What's In Blue

Posted Wed 16 Nov 2022

Hitting the Ground Running: The Annual Finnish Workshop for Incoming Security Council Members

The 20th annual workshop for incoming members of the UN Security Council, titled “Hitting the Ground Running”, will be held on 17 and 18 November on Long Island, New York. The government of Finland is convening the workshop in cooperation with Security Council Report and the Security Council Affairs Division of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. Dr. Comfort Ero, the President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, 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, Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique, and Switzerland will serve on the Council in 2023-2024. 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’s performance in maintaining international peace and security this year, and how can major challenges be addressed? How can the Council most effectively fulfil its mandate considering current divisions? What scope is there for elected members to serve as bridge-builders among a divided permanent membership?

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 how to promote a more equitable distribution of the Council’s work among permanent and elected members, how to strike a balance between transparency and effectiveness in the Council’s work, and how to make the most effective use of visiting missions.

In the third session, the outgoing Council members (India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and Norway) 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.

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