General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Open Debate on Working Methods

 

11 March 2024

 

Statement by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj

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Mr. President,

 

I wish to thank the delegation of Japan, as the chair of the Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG), for organizing an open debate on this important topic.

 

2. As an organ of the United Nations tasked with the maintenance of international peace and security, this debate on working methods remains extremely relevant, especially in the backdrop of Ukraine and Gaza. As such, how much has the Security Council been able to deliver on peace and security, with both feet firmly fixed in the past, is a larger question that the member states need to collectively ponder upon.

 

3. In that collective reflection, one major aspect, which is also one of the five clusters of the IGN, is the Working Methods. The edifice of the working methods of the Council is erected on the nebulous expanse of rules of procedure that remain provisional, even now. At a micro level, as an eight-term elected member of the UN Security Council, we would like to submit the following FIVE issues of key concern:

 

Firstly, on the Council’s engagement with the wider membership, and as mandated by Article 24 of the UN Charter - one of the meaningful ways of doing this would be through a discussion on the Report of the Security Council in the GA. However, despite longstanding demands for analytical reportage, these remain just factual markers indicating the number of times the Council has met or the total debates that it has conducted.

 

Secondly, let us turn to the subsidiary bodies inhabiting a subterranean world, with their own custom-made working methods and obscure practices which do not find any legal basis in the Charter or any of the Council’s resolutions. For instance, while we do get to know of the decisions of these committees on listing, the decisions on rejecting listing requests are not made public. This is indeed a disguised veto, but an even more impervious one that indeed merits a discussion amongst the wider membership. For genuine, evidence-based listing proposals for globally sanctioned terrorists to be blocked, without giving any due justification, is uncalled for and smacks of double speak when it comes to the Council’s commitment in tackling the challenge of terrorism.

 

 

Thirdly, the selection of chairs of subsidiary bodies and distribution of penholderships must be made through a process which is open, transparent, based on exhaustive consultations, and with a more integrated perspective. The consensus of the E-10, on chairs of subsidiary bodies to be assumed by the E-10 themselves, must be honored by the P5.

 

Fourthly, as one of the largest Troop Contributing Countries, my delegation would like to reiterate that the concerns of the troop and police contributing countries should be taken into consideration for better implementation of peacekeeping mandates.

 

Fifthly, there is a need to review the agenda of the Council and remove obsolete and irrelevant items from the agenda of the Security Council. Note 507 on procedural matters provides ample guidance on this.

 

In a nutshell, UNGA Decision 62/557 – which all member states subscribe to, has identified five pillars for comprehensive reform – of which improvement in working methods is one. However, it is also imperative to note that working methods do not stand in isolation as they have an organic linkage to other clusters, including on the relationship with the General Assembly and discussions on the veto. Therefore, unless we address the issue in its entirety, a “piecemeal approach” would fail to offer a holistic solution.

 

In addition, Mr. President, as we discuss the working methods, we also witness an equitable representation sized hole in the Security Council between the P5 and E10. What we therefore need is a Security Council that better reflects contemporary realities – the geographical and developmental diversity of the multipolar world of today, including the voices of the developing countries and unrepresented regions, like Africa, Latin America and the vast majority of Asia and the Pacific. For this, an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership is absolutely essential.

 

Mr. President,

 

We can no longer hide behind the smokescreen of the Intergovernmental Negotiations by delivering entrenched national positions in a process which has no time frame, and no text. We should embark upon the only established process in the UN, which is by engaging in negotiations based on text and not through speaking at each other, or past each other, as we have done for the past three decades.

 

As the threats to international peace and security evolve, Mr. President, so must this Council. We ask those blocking progress on this vital issue to heed calls for genuine reform, and contribute to making this Council truly fit for purpose for the 21st century.

Thank you.

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