What's In Blue

Posted Thu 29 Oct 2015

Adoption of Working Methods Presidential Statement

Tomorrow morning (Friday, 30 October), the Council is planning to adopt a presidential statement on its working methods. The draft text was circulated by Angola, New Zealand, and Spain several days after an open debate on Council working methods held on 20 October. It was negotiated over the course of three days. While several members, notably China, Lithuania, Russia and the United States, had a number of revisions, overall it appears that there was constructive engagement from all members. The resulting text passed through a short silence today, following final amendments.

This will be the first Council decision focused entirely on working methods in nearly a decade and one of very few such documents in the overall Council practice. Ever since its first open debate on this topic, held in December 1994 (S/PV.3483), the Council has periodically issued Notes by the President to capture some of the changes in procedures and working methods, with three such Notes containing summaries of previously accepted practices (S/2006/78, S/2006/507 and S/2010/507).

The 20 October open debate focused on how the Council can improve its efficiency and transparency in its relationship with non-Council members in the General Assembly and ECOSOC, as well as with the Secretariat. The draft presidential statement addresses several issues that were raised by different speakers during the debate and summarised by Council president, Ambassador Román Oyarzun of Spain, at the end of the meeting.
In the draft text, the Council affirms its commitment to keep its working methods under consideration in its regular work, requests its Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions to continue reviewing and updating its previous Notes, with a focus on implementation, and encourages the Working Group to enhance its transparency. The draft also expresses the Council’s intent to continue to hold an annual open debate on its working methods, as well as to take steps to improve the focus and interactivity of its open debates.

Among other things, the draft takes note of the adoption on 11 September 2015 of General Assembly resolution 69/321 and the “prospect of cooperation” with the General Assembly president. Resolution 69/321 requested the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council jointly to start the process of soliciting candidates for the position of Secretary-General and then, on an ongoing basis, jointly to circulate to the full membership of the UN the names of individuals that have been submitted for consideration. There was some discussion on whether to make specific reference to the Secretary-General selection process, with several members preferring only a general reference to the resolution.

In an attempt to take further the transparency and inclusiveness themes of the open debate, the Permanent Representative of Spain, joined by his counterparts from Chad, Malaysia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Venezuela, briefed the widerr UN membership on matters that came up during the month this morning, including the Middle East, working methods, women, peace and security, and humanitarian issues. This was a departure from the usual format of only the Council president briefing on the month’s work.

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