I thank you for the opportunity to share my views and assessments on the work carried out by the three subsidiary bodies that I had the honour to chair in the course of my country’s membership of the Security Council and I thank you for bearing with me.
Now a general remark. I join previous speakers in saying that on the sanctions regimes as such, that sanctions are obviously not an end in themselves, and that they are there to support a political objective. They should not exacerbate the suffering of populations and should be regularly reviewed. And we support the extension of the mandate of the Ombudsperson to all sanctions regimes.
I will start by addressing the work of the 1718 Committee during the past two years.
As Chair, I have always worked on the basis of continuous and inclusive engagement with all members, in an effort to build up consensus to best fulfil the Committee’s mandate. To strive for consensus is not always an easy task; however, reaching such level of agreement is actually the only way to make solid progress in a Sanctions Committee context. That is why we focused very much on compromise and settlement of potential differences when addressing the challenges that came our way.
Secondly, although with its complexities and difficulties, the 1718 Committee showed that – in general –it had the capacity to address effectively the situations faced during our tenure. Early this year, as mandated by the Council, the Committee agreed on new designations and updated the lists of individuals, entities and items related to DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes. The annual work plan was also updated, giving the Committee a comprehensive and clear approach related to compliance, investigation, outreach, dialogue, assistance and cooperation.
It is against this background that I want to commend the excellent work and valuable assistance that the 1718 Committee consistently got from the Panel of Experts.
Also very significantly, I think that the Committee developed a certain sense of convergence that allowed us to agree on some important principles: i) the general understanding that Implementation Assistance Notices represent an important and valuable tool in providing guidance to member states on a number of technical and practical issues; ii) the need to review regularly the concrete parameters of the sanctions regime; iii) the importance of taking advantage of existing synergies, informally and in a very pragmatic way, between different Committees and Panels of Experts.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, sustained effort within the Committee to improve the implementation of sanctions is always a work in progress and I very much hope that next Committee Chair will continue to benefit from the cooperation and constructive support I received during these last two years in helping to implement the important mandate conferred by the Council.
Turning to the 1970 Sanctions Committee on Libya, which I chaired since its establishment in February 2012, the first observation I would like to make is that this sanctions regime is likely to have been the most rapidly evolving UN sanctions regime in recent years.
It was indeed characterized by having to adjust the Committee with efficacy to a rapid change of the political context in Libya and, in consequence, respond to a very significant workload related to a diversified set of areas prompted by the evolving situation on the ground.
Just to illustrate it, let me say, Mr. President, that, within a range of 21 months, the Committee received 362 official communications and issued 568 letters or notes and a significant number of addenda, totalizing over 1.500 official communications. Within the same period, the Council adopted six resolutions on the matter which resulted in various modifications and adaptations of the sanctions regime which the Committee had to address.
My second observation is that while the core objective of the sanctions was to initially prevent further attacks against the civilian population in Libya and the former regime leaders to have access to funds outside Libya, the measures were later modified to address the changing situation on the ground, in support of the Libyan-led transition and rebuilding process and regional security. In this transition process the Committee had an important role to play, by constantly adjusting to the new challenges and responding to the needs in line with Council’s mandate entrusted by the Council.
On the asset freeze, in particular, the Committee played a particular role to respond promptly to those needs and devise ways to speed up funds to become readily available to the Libyan people. Two remarks, if I may, prompted by our experience, that may serve as useful guidance for the future: firstly, resolutions establishing sanctions regimes cannot disregard their humanitarian impact and, thus, should contemplate the early inclusion of humanitarian exemptions in benefit of populations affected by the freezing of national assets and funds; secondly, those resolutions should clearly determine whether subsidiaries of listed entities are subject, or not, to the sanctions. I believe that those early clarifications would be very useful for a more efficient implementation of an asset freeze, while, at the same time, helping to prevent unintended impact on populations and third States more affected.
As of today, the asset freeze only applies to two remaining listed entities, the Libyan Investment Authority and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio. It is my understanding that as soon as the Libyan authorities would deem it appropriate, this Council, or the Committee, will consider the delisting, to ensure that the correspondent assets are made available to and for the benefit of the people of Libya.
In what relates to the arms embargo and the proliferation of Libyan arms and related material in the region, we must recognize that they continue to raise today serious challenges to the Committee. A continued cooperation of States with the Committee, with the invaluable assistance of its panel of experts, is fundamental to overcome those challenges. In this regard, it is crucial to continue and strengthen the good practice that has been followed of putting together the efforts and contributions from different UN bodies (Panel of Experts, UNSMIL, CTED, ICAO, ODA) , in order to consistently assess and address the challenges posed by the proliferation of arms and military material from Libya to the region.
Finally, the complexity of this sanctions regime and the rapid change of its normative framework required an important effort of assistance to UN delegations. We tried our best to provide information and possible guidance to our colleagues in many delegations that approached us with questions concerning the implementation of the regime. We think this is part of the transparency that we advocate strongly. But we also think this is very useful to the overall efficacy of the sanctions regimes. Naturally, I wish here also to highlight the role of the Secretariat of the Sanctions Committee Branch, and to express my gratitude for their invaluable assistance as well as that of Panel of Experts. They have been truly indispensable. Last but not the least; I want to thank all members of this Committee for their constructive commitment and spirit of cooperation and creativity that were fundamental to help the Committee address the number and complexity of submissions it had to respond. Without it, it would have been impossible to carry out such a complex and important task.
Let me turn now to the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Matters, which I had the honour and pleasure to Chair since January this year. Chairing a working group, more than helping build consensus is trying to develop an agenda of the WG, by trying to lead the efforts of its members towards achieving major goals, shared in general within the WG.
The case of the WG on working methods is a special one where Council members can share their views on ways to improve the Council working methods and have the opportunity to make a difference in the future way the Council works. It is never easy to get away from routine, which is always more comfortable than change. So it is a difficult task to generate interest on new measures, to discuss their usefulness and practicability and to adopt them. Ultimately more difficult is to persuade all of the need to change. I must say that the experience I had was very positive. I counted on the active contribution of all members in the many discussions we held during this last year, at a pace of one, sometimes two meetings per month.
To improve the WM you have to start by improving the way the council does its internal work. Significant part of the Council’s work is done in consultations. While there has been an effort by the Council to meet more often in public, consultations are indeed useful to help the Council prepare its decisions. However, questions of transparency and inclusiveness remain important within the Council, for Council members. We worked on this during the first part of the year.
Following consultations organized by the Council in March this year, during the UK presidency, a discussion was held on further measures to improve interactivity, better planning of work and better use of conference resources. Those same aspects were further developed in the IWG and later on condensed in a note by the President of last June (S/2012/402). The underlying idea is to stress the informality aspects of consultations, better organization of resources to allow more space for subsidiary bodies to meet, more use of video conferences to avoid costly presence of briefers, better planning of work by readjusting mandates and reporting cycles with the view to even up the workload throughout the year, leaving more time for the Council to prepare decisions and for prevention activities.
Another aspect relevant to the internal work is the practice related to the work of pen-holders and the process to appoint the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies. The IWG is now concluding the consideration of this question, through a draft note which deals with issues of enhanced participation, inclusiveness and exchange of information among Council members. These are crucial elements to enhance Council’s efficiency and ultimately, help promote the necessary consensus building within the Council.
I hope, indeed I trust, that with the support and flexibility of all members in the IWG, to conclude the work very soon.
On the external aspects of the SC work, the IWG is considering further measures to improve transparency and interaction with the wider membership. A draft note is being discussed now on ways to improve open debates: by enhancing the interactivity, by ensuring a better follow up of open debates and by improving their efficacy. We are also considering measures to improve the annual report: by reinforcing aspects related to the interaction with non council members and providing more substantive information in the report and in its presentation to the GA. Monthly assessments by Council presidencies can be particularly useful instruments to elucidate on the work done. Also very useful in this regard are Informal briefings to the general membership by Council Presidents once they finish their presidencies, which could be done as a matter of practice, adding to the briefing that is already done at the start of each Presidency.
These are all aspects that have been discussed in the IWG this year and are being considered through a draft note we expect to be adopted in the coming days.
I am conscious that this is an ongoing work. The Council has done much recently on this matter, as a result of Council member’s efforts and especially of the previous Chairs of this working group – whom I salute - , which resulted on the adoption of Note 507. But we all know that there is always room for improvement and Note 507 is the point of departure not an end in itself.
I am confident that the next Chair who will take up from here will bring renewed energy and ideas to further this work. I am sure that he or she will have the full support and encouragement that I surely benefited from you.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I wish to express my gratitude to the members of the Security Council for their support and active contributions to the work of the Committees and Working Group I had the honour to chair. I also thank the Experts and the Secretariat for their cooperation and diligence, as well as the interpreters for their valuable assistance and their patience.
I thank you.