What's In Blue

Posted Thu 18 Nov 2021

Hitting the Ground Running: Annual Workshop for Incoming Council Members

The 19th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, will be held on 18 and 19 November on Long Island, New York. The government of Finland is convening the workshop in cooperation with the Security Council Report and the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will give the keynote address ahead of the opening dinner.

Since 2003, the “Finnish Workshop” has provided an informal and interactive environment for frank discussion among current and incoming Council members about the inner workings of the Security Council. Elected in June, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will serve on the Council in 2022-2023. The workshop informs the incoming members about the demands and expectations of being an elected member and allows outgoing members to share advice and highlight lessons learned as they conclude their Council terms.

As in previous years, the workshop will be divided into three sessions. In the first session, participants will take stock of the Council’s performance in fulfilling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Members will also be encouraged to assess the challenges and opportunities of the year ahead. Questions that could be addressed include: How would you evaluate the Council performance during the past year? How can the Council better support the political transitions underway in several countries on its agenda? And how would you assess the Council’s approach to emerging issues such as climate and security, pandemics, and cyber threats?

The second session will focus on developments in the Security Council’s working methods and discuss possible improvements. Among the areas that may be covered are the Council’s responses to unexpected crises that could hinder its work (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), ways to strike a balance between transparency and effectiveness in the Council’s work, and the process of selecting chairs of subsidiary bodies.

In the third session, the outgoing Council members (Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Viet Nam) will reflect on their time on the Council and impart lessons learned. This session, which was added to the workshop’s agenda in 2007, offers an opportunity for the departing members to share their insights on how to manage the workload in the Council, how to navigate difficult dynamics among members, and, in general, how to be an effective Council member.

Following the workshop, a report of the discussions—which are conducted under the Chatham House Rule—will be published as an annex to a letter from the Permanent Representative of Finland to the President of the Security Council. The substance of the discussions is shared, but comments are not attributed to any of the participants.

Reports of this workshop since it began in 2003 can be found here.