December 2014 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 November 2014
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THE SECURITY COUNCIL

Subsidiary Bodies

Expected Council Action

In December, the subsidiary body chairpersons from countries that will be finishing their two-year term on the Council are expected to brief about their work and experience chairing the different sanctions committees and working groups.

Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina) will brief on the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.

Ambassador Gary Quinlan (Australia) will brief on the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee and the 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee.

Ambassador Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) will brief on the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.

Ambassador Oh Joon (Republic of Korea) will brief on the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee and the 1540 Committee concerning non-proliferation.

Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda) will brief on the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

Background

In an annual practice dating back to 2002, the subsidiary body chairpersons from outgoing Council members have, in their personal capacity, briefed the Council. The briefing seems to serve three principal functions. First, it has provided an opportunity for subsidiary body chairpersons to convey to fellow Council members a summary of developments within their committee or working group. Second, some chairpersons have also critically analysed the work of the subsidiary body, acknowledging successes and failures while identifying areas for improvement. Third, building on this analysis, chairpersons have occasionally also provided specific recommendations for reforms, which could either concern UN institutional aspects or the subsidiary body’s sanctions regime or thematic area.

Council Dynamics

One issue that could come up in the briefing is the process for appointing subsidiary body chairpersons (for background, see SCR’s December 2013 “In Hindsight”). Some Council members have advocated for a more inclusive, transparent and efficient process for the annual appointment of chairpersons. On 17 December 2012, the Council addressed this issue through a note by the president. The note said that members of the Council “support an informal process with the participation of all Council members as regards appointing the Chairpersons of the subsidiary organs from among Council members in a balanced, transparent, efficient and inclusive way, which facilitates an exchange of information related to the work of the subsidiary organs involved”. It further said that Council members “should also consult informally with newly elected members soon after their election on the appointment of the Chairpersons of the subsidiary organs for the following year”. These themes were further developed in another note by the president, issued on 5 June, which also specifically encouraged the early appointment of chairs in order to improve the transition process for incoming Council members and suggested steps to be taken during the transition. Outgoing chairs may want to share their views on these processes.

The briefers may also highlight the fact that earlier in the year, the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions agreed on a note by the president on the overall issue of penholders and  comment on how this may impact the roles of future chairs of sanctions committees. The 14 April note proclaimed that members of the Council agreed to support “where appropriate, the informal arrangement whereby one or more Council members (as “penholder(s)”) initiate and chair the informal drafting process” of documents, including resolutions, presidential statements and press statements of the Council. The note specified that any member of the Council can be a penholder.  Perceval, as the outgoing chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, could choose to discuss, among others, the issues covered in the two recent notes.     

The relationship between penholders, which have most often been P3 members, and subsidiary body chairs, which are usually elected members, is another topic that could be discussed. There are a number of problems that can arise from this organisational arrangement, including inadequate consultation of sanctions committee chairs by penholders when drafting sanctions resolutions. As each of the outgoing Council ambassadors have chaired a sanctions committee while a P3 member was the penholder, the Council dynamics regarding this recurring institutional arrangement could be a subject for any of the five briefers.       

Since Australia has been in the singular position among the outgoing members of being the penholder on Afghanistan while also chairing the 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee, the briefing by Quinlan could be particularly instructive on this issue. Similarly, other ambassadors from countries that have simultaneously been penholders and working group chairs on thematic issues—i.e. Luxembourg on children and armed conflict and the Republic of Korea on non-proliferation—may also have unique insights to share. 

UN Documents

Security Council Meeting Records
9 December 2013 S/PV.7076 This was briefing by Chairmen of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council.
7 December 2012 S/PV.6881 This was a briefing by the chairs of the subsidiary bodies whose countries will be finishing their term on the Council on 31 December 2012, including: Colombia on Iran and Sudan sanctions, Germany on Al-Qaida and Taliban sanctions and the working group on children and armed conflict, India on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions, Portugal on Libya and DPRK sanctions, and South Africa on the ad hoc working group on conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.
14 December 2011 S/PV.6686 This was a briefing by the Permanent Representatives of the outgoing members of the Security Council—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria—on the work of the subsidiary bodies they had chaired during their two-year tenures.
20 December 2010 S/PV.6457 This was an open debate in which the chairmen of subsidiary bodies briefed the Security Council.
14 December 2009 S/PV.6238 This was a briefing by outgoing chairs of subsidiary bodies of the Council, including the outgoing chairs of the 1540 Committee and the CTC.
15 December 2008 S/PV.6043 This was a briefing by the Chairman of the Sudan Sanctions Committee.
17 December 2007 S/PV.5806 This was the record of the open debate in which the chairmen of all counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies briefed the Security Council.
20 December 2006 S/PV.5601 This was a record of the Council open briefing by chairpersons of Council subsidiary bodies.
19 December 2005 S/PV.5332 These were briefings by chairmen of subsidiary bodies of the Security Council.
22 December 2004 S/PV.5106 These were briefings by chairmen of Security Council committees and working groups.
22 December 2003 S/PV.4888 These were briefings by chairmen of Security Council committees and working groups.
18 December 2002 S/PV.4673 These were the briefings by the Security Council Committees.
Notes by the President of the Security Council
5 June 2014 S/2014/393 This was a note by the President of the Council that proposed measures to improve the effectiveness and continuity of the work of the Council subsidiary bodies.
14 April 2014 S/2014/268 This was a note by the President of the Council that called for wider participation of Council members in the drafting of Council documents.
17 December 2012 S/2012/937 This presidential note stated that Council members supported a process of selection of chairpersons of subsidiary organs, with the participation of all members, in a “balanced, transparent, efficient and inclusive way.”