United Nations Security Council: open debate on working methods - joint statement
Statement delivered by Craig J. Hawke, Permanent Representative of the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, 6 June 2019
President, thank you for convening this debate, and for your efforts both as the Informal Working Group on Documentation Chair, and as Council President. I want to acknowledge and thank also our briefers for your expert insights.
Inspired by the current elected members’ delivery of a joint statement today, I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of 22 former elected Council members from all regional groups, who sat around this table between 2011 to 2018: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Chad, Chile, Egypt, Guatemala, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Rwanda, Spain, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine, and Uruguay.
Getting working methods right is essential to the work of the Council. It goes to the heart of the Council’s performance and accountability to the whole UN membership and the Charter.
Good working methods create an environment enabling each and every Council member to be fully involved, to contribute to informed discussions, and to play a full and meaningful role in the Council’s work. This becomes even more important when there is disunity in the Council and seemingly no space for a political solution.
With that, we want to talk to two issues.
The first is shared responsibility. This Council comprises 15 members. All Council members should have equal opportunity to exercise their Charter obligations to uphold international peace and security.
This includes a balanced division of labour for penholdership and chairing of subsidiary bodies, which we have worked hard to achieve during our respective terms. It was not easy; and the gains we were able to secure were small.
We risk this cycle of behaviour repeating from tomorrow, when another group of non-permanent members are elected to the Council. We call on permanent members to shoulder the burden of chairing, and share the pens that you hold.
The second issue is about how to better deliver on the Council’s conflict prevention role. This requires doing the big, and small, things right as Council members, including:
• First, requesting AOBs to ensure emerging threats are addressed with the right timing;
• Second, inviting briefers who can deliver insights to add value to the Council’s deliberations;
• Third, demanding appropriate briefings, including maps and graphics, from Secretariat briefers to better support discussions;
• Fourth, tailoring the format and focus of meetings to secure the best chance of a meaningful outcome from the Council's deliberations and, when an outcome is reached, keeping the Council accountable to it;
• Fifth, making better and more frequent use of situational awareness briefings;
• And sixth, ensuring that we are not just speaking about countries concerned but also speaking to them.
I end with a message to the current E10. We are encouraged to see that you continue the legacy of elected members. Continue to be brave. Meaningful change, while enabled by rules and procedure, is driven by taking the initiative, and leading by example.
Shukran [I thank you.]