Remarks by Ambassador Alejandro D. Wolff, U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations, at debate on United Nations Security Council Working Methods Reform

Alejandro Wolff
Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
April 22, 2010


Mr. President, the United States appreciates Japan’s commitment to improving the working methods of the Security Council, and your initiative in convening this open debate.  We'd like to recognize your outstanding work as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions and the excellent management of these issues by your Mission.

The Council has a solemn responsibility to take the primary role in preserving international peace and security on behalf of the entire membership of the United Nations.  It is important that in carrying out this role, our work be as effective, efficient and transparent as possible.  Article 30 of the Charter mandates the Council to adopt its own rules of procedures. In doing so, the Council understands the importance of making sure that other UN members, who are our partners in the maintenance of international peace and security, are informed of and appropriately involved in the Council’s work.

Today's debate focuses on the implementation of the annex to Presidential note S/2006/507. That note was the result of intensive work in the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Issues and was a significant step forward.   The Security Council undertook a number of measures to improve the transparency of its work. All Council members have made significant contributions to this effort.

With respect to transparency for example, the Council established a new practice whereby new Council Presidents brief non-Council members shortly after the adoption of each month’s program of work.  The practice of each Council presidency preparing a published assessment of its month-long term expands the information available to the general membership and provides a snapshot of the problems faced by the Council in its work and how these problems have been

The Council also increased its interaction and dialogue with non-Council members in a variety of ways including through informal discussions with interested parties to seek their views.   Open Security Council meetings such as the one we’re in today provide the opportunity for general members to participate and we’re pleased that about 20 percent of the members are doing so today.  Another example is the open debate the Security Council organized on the implementation of resolution 1540 last fall.   The 1540 Committee purposely developed an open
and transparent three-day event for all UN member states, relevant non-governmental organizations and civil society to present findings on 1540 implementation.  The event was well
attended and included a civil society plenary session side event organized by the Stanley Foundation.  We again encourage as many members as possible to attend open meetings, which are the Council’s preferred method of meeting whenever possible.

The Council’s subsidiary bodies have also increased their number of open meetings.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Chair, Turkish Permanent Representative Ambassador Apakan -
in conjunction with the Counter-Terrorism Executive Director Mike Smith, have already held two open meetings this year; the first on &the challenge of effective judicial cooperation and the second on maritime security and terrorist acts committed at sea.

Making the work of the Council more efficient requires constant efforts.  In this regard, we al face the challenge of balancing the substance with the length of each of our statements so that we can convey our message as succinctly and clearly as possible.  All of us, whether or not we are Council members, should strive to do better on this score so that meetings can be conducted in a manner that allows as many member states to speak with as many other states present to hear them.

Today’s debate offers an opportunity for the Council to hear first hand whether the practical applications of the innovations listed in the previous Presidential 507 notes have helped UN member states to follow the Council’s work. We intend to listen carefully to constructive comments in order to assess the effectiveness of practices and measures taken by the Council to enhance transparency, dialogue, and efficiency.  This information will help inform the future
efforts of the Council’s Working Group on Documentation and Procedure.

Thank you Mr. President.


PRN: 2010/070