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