Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, At a Security Council Open Debate on Working Methods

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 29, 2013


Thank you, Mr. President.  The United States welcomes today's open debate, and we thank Ambassador Perceval for her diligent work as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.

Our discussions of the working methods of the Council are important to ensuring that this body 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 procedure.  In doing so, we must recognize the need for other member states, which play a vital role in supporting and enforcing our decisions, to be informed of and appropriately involved in the Council's work.  Mr. President, peacekeeping is one of the most important tools the international community has at its disposal and we recognize the importance of close cooperation with troop and police contributing countries.  Thus, we welcome the fact that the Informal Working Group has recently considered ways in which this cooperation can be strengthened.  We continue to urge both Council members and TCCs and PCCs to take full advantage of the private meetings the Council holds in advance of each mandate renewal.

In addition to formal meetings, the Council may need at times to meet with TCCs and PCCs informally to discuss urgent issues that arise.  The Council did just this in May when UNDOF's TCCs met with Council members to discuss the deteriorating security environment in UNDOF's area of operation and threats to UN peacekeepers there.   This productive exchange contributed to the development of solutions to overcome the new challenges UNDOF peacekeepers faced.  We should consider such meetings in the future for other peacekeeping operations when appropriate.

Increased cooperation with regional and other relevant organizations has been a hallmark of our work during the past twelve months.  Yesterday's ministerial session on strengthening cooperation with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation marked a deepening of the Council's ties with that important organization.  On Yemen, the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council briefed the Security Council on the implementation of the transition plan at a high-level meeting in September.  Finally, the open debate in August, chaired by President Kirchner of Argentina, allowed member states to discuss the Council's cooperation with a range of regional and sub-regional organizations. The PRST adopted during that session is a useful compilation of the Council's practice in this area.

The Council has continued to welcome the chairs of the various country-specific configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission to participate in Council meetings.  The United States has consistently pushed for greater transparency in the work of subsidiary bodies.  The Counter-Terrorism committee has held more open meetings and has increased its interaction with civil society during the past year. Sanctions committee chairs have also organized open briefings for the broader UN membership to discuss sanctions regime objectives and committee activities.  The Council's continued use of Arria-formula meetings and extension of invitations to NGO and expert briefers, such as the important July session with the members of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, are an important tool for us to hear the views beyond those of member states.  We should look for opportunities to make greater use of this format.

As President of the Security Council for the month of July 2013, the United States was responsible for preparing the Security Council's Annual Report to the General Assembly, which is scheduled for adoption tomorrow.  In summarizing the Council's work over the course of a year, we aimed to strike a careful balance to maintain a useful amount of substance, while also keeping the report as concise and legible as possible.  We hope the report will be a useful tool for those interested in reviewing the Council's work.   In the same vein, my delegation organized a briefing at the end of our Presidency to share the highlights of the month with member states.  We believe such informal briefings offer the greatest opportunity for a meaningful discussion of the Council's work with the broader membership.

Mr. President, a more effective Security Council must remain our collective goal.  Increased transparency by the Council and engagement with the broader UN membership can support this goal, but proposals must be carefully assessed to ensure that transparency and effectiveness are mutually reinforcing and not at cross-purposes.


PRN: 2013/205