(As Delivered)


20 April 2006

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this meeting and for giving me the floor. At the outset, I would like to congratulate Ambassador Majoor and Ambassador Bethel on their appointment and re-appointment, respectively, as vice-chairs. I am confident that, under your able leadership, we will be able to make further progress on this important issue.

Mr. President,

I have much pleasure to make a statement on behalf of the Security Council on the issue of working methods. I am doing so in my capacity as the current Chair of the Security Council's Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, which is a subsidiary body with responsibility that includes improving the Council's working methods.

Mr. President,

As every principal organ of the UN, the Security Council is well aware of the necessity of continuous efforts to improve its working methods. The Council members are also conscious of the fact that there is a strong interest in this issue among the larger membership. This is a legitimate interest. One reflection of such interest is the history of long, detailed debate that has taken place over many years in this Open Ended Working Group on so-called Cluster II issues. The debate has yielded a number of ideas and proposals aimed at improving the Security Council's procedures and working methods.

In paragraph 154 of the Outcome Document of last September, world leaders recommended that the Security Council should continue to adapt its working methods so as to increase the involvement of States not members of the Council in its work, as appropriate, enhance its accountability to the membership and increase the transparency of its work. This recommendation has to be followed through.

In reality, steady progress has been made in the past mainly through the work of the Working Group in the Security Council in the 1990's and early 2000s, and these improvements are fully documented in the form of Presidential Statements (PRSTs) or Notes by the President of the Council. It is also true that improving its own procedures and working methods should be a continuous process and that there is always room for further work to improve its inclusiveness, accountability to the membership and transparency as well as its efficiency and effectiveness.

Recognizing the need to strengthen its effort in this regard, at the start of this year the Council agreed to revitalize its work done in the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, which had remained somewhat inactive for the last two years. Part of the revitalization effort was to change the system of Chairmanship of this Working Group. In lieu of the old practice where the monthly rotating presidency assumed the chair of the WG, the Council decided, on an experimental basis, to extend the term of the WG Chair for several months, in order to allow it to work on the issue in a more consistent manner, rather than piecemeal which the old practice tended to become. And it was decided that Japan would assume the Chair until the end of June.

Mr. President,

The Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions thus reshaped started its work energetically on two categories of issues: the first group of issues relates to Council's own internal work in order to increase its efficiency; the second group of issues relates to the Council's relationship with non-members so as to respond to the needs of more inclusiveness, accountability and transparency.

It is for the Security Council itself to take the lead role in adapting its own rules and procedures, and its own working methods. And I am pleased that it is doing so. That said, it is important to note that consideration of these two categories of issues mentioned above obviously can be informed by and benefit from any good and practicable ideas and suggestions coming from all sources, including, most importantly, those that have been discussed in this Open-Ended Working Group over the years and those that future discussion may produce.

Of the two groups of issues I mentioned, the second group that defines the relationship between the Council and non-members would be a matter of greater interest to the members of this WG. It is the intention of the WG to start discussing these issues in May, after having dealt with the first group of issues. Under this heading, it is the intention of the WG to look at ways to improve the Council's communication with non-members, to better involve the wider membership, civil society and other organs in the work of the Council, to explore ways to make the best use of various kinds of meetings for that purpose, and to look for more effective ways of disseminating information to the wider membership and the public.

We expect that these discussions in the WG to result in some specific proposals that will then be submitted to the Council for its endorsement by the end of June.

However, any early harvest should be put into effect as early as possible. It is also the intention of the Working Group to ask the Council to implement its agreed improvement measures without delay.

Mr. President,

This concludes my statement. The additional steps taken in the Council for improving its working methods through its WG on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions are concrete and significant ones, which should lead to tangible results which will benefit not only the Council members but also the larger membership of the Organization, along the lines of the recommendation given to us by our leaders in the Outcome Document.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)
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