The Council must not give in to the routine of cycles and the illusion of productivism [fr]
Working methods - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permament Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 19 July 2016
By way of thanking you, Mr. President, allow me point out Japan’s very welcome contribution to the methods of work of the Security Council, which reflects, Sir, your rigour and professionalism. As suggested in your thought-provoking concept note (S/2016/585), I shall focus on a few points.
My first point is to recognize above all the profound evolution in the Council towards more transparency, which France welcomes, for the major debates of general interest are the business of all. However, that evolution has taken place at a time of unprecedented growth in the Council’s work. I dwell on that point to emphasize the need to stabilize the procedures so that they are appropriate and can be evaluated. France does not deem it necessary to modify presidential note S/2010/507 to a great degree — or to risk damaging the quality and continuity of the work of the Council — at a time replete with challenges and dangers, which should serve to mobilize all our diplomatic energies. France favours a constant legal codification of note 507 while incorporating the 13 new notes adopted since 2010, in addition to the one adopted last week, as well as presidential statements including those of October 2015 and February 2016, adopted, respectively, under the Spanish and Venezuelan presidencies.
My second point is to emphasize the need for the Council to monitor and promote accountability for its actions before all States Members of the United Nations, in the spirit of Article 24 of the Charter of the United Nations. To that end, France considers it necessary to properly entrench the new pattern for electing non-permanent members in June and draw all of the consequences, namely, considering the Council’s report to the General Assembly and increasing the time for newly elected members to become acquainted with the work of the Council and its subsidiary bodies. We welcome the recent adoption of the presidential note on that matter, and we congratulate the Japanese delegation for its efforts since January. In the same spirit, we welcome the Council’s monthly wrap-up sessions in an open format in the Council Chamber, or under an interactive Toledo format as established by the Spanish presidency in October 2015. Finally, recent developments with regard to the process for appointing the Secretary-General and concerning the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council should be welcomed.
My third point will be dedicated to the issues of the continuum of peace and conflict prevention. The Council cannot but profit from the variety of partners in the informal interactive dialogues and so-called Arria Formula meetings. That allows it to expand its sources, to better inform its deliberations and to better anticipate through the use of informal formats and early warning so as to act as early as possible. A very important cultural change has taken place. To give a recent example, before the adoption of resolution 2295 (2016), on the situation in Mali, in June under the French presidency of the Council, an informal interactive dialogue, including the Prime Minister of Mali, was held instead of consultations, which allowed Council members to clearly understand the stakes facing Malians in that important negotiation. This format will more generally inevitably have a knock-on effect on the interaction within the Council by encouraging shorter and more informative interventions, rather than just a juxtaposition of static statements. In that the Council will find a considerable source for improving its efficiency. Reviewing the reporting cycle and publication schedule could also contribute to such efficiency, as the Council still faces too many compulsory dates that clutter the agenda to the detriment of an effective and creative treatment hot crises. In other words, despite the urgent situations that remain, the Council must not give in to the routine of cycles and the illusion of productivism. We must not fall into the habit of necessarily concluding every meeting with a long-negotiated text, whose added value is sometimes limited.
Favouring an innovative format, during our presidency in March 2015 we organized an open debate (see S/PV.7414) to more closely consider the issue of children in armed conflict. Solely in our national capacity, we limited ourselves to a statement of the ideas exchanged. That statement usefully inspired Malaysia’s consideration as Chair of the Working Group, prior to the adoption of resolution 2225 (2015) in June. The same applies to this debate and the summary of the open debate in October 2015 provided by the Spanish delegation. Finally, last month, we organized under our presidency an interactive and relevant ministerial debate on the protection of civilians, for which there was no need to adopt a text. Let us vary the formats of our meetings with a view primarily towards collective efficacy, not statistics.
In conclusion — and this is my last point — inclusiveness is an empty promise if it is not accompanied by a commitment to multilingualism, which is both an asset to our thinking and the necessary condition for truly participatory work. France also believes that e-working methods and management must not result in, or serve as a pretext for, diminishing the status accorded to each of the official languages and working languages.
It was France that, in December 1994, organized the first Council debate on its working methods (see S/PV.3483). We have come long way since then, but we still have a long way to go. We are confident that, under the leadership of Japan, we will continue to move forward together to make the Council a body that is both more efficient and more transparent and in the service of all.