Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Let me first of all thank Azerbaijan for organizing today’s debate and providing a very good concept note. We appreciate that these debates are turning in to yearly events, as the working methods of the Council indeed concern the membership as a whole.
Since last year’s open debate attention to this matter has increased further.
Argentina has continued the excellent leadership of Portugal of the informal Council Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions. The adoption of note S/2013/515 during the presidency of Argentina in August was a welcome step, where the Security Council committed to a number of measures for increased transparency and consultations. Outside the Council a new constellation of countries, a group called Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT), has joined together in order to push for reform of working methods. We welcome the establishment of ACT and fully support the statement held on behalf of the group by my Swiss colleague.
The two most central aspects of the discussion on working methods continue to be transparency and the possibility of non-members to interact with members of the Council in a substantive way. That’s why note S/2013/515 is important and encouraging. With the Council’s commitment to enhance interaction with member states, as well as with other UN entities and regional and sub-regional organisations, it is our hope that more concrete steps will be forthcoming. The issue now is implementation of the commitments contained in the notes that have been adopted over the last years.
We continue to underscore the need for regular, informative briefings to non-members of the Council, and welcome the “Wrap-up sessions” that have been held so far. As the Council continues to review the concept of “Wrap-up sessions” we would suggest an inter-active model, where non-Council members are invited to participate. This relates to a number of situations. In particular to discussions on peace keeping missions where troop- and police contributing countries should be involved to the greatest extent possible. There is also scope for improving the quality of open debates by ensuring that concept papers and outcome documents reflect input from all participating countries. The adoption of note S/2012/922, on ways to improve open debates, is welcome in this regard.
The Nordic countries welcome all efforts to enhance transparency. Therefore, we continue to support the work of the Security Council Report, which provides valuable insight and knowledge about Council activities – including working methods - to the wider membership.
Given the ever-increasing workload of the Council, let me also stress the importance of efficiency. We encourage the continued implementation of note (S/2012/402), including technical improvements such as the more frequent use of VTCs.
Efficiency also relates to the internal distribution of labor among Council members. We welcome the adoption of note S/2012/937, focusing on the selection of chairs for the subsidiary bodies. We still encourage the Council to be more forthcoming with the scheduling of these meetings, in order for the broader membership to be better informed.
Discussion on the Pen-holders should also continue. In our view, elected members of the Council could have a greater role in drafting and presenting products of the Council.
Nothing could be more important for the Council than to prevent and respond to conflict. The Council should continue to actively seek ways to improve its ability in this regard. We would encourage the Council to return to “Horizon scanning briefings” at the beginning of every month. This concept offers the Council a chance of early warning, and thus the possibility of acting before a conflict erupts. A broader approach to prevention and conflict resolution also relates to the connection between thematic issues and country specific situations. The Council could do more to integrate these perspectives.
In closing, the Nordic countries call on the Council to continue on its path of reform. There is still plenty to do.