Thank you Madam President. We thank Nigeria for scheduling this meeting. And we join colleagues in expressing condolences over the passing of the Force Commander of MINUSTAH.  

Madam President, we wish to comment today on the Council’s work in August and in July - when we had our Presidency. We see the wrap-up sessions as an opportunity to critically examine how the 15 Council members can work together more effectively to deliver better results for the broader UN membership that we represent.

Over the last two months not everything has gone the way we would have liked, but we’ve seen striking examples of what the Council can do when we achieve unity. The unanimous adoption of resolution 2231 on 20 July endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme demonstrated this on an issue of great import to international peace and security.

And on 17 August, we adopted a critically important Presidential Statement on Syria, expressing support for the UN Special Envoy’s approach on the way forward.  It was an, all too rare, example of the Council coming together on issue of the highest priority.

Madam President, to achieve unity and the strongest outcomes, all 15 Council members should be able to contribute fully. Each of us has interests and perspectives that can add value.

We’re not naïve about the dynamics that persist among permanent members and the difficulty of reaching consensus, but we do believe an inclusive approach to decision making maximises the chances of achieving unity and of having the Council speak with one voice.

New Zealand supports looking at how to improve the Council’s decision-making practices.  During our Presidency, we encouraged interactive and frank discussions on a range of topics, including in informal formats outside of the UN. We convened a working breakfast for Permanent Representatives at the start of July, and hosted a separate informal discussion where we encouraged members to speak freely about Council decision making.

In the consultations room, in addition to the scheduled Programme of Work, we believe Council members should talk about matters as the need arises. One of the most dynamic discussions we have had since joining the Council was the discussion in July on the Secretary-General’s appointment process. We know there are different views within the Council – that’s one of the reasons why we raised it.

We appreciated the Secretary-General briefing members in person on his response to the latest allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. We encourage such updates by the Secretary-General on issues of high importance.

One of the features we saw in July, and this month, has been the value of discussions under ‘Other matters’, for example on Burundi and Guinea Bissau. Some of these were initiated by Council members; others by the Secretariat.  We see this as good use of the Council’s time, and can ensure the Council is monitoring situations closely. 

These can become substantive discussions. As part of efforts to improve our working methods , we would be interested in considering how to make optimal use of the time available under ‘Other matters’, and for there to be more transparency when topics have been raised for discussion in advance.

Finally Madam President, we congratulate you on your presidency.  We consider the month to have been very well run and we have appreciated the tone and interactivity of the discussions.

For the coming month we wish the Russian Federation every success for its presidency.  I thank you Madam President.