, workshops, coordination meetings, bilateral consultations and many other innovative platforms are among the various tools at our disposal. The E10 has also been trying its best to engage among 15 members of the Council, with the wider UN membership, representatives of states on the agenda of the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries, civil society and others, to facilitate broader consultations on the work of the Council and to ensure that the Council is best informed of the situation on the ground.

During this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the efficiency, effectiveness and agility of the Council have been maintained. Since it has been impossible to continue the normal functioning at the UN headquarters, the Council has been able to conduct its business by virtual means, including video teleconferences (VTCs). The Council has gradually improved its performance in discharging its mandate with a new set of procedures for meetings and making decisions. In this process, efforts aimed at ensuring transparency also have yielded specific results, including the webcast of the entirety of open VTCs and the introduction of informal plan of VTCs or informal programme of work. The E10 would like to take this opportunity to commend our fellow Council members, China, the Dominican Republic and Estonia, as the Presidents in March, April and May respectively, for their leadership during this challenging time.

The achievements so far are also a testament to the dynamism of Council members. The E10 welcomes the adoption of 8 Notes by the President in December 2019, developed within the framework of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions under the chairmanship of the State of Kuwait. They are now an integral part of Council’s proceedings and practices. They are designed to further enhance the engagement of the Council with the wider membership as well as to address pertinent issues such as an earlier integration of newly elected members in the work of the Council and a fair distribution of work for the selection of the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies. Taken together, they help codify the various creative practices that successive members of the Council have been undertaking to ensure ever-increasing transparency, efficiency and engagement. We welcome the constructive engagement among all Council members in reaching consensus on these notes.

We also welcome efforts made by Ambassador Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines since the beginning of the year to further facilitate the work of the Informal Working Group. The informal retreat on working methods, hosted by the current chair and her predecessor in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in January this year, was an excellent brainstorming session.

 

 

Mr. President,

In rising to the current and future challenges, much could and must be done by the Council to better fulfill its mandate and serve the aspirations of wider membership. The E10 reiterates that there should be a greater burden sharing and more equal distribution of work among all members of the Council in order to improve the effectiveness of the Council. There is a need for further implementation of the agreed note on the selection of chairs of subsidiary bodies and renewed discussions on the note on co-penholdership.

While being encouraged with the fact that some elected members have assumed penholdership or co-penholdership on a number of issues, we would like to emphasize that this practice should be maintained and further promoted. The chair of a subsidiary body should also have a reasonable share of co-penholdership on the respective dossier, should the chair be in a position to accept that role. Furthermore, this mechanism might establish greater cooperation and coordination among Council members in relevant matters. Early engagement in the work of the Council is also important for every incoming member, including briefings by the Secretariat conducted earlier in the preparation for membership. We welcome the fact that, based on the recently adopted Note by the President, incoming members are now able to receive all communications of the Council for a period of five months before joining the Council and urge that, during the observation period, incoming members will be able to observe the work of the Council in various settings, including in consultations and negotiations of Council documents.

We underline the importance of accountability and transparency within the work of all subsidiary bodies of the Council, including sanctions committees. We also strongly believe in the need to continue to make UN targeted sanctions more effective and legitimate by further pursuing efforts to strengthen fair and clear procedures in sanction regimes of the Council in order to respect international due process standards. In this regard, the E10 would like to reiterate its belief that this can be achieved, through creating appropriate, tailored review mechanisms, similar to that of the 1267 Ombudsperson system for other sanction regimes.

Most fundamentally, it is necessary to ensure the effective implementation of all the notes on working methods, as well as to think of further improvements in this regard. As working methods of the Council always evolve, deliberation needs to be continued towards achieving a stronger living set of procedures and practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the work of the Council

In addition, during the current extraordinary period, greater efforts should be made to guarantee the Council’s ability to conduct its work continuously, including that of subsidiary bodies, in accordance with normal procedures and practices. It is important to keep the international community well informed of the way the Council ensures its day-to-day business. The call is on all of us, members of the Security Council, to enhance the Council’s ability to act by agreeing on central issues.

 

 

 

Mr. President,

It would be remiss of us to highlight the above significant improvements and some of the challenges we continue to face without underlining the critical and urgent need for the reform of the Security Council to reflect contemporary global realities, including through addressing imbalances and to enhancing representativeness of the Council.

To conclude, the E10 reiterates its commitment to the shared goals of enhancing the Council’s efficiency and effectiveness, bearing in the mind the mandate entrusted by the whole membership of the UN. We look forward to receiving views and inputs from the wider membership of the UN to improve the working methods of the Council so that it can better fulfil the responsibility under Article 24 of the UN Charter.

 

 

I thank you, Mr. President.

 

[1] Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Germany, Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia and Viet Nam.