I want to thank you Mr. President for organizing this open meeting.
My delegation joins others in commending the efforts of Japan, throughout recent years in actively fostering this agenda. In particular we should recognize the important contribution of your delegation in leading effectively the work of the SC working group on documentation and other procedural matters.
Following the suggestion in the concept paper prepared for this debate, I will concentrate my remarks on the three identified areas: transparency, interaction with non Council members and efficiency. We will add another important aspect, in our view: accountability, as enshrined in the UN Charter.
The idea of this debate is to focus on the level of implementation of the measures set out in the note by the President of the Security Council of 2006, bearing in mind the issues raised in the first comprehensive debate here, almost two years ago. However you encouraged us also to put forward practical suggestions on how to improve the working methods. We will try to respond to that appeal as well.
The 2006 note was not the end of the journey. Surely, we must build on that important undertaking. And acknowledge the fruits it has generated in its implementation so far, rightly identified in the concept note. But we should not lose our ambition. These are matters that require the constant and active engagement of all. And we should never give up efforts to find further appropriate and effective ways to improve the SC working methods. In this vein, I wish to recognize the important proposals of the S5 delegations and pay tribute to their continuous efforts in advancing this agenda in the UN
On our part, we continue to follow closely these issues and try to be ready to contribute substantially to this agenda. Both as members of the United Nations or, when serving as elected members in the SC, we recognize that this is a crucial endeavor, an important responsibility to fulfill under the UN Charter.
Elected members are the ones that have, historically, pushed for change in the working methods of the Council. We believe that they must build on available experience, in particular of other elected members, to further this reflection and to prepare themselves to pursue and strengthen this agenda when they are called to serve in the Council.
As candidates to the 2011-12’s biennium, we are conscious that we have to be prepared to assume fully that responsibility and to account for our actions.
Enhancing transparency, efficiency and accountability of the Council is the principal goal of this exercise. It is a substantive concern, not a formal one. The question is not just to open the meetings of the SC, when the real decision making continues to be done behind closed doors. Nor to debate or interact with general membership, when decisions on matters discussed have already been shaped. It is not, Mr. President, a matter of simply improving the image of the SC before the general membership.
The real question is how to make the Council more operational and efficient, with better use of time and resources with full engagement and participation of all its members. How can we strengthen its global influence as a body which acts on behalf of all UN members, by bringing it closer to them? The real question is, ultimately, how to strengthen its authority through a more open and participated decision making process, through a better understanding of its decisions and through enhanced accountability.
In this sense, allow me to put forward seven concrete proposals.
First and foremost the Council and its members must continuously strive to preserve an adequate involvement of all Council members, improving information exchange and promoting participation and initiative in its internal decision making process.
Secondly, we should strive to revive fully rule 48. The trend of meeting more and more often in public should be continued and strengthened, while reducing the number of informal consultations, which represent still today half the number of “meetings” of the SC
Thirdly, direct dialogue with concerned States and parties should be increased. Enabling an efficient interaction and consultation to take place with these States and parties in formal setting of the SC, or through private consultations or Arria-formula meetings, as appropriate, would assist immensely the Council in the process leading to its deliberations.
Fourth, make sure briefings by the Secretariat on situations under its consideration are delivered, as a rule, at SC meetings, with the participation of non members of the Council, thus avoiding, as much as possible, consultations of the whole for this purpose
Fifth, value the participation of the wider membership. This goal would be best served if, in open thematic debates, member states outside the SC would speak first and SC members at the end, allowing some time between the meeting and adoption of the possible outcome, thus demonstrating that the SC is listening and willing to incorporate valuable views of the wider membership – precisely the purpose of the open debates. The Council should devise and implement practical ways of reducing meeting time and shortening interventions, while promoting wider participation in public meeting, in particular open debates. Promote focused contributions through the use of concept papers and indicative questions to be addressed by MS.
Sixth, enhance the role of Council Presidencies. Encourage a more active and substantive role in briefing delegations outside the Council, in presenting personal assessments on the work of the Council and in speaking to the press, as means to enhance public visibility of Council’s work.
Finally, we believe it is essential to give accountability a fuller meaning. In this sense we have to identify practical ways of increasing the influence of the general membership in the determination of the agenda of the SC, as we need to ensure better and more transparent annual SC reporting to the GA, by promoting interactive consultations with the wider membership before its conclusion and submission to the GA, and ensuring more substantive and analytical information on all situations brought to the Council, including on the work of the subsidiary bodies. Reviving the former practice of including monthly assessments by the Presidents reflecting their perspectives on the substantive work of the SC would contribute to this aim.
It is also important to intensify the efforts to monitor the implementation of new adopted practices on methods of work and assess their impact on the intended goals of transparency, efficiency and enhanced accountability of the Council. In this context it is crucial to ensure that the Security Council continues to hold open debates, like this one, to assess regularly how its practice matches those aims and to collect valuable inputs from the wider membership on ways to improve it further. The working group on documentation and other procedural matters could also take, as useful and appropriate, this same approach.
My delegation is ready to cooperate with you, Mr. President, with the Council and with all other interested delegations to develop these and other concrete ideas to further this agenda as our common endeavor.