UN Security Council Open Debate on Working Methods: Statement by Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, on behalf of the Nordic Countries, New York, 30 November 2011
Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
There has been considerable improvement in the Council working methods in the past years. The Nordic countries would like to thank the current chair of the Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions, Bosnia and Herzegovina for their work spearheading this reform agenda in 2011, and welcome the Portuguese initiative to discuss this issue with the wider membership. We also would like to use this opportunity to thank the S5 countries for their work and initiatives aimed at developing the Security Council Working methods, including the draft resolution which has already been shared with the wider UN membership.
We underscore the need for regular, informative briefings to non-members of the Council. This is particularly vital for small states with limited resources. Interactive wrap-up sessions at the end of each Presidency would enhance information sharing and openness. Such sessions could be a valuable vehicle to share lessons learned and increase accountability. The Brazilian presidency held such a meeting, for which we thank them. The Nordic countries encourage other Council members to consider organising such briefings in the future. Making the Council’s Annual reports more analytical and forward-looking would also enhance transparency.
The annual Finnish workshop (held November 17-18) aims at giving new members of the Council an in-depth orientation to the practice, procedures and working methods of the Council in order to help them hit the ground running. The workshops also serve the wider membership as their reports are distributed as official documents of the Council.
The Security Council Report is another initiative that has greatly contributed to information sharing and hence increased openness about the work of the Council. We would like to commend the SCR’s work in this regard.
Besides transparency, efficiency of the Council’s work is also important. Conflicts today are more complex, and therefore, the Council’s agenda increasingly stretched. There is scope for improving the quality of open debates held by the Council by ensuring that outcome documents reflect input from all participating countries. The Council’s work would benefit from letting the concerned Members States truly contribute to the outcomes of the debates. Concept papers could direct the focus of the debates to the questions on which the Council would like to consult the larger membership before decision-making.
Lately, the Council has increasingly been using video-link to receive briefings from SRSG’s and other envoys. In these times of austerity this is a welcome development that ensures efficiency and allows for the envoys to remain in the field and continue their valuable work.
The Council should improve its cooperation with other UN bodies, for instance Peacebuilding Commission. There should also be better interaction with the 5th Committee regarding the mandates of Peacekeeping Missions and Special Political Missions and their funding. In addition, troop- and police-contributing Countries should be more closely engaged at all stages of decision-making of peacekeeping operations, starting from the planning of their mandates.
The Council has recently steered its work from a reactive to a more proactive and prevention-oriented mode. DPA’s monthly briefings have in a year become regular practice and AOB has, to our knowledge, been used more effectively to address possible threats to international peace and security. The Council should continue to actively seek ways to improve its ability to prevent conflict and to solve longterm conflicts on its agenda. Good cooperation with the Peacebuilding Commission and other partner organisations such as regional and sub-regional organisations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and others are instrumental in this endeavour. The Council should reflect on how it could improve relations with partners.
The Council has made good progress in developing cross-cutting issues, for example Women, Peace and Security. The Council should now systematically link country specific situations and horizontal themes, and follow up on requests for thematic information when handling reports of on country specific situations – for example the inclusion of women in the peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
The Nordic Countries welcome the significant progress achieved in enhancing due process both for listing and delisting procedures of the Al Qaida Sanctions Committee. We welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Ombudsperson. We recommend that fair and clear procedures be extended to all sanctions regimes.
We call for the Council to continue on a positive reform path and to hold annual open debates on this issue. In this context, we would like to emphasise the importance of the Presidential Note S/ 2010/507 and urge the Council to fully implement the innovations contained there within.