Briefing by the Outgoing Chairs of the Security Council Subsidiary Bodies
Expected Council Action
Every December, the chairs of the subsidiary bodies who will be leaving the Council at the end of the year provide a briefing on their experience.
The Council will receive briefings from the five Permanent Representatives completing their countries’ two-year terms on the Council:
- Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt) on the work of the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, the 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee, and the 1533 Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Sanctions Committee;
- Ambassador Koro Bessho (Japan) on the work of the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee, the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, and the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions;
- Ambassador Fodé Seck (Senegal) on the work of the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations;
- Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko (Ukraine) on the work of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee and the 2127 Central African Republic (CAR) Sanctions Committee; and
- Ambassador Elbio Roselli (Uruguay) on the work of the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee and the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), splitting the 2017-2018 term with The Netherlands, will also brief on the work of the 1718 Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) Sanctions Committee and the 2231 implementation arrangement regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme.
When the practice of the annual end-of term briefings was initiated in December 2002 during Colombia’s presidency, it was an important step toward providing a degree of transparency in the work of subsidiary bodies, much of which is done in informal settings and, in some cases, without consistent record keeping. In the past 15 years, there have been considerable improvements in the subsidiary bodies’ transparency. The dedicated area of the Security Council website has been revamped to include key factual information, documentation, and updates on activities. Since September 2014, the website has also provided a tentative programme of work of the subsidiary bodies for each month. Most chairs of the different subsidiary bodies have given periodic public briefings to the Council, and some also offered briefings for the UN general membership.
The December briefing, however, has continued to provide a significant opportunity for the departing Permanent Representatives to share their insights into the work of the bodies they have chaired and offer advice to their successors. In the case of some informal bodies, not all of which produce an annual report, the briefing is also a way of creating a public record of the body’s activities.
Key Recent Developments
On 30 August, the Council reached agreement on an updated and expanded version of its compendium of working methods, the so-called Note 507. Compared with its 2006 and 2010 versions, the compendium devoted considerably more space to the work of subsidiary bodies and the process of selecting their chairs.
The Note outlines a set of measures aimed at enhancing the transparency of subsidiary organs, improving the selection process and the preparation of chairs, and increasing the interaction and coordination among subsidiary organs and between these bodies and the Council. Furthermore, the document says that “members of the Security Council should make every effort to agree provisionally on the appointment of the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies for the following year no later than 1 October”. The Note calls for an informal appointment process of consultations, “undertaken in a balanced, transparent, efficient and inclusive way” and “facilitated jointly by two members of the Security Council working in full cooperation”.
The passages concerning the subsidiary organs of the Security Council built on discussions conducted in 2016 and two documents that were adopted that year. In February 2016, the Council held a debate at the initiative of Venezuela on the working methods of Security Council subsidiary organs, and a Note by the President was issued on 22 February as an outcome. In July that year, Council members agreed on another Note by the President, drafted by Japan as chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions, concerning the preparation of newly elected members during the transitional period between the election and the beginning of their term, including the selection and preparation of chairs of subsidiary bodies.
These new working methods were first tested in 2016. The Council missed the intended deadline of 1 October for selection of chairs by almost a month. Nevertheless, the incoming chairs were able to benefit from a much longer preparatory period than any of their predecessors. In 2017, initial consultations started soon after the 2 June Council elections. The process continued for several weeks, with agreement reached in early October and a list put under silence on 9 October. Under the provisional agreement—it will become formal in January and will be published in document S/2018/2—the vacated chairs will be distributed as follows:
- Côte d’Ivoire—the 2127 CAR Sanctions Committee and the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations;
- Equatorial Guinea—the 1636 Lebanon Sanctions Committee and the 2048 Guinea-Bissau Sanctions Committee;
- Kuwait—Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions and the 1533 DRC Sanctions Committee;
- Peru—the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee, the 1566 Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals;
- Poland—the 1518 Iraq Sanctions Committee, the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee, and the 2206 South Sudan Sanctions Committee; and
- The Netherlands—the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee and the 2231 implementation arrangement regarding the JCPOA on Iran’s nuclear programme.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SUBSIDIARY BODIES
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|19 December 2016 S/PV.7845||The Council held the annual briefing for subsidiary body chairs from outgoing elected Council members: Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and Venezuela.|
|11 February 2016 S/PV.7620||This was a debate titled “Working Methods of Security Council Subsidiary Organs”.|
|Notes by the President of the Security Council|
|30 August 2017 S/2017/507||This was the Note of the Security Council containing the compendium of its working methods.|
|15 July 2016 S/2016/619||This was a presidential note concerning transitional arrangements for newly elected Council members.|
|22 February 2016 S/2016/170||This was a note by the president of the Council that outlined a set of measures aimed at improving the transparency of the Council’s subsidiary organs, improving the selection process and the preparation of chairs, and improving the interaction and coordination among subsidiary organs and between the Council and the subsidiary organs.|