Delivered by Jikita de Schot, Political Coordinator, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, 12 September 2019

Mister President,

In recent years the speakers list for this annual debate has been almost unbelievably short. New Zealand is pleased to join other delegations who have decided that the work of the Security Council is too important for the General Assembly to remain silent.

In this regard New Zealand aligns itself with the statement made by Switzerland on behalf of the ACT Group.

The annual report of the Security Council is a lengthy document, and New Zealand acknowledges the work of those who produced it. Having held that responsibility only a few years ago we know it is not an easy task.

We are grateful to the President of the General Assembly for having delayed this debate, to allow member states full consideration of the report. It is regretful however that delays in the finalisation of the report means that it was once again submitted only at the end of this current session of the General Assembly.

New Zealand joins other speakers to request that the President of the General Assembly continue to ensure delegations are given adequate time to consider future reports.

We also encourage members of the Security Council, permanent and non-permanent, to meet the commitment, contained in Note 507, to submit the annual report to the General Assembly in a timely manner.

This report should not be a box-ticking exercise. It should offer the opportunity to reflect on global challenges, and threats to international peace and security. It should give a sense of the progress and performance of the Security Council in this respect. 

On the substance of the report, we are pleased to observe that the Council’s work in 2018 produced several examples of positive contributions to international peace and security. In Liberia, Colombia, and Iraq, among others, the Council supported growing stability. These are important examples of the critical role the Council can and does play when it able to act with a clear voice and purpose.

The report also lays bare that in 2018 the Council was defined by its divisions, and by what it did not do. Differences of opinions are to be expected, and even welcomed as a means of identify the most appropriate response to any situation. The threat and use of the veto however, means that differences of opinions between permanent members of the Council rapidly calcify into inaction.

Mister President

The Security Council has an unenviable task. Its deliberations and decisions matter profoundly. Whether the Council acts or not, and how it acts, impacts the lives of millions.

While the preservation of international peace and security falls primarily to the Council, the Council does not, and should not act entirely in isolation. The report of the Security Council is an important step in ensuring the Council’s transparency and accountability.

I thank you