UNGA71: Security Council Reform
New Zealand statement delivered by Tara Morton, Counsellor, 7 November 2016
Since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, the world has undergone huge change. The United Nations has grown from 51 member states to 193 today. Against this backdrop, and facing unprecedented global challenges, Security Council reform has become more critical than ever.
The United Nations needs a Security Council that is capable of acting to prevent and resolve the kinds of crises facing the world in 2016 and beyond.
We thank you, Mr President, for appointing the Permanent Representatives of Romania and Tunisia as Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations process. We wish them all the best for the challenging task ahead.
New Zealand also thanks previous Chair, Ambassador Lucas of Luxembourg. We hope that the new Chairs will build on the excellent work of Ambassador Lucas. In this regard, the Elements of Convergence represent a useful point from which to move forward.
As a current elected member of the Security Council, New Zealand is acutely aware of the challenges which too often result in poor performance by the Council. Many of these challenges flow directly from the 1945 framework for the Council, and in particular the status and role of Permanent members.
More than 25 years of negotiations about structural reform of the Council demonstrate that reform based on the concept of new permanent members will be very difficult to achieve. This is why New Zealand is a supporter of an ‘intermediate solution’ on Security Council expansion.
Recognising the realities of this situation, New Zealand has put significant energy into pushing for internal reforms of the current Council and in particular, securing meaningful improvements to the Security Council’s day-to-day working methods to make them more effective, result-driven, transparent and inclusive.
- New Zealand has pushed to enhance the quality of informal discussions within the Council, with the aim of improving the Council’s capacity to respond collectively to conflict and emerging crises.
- We have driven reform of the process for appointing the Chairs of Security Council subsidiary bodies, taking this important role out of the exclusive control of the P5.
- New Zealand has also worked with the Secretariat and other Council members, to establish monthly situational awareness briefings to ensure that Council members have access to quality information on evolving and potential crises.
- In the context of peacekeeping, New Zealand has hosted informal “triangular” meetings on specific Peacekeeping Operations, to ensure more effective, thorough and respectful consultation between the Council and the Secretariat with TCCs. We have also strongly advocated for better Council working methods to reflect the needs of conflict prevention and the Council’s Chapter VI mandate. Prevention of conflict requires much better shared information from the field and better practical engagement by Council members. To help achieve this, New Zealand has supported an increase in country visits by the Council. We are pleased to note that this week the Council will visit DRC and Angola, its fifth visiting Mission for 2016.
In closing, Mr President, these are small but impactful reforms which have potential over the long term to improve the quality of Council discussion and performance. We urge Council members in the years to come to continue these reforms and to progressively add to them. Reforms of this nature can be accomplished and are not impossible. We note the value of achieving procedural reform through the agreement of all Council members, if possible. But we should also remember that most working methods issues are ultimately procedural in nature, and therefore governed by Article 27(2) of the Charter.
Thank you Mr President.