Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Wittig on Working Methods

Nov 26, 2012

(Security Council: Statement as delivered by Ambassador Wittig in an Open Debate on Working Methods)

"Thank you, Mr. President, for scheduling today’s open debate and for the useful concept note. We are also very grateful for the work undertaken by the Chairman of the Working Group, as well as for his presentation today.

Germany welcomes the increased efforts of the Council to interact with and seek input from a broad range of relevant actors, including the wider UN membership. Open debates, Arria formula meetings and the holding of interactive dialogues are regularly and successfully used formats to ensure communication and exchange of information that are vital for the Council’s functioning.  Also, the briefings provided by the Department for Political Affairs are a particularly important improvement, and we call on all Council members to consider conducting one such “horizon scanning” during their respective presidency. We also welcome the increased use of modern technology such as Video-teleconferencing with enhancing the timeliness and efficiency of the Council’s action.

Mr. President,

An interactive and dynamic relationship with a multitude of interlocutors such as thematic Special Representatives of the Secretary General, is crucial to the fulfilment of the Council’s mandate. And the interactive dialogue of the Council held earlier this year with the Chairpersons of the Peacebuilding Commission’s country configurations has clearly highlighted the potential for further cooperation between both bodies. For example, the participation of the Chairpersons also in Council consultations should be envisaged, not least to ensure a broader peacebuilding perspective in the Council.

We also support the enhanced involvement of regional organizations in the work of the Council. These organizations can play a crucial role in furthering conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding in their respective regions, and thus effectively complement the role of the Council. I should like to recall in this regard the successful High Level Meeting held on 26 September on Peace and Security in the Middle East which focussed on the cooperation between the UN and the Arab League.

Mr. President,

While much has been achieved to improve the Council’s Working Methods, we are looking forward to the completion of work that is currently in progress. I’d therefore like to provide a brief overview on where Germany stands on some of the main points:

-  Regarding penholderships and chairmanships of subsidiary bodies, we are of the view that all Council members are eligible to fulfil these functions, and that elected members should therefore increasingly be assigned penholderships. Germany is currently holding the pen for Afghanistan as well as the chairmanship of several subsidiary organs. This has been a very positive experience;

-  Consultations on the appointment of penholders and chairs of subsidiary bodies for the following year should take place soon after the elections of non-permanent members and before the end of the year, and should be fully inclusive;

-  The mandates of working groups should be flexible and open to necessary adaptions. In this regard I should like to state that Germany is ready to consider the expansion of the mandate of the Council Working Group on the International Tribunals so as to also include issues relating to states’ non-cooperation in the context of Council referrals to the ICC;

-  Of enhanced interaction in the context of open debates, Germany views these debates as an important opportunity for Council members to benefit from the input of non-member states. We therefore support the early circulation of concept notes to all UN members, as well as the delivery of concluding remarks by the Presidency;

-  Both the Council’s annual report as well as the monthly assessments can be improved further. The Presidency responsible for the annual report should continue to informally consult with non-members well ahead of the report, and report to Council members on the suggestions and expectations raised in these consultations. Since the monthly assessment is prepared under the responsibility of the Presidency, it should allow for a more substantive reflection of the Presidency’s views and analysis of the Council’s work during the respective month;

Mr. President,

The reform of working methods is part of a larger, comprehensive reform. Let me therefore be clear: We must not stop at addressing working methods only. What is required is a structural reform of the Security Council – a reform that makes it more representative of the world where we live in today. A reform, that lends the decisions taken by the Council more credibility and therefore greater effectiveness.

The desire for real, meaningful reform is evident more than ever. An overwhelming majority of member states - small and large, from the developing and the developed world – sees a true structural reform as the best way forward. Anything else would only address the symptoms, and not the root causes of the problem.    

I thank you, Mr. President !"

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