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26 November 2012 - Security Council - Working methods - Statement by Mr Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

I thank the Indian presidency for convening this now annual debate on the working methods of the Security Council. I would also like to thank Ambassador Moraes Cabral for chairing the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.

The Council determines its agenda and its procedures. They are provisional and enable practice to vary according to needs. That is to the Council’s advantage, which can adapt itself to new requirements. The review in 2010 contained in the annex to presidential note S/2010/507 on the Council’s good practices clarifies our working methods. On that basis, I will make two observations.

First of all, there have been efforts to improve the Council’s working methods. In particular, the public nature and transparency of debates have been enhanced. I would like to cite four examples.

First, the majority of Council meetings are now public or include a public part. On matters of general interest, we believe that the open debate formula should prevail. We would like in particular to hear more often from the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Chamber, rather than in consultations.

Secondly, at the initiative of France and the United Kingdom, there is now a regular dialogue with countries that contribute troops to peacekeeping operations. With the help of all interested delegations, we must now ensure the greater substance of such dialogue. Thirdly, the President of the Council regularly meets the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Chairs of its country-specific configurations who are invited to participate in Council debates.

Lastly, thanks to the revamped Council website and regularly updated documents on all mandates and operations, the President and the Secretariat provide all members and officials of the Organization with the information that they need on the work of the Council in all official languages.

There have been further developments this year. In 2012, the Informal Working Group discussed the recommendations put forward by States in the course of the open debate held in November 2011 (see S/PV.6672). That shows our concern in listening to the ideas of all States. Points of agreement were found on the better use of Council resources and greater interactivity in its consultations.

My second observation is that we can continue to make progress and to be innovative. First, we need to better use the tools available to us. By way of example, I should like to refer to field missions that enable Council members to engage with local actors. It is appropriate to draw greater advantage from such missions by defining our objectives more specifically and by ensuring that there is follow-up to the conclusions drawn from such deployments.

Secondly, the Council now regularly holds exchanges with the Department of Political Affairs on threatening situations that justify particular attention. Allow us to recall that through that practice the Council was first able to consider the situation in Mali. In that way, the Council has the means to better anticipate and prevent crises.

Thirdly, we must ensure consistency in our consideration of, and action on, thematic resolutions and geographic agenda items. In that regard, we agree with the recommendations of the group of five small nations on increasing the link between the work of the Security Council on thematic issues, namely, the rule of law, combating impunity, the protection of civilians and emerging situations, and its action on specific situations. The Council has adopted an ambitious framework regarding the protection of civilians, children in armed conf lict and combating gender-based violence in conf lict situations. We must implement such principles in the context of geographical resolutions. Our annual report does not ref lect the total synergy of those two approaches.

In the same spirit, France believes that the sanctions regimes should be applied more systematically to persons subject to arrest warrants of international criminal jurisdiction or the leading perpetrators of acts of piracy.

Fourthly, as I already pointed out in the open debate convened by Guatemala on 17 October (see S/PV.6849), France supports the permanent members of the Council voluntarily and jointly foregoing the use of the veto in situations under the Council’s consideration in which mass atrocities are being committed and, more generally, which pertain to the responsibility to protect. Finally, as the Council has drawn up new meeting formats that facilitate better exchanges with the United Nations membership and other actors under Arria Formula meetings or interactive dialogues, it seems to us appropriate to amend the mandates of the Working Groups of the Council when new issues emerge. That could be done in a dynamic and f lexible way. As we discussed on 17 October, I would particularly like to see the 15 Council members consider developing a broader mandate for the informal working group on ad hoc tribunals.

In conclusion, we encourage the future Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions to draw working proposals from this open debate, as Ambassador Moraes Cabral has done in the course of this year.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU