Security Council: Statement by Ambassador Wittig in Open Debate on Working Methods

Oct 29, 2013

(Statement as prepared for delivery:)

"Mr. President,

As the issues on the agenda of the Security Council become increasingly complex, so do its day-to-day work and decision-making processes.

Other UN organs and institutions, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations - they all make important contributions to the work of the Council and the fulfilment of its Charter-mandated role. The media and wider public are also important, particularly in times of the internet and Twitter.

All this should be seen as an opportunity, not a burden to the Council. This requires enhanced transparency and efficiency of the Council as well as interaction with the wider UN membership and relevant stakeholders. 

The Council has come a long way, most recently with the adoption of Presidential Note 515. The note contains many useful aspects, including on the increased use of the Arria formula, closer involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission, and the use of wrap-up sessions by the Presidency. We encourage the members of the Council, especially the permanent members, to ensure that the commitment made in Note 515 also translates into action.

Other issues remain to be addressed.  As this is an on-going process, improvements must be sought on multiple fronts. In this context, we encourage the group of member states of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT)-Group to continue their important efforts in this regard.

We also very much appreciate the proposal made by the French Foreign Minister Fabius to refrain from using the veto in situations of atrocity crimes. During Germany’s recent Council membership, I myself witnessed the deadlock in the Council caused by three double-vetoes, and – more importantly - the terrible consequences they had for the Syrian people. The French proposal is therefore an important initiative by a permanent member of the Council and should contribute to fostering the overall discussion of the reform of the Security Council.

Mr. President,

As important as the improvement of the Council’s working methods may be - only a comprehensive, structural reform will enable the Council to more effectively  tackle the challenges of today’s world. Such a reform is long overdue. As the United Nations nears its 70th General Assembly in 2015, the time has come for action!

We thus welcome the initiative taken by the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe, to task an Advisory Group with the drafting of a negotiation text that adequately reflects current positions on Council reform and provides options on the way forward. We hope that such a text will finally enable member states to engage in real 'give-and-take negotiations'.

Germany stands ready to engage constructively in these negotiations.

Thank you."

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Reform of the United Nations

The United Nations is a product of its times: founded in the wake of the two disastrous world wars of the previous century. Its organs and modes of functioning reflect the political balances of power and peace-building moral concepts of that era.