Mr. President, the United States appreciates Portugal’s commitment to improving the working methods of the Security Council, and your initiative in convening this fourth open debate on the topic. Additionally, we recognize Ambassador Ivan Barbalic of Bosnia and Herzegovina for his work as chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions and the excellent management of these issues by the Bosnian mission.
Our discussions of the working methods of the Council are important to ensuring that the Council remains able to address the challenges of the 21st century. On behalf of the membership of the United Nations, the Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is essential that in carrying out this role, its 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 recognizes the need for other UN members, who are our partners in the maintenance of peace and security, to be informed of and appropriately involved with the Council’s work.
To achieve that end, the Council, some years ago, revitalized its Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions. Our discussion today builds upon the extensive work done by the Working Group as well as the recommendations outlined in Note 507 by the President of the Security Council. In that regard, we would like to once again thank Japan for its efforts in developing updates to note 507.
Mr. President, we should bear in mind the steps taken thus far by the Council to implement these recommendations.
With respect to transparency, Council presidents brief non-Council members shortly after the adoption of the program of work each month. Further, each Council president prepares a published assessment of its month-long term, thereby expanding the information available to all member states on the problems faced by the Council and how these problems have been addressed.
The Council has increased its interaction with non-Council members by holding open debates and informal discussions. We are encouraged by the growing number of Member States that choose to participate in open meetings, such as today’s meeting, and look forward to subsequent open sessions on a range of issues that are relevant to the Council’s agenda.
Further, the Council has welcomed the chairs of the various country-specific configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission to participate in Council deliberations. Subsidiary bodies like the counter-terrorism committee have held more open meetings, and sanctions committee chairs have organized more open briefings for the broader UN membership to discuss sanctions regime objectives and committee activities. Sanctions committees also invite representatives of member state to brief them on issues of mutual concern, and we encourage Member States to pursue such opportunities.
Troop-contributing countries play a critical role in the development of peacekeeping operations and the Council has aimed to increase the role that TCCs play in discussions of mandates of Missions to which they contribute. To highlight the importance that the United States assigns to TCCs, President Obama met with the top contributors in September 2009 to hear their perspective on ways to improve UN peacekeeping.
The Council has also increased its interactions with non-Council members through informal processes, like Groups of Friends. The Group of Friends of Women, Peace, and Security, for instance, informs the Council’s actions through inclusive and transparent dialogue with non-Council members.
Making the work of the Council more efficient requires constant efforts. In this regard, we all face the challenge of balancing the substance with the length of our remarks. We should all, Council and non-Council members alike, aim to convey our message succinctly so that as many member states can speak with as many other states present to hear them.
Today’s debate offers Members the opportunity to share views on whether the practical applications of the innovations listed in the 507 note have helped them to better follow and participate in the Council’s work. The United States welcomes constructive comments that will inform future efforts of the Working Group and allows us to assess the effectiveness of practices and measures taken by the Council to enhance transparency, dialogue, and efficiency. We look forward to continued discussions on these issues and thank the Portuguese presidency once again for this initiative.
Thank you Mr. President.
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