Norway has consistently promoted a more transparent, inclusive and accountable Security Council. A Council that acts on behalf of the larger UN membership to end conflicts and tackle threats to peace and security.
The UN Charter provides a clear obligation for the Security Council to submit to the General Assembly an Annual Report for its consideration. As a result, we welcome this opportunity to consider the Council’s report. We maintain that the report should be submitted to the Assembly in a timely manner. This will ensure there is an opportunity for its adequate review by the Membership.
The Council has committed itself to the full implementation of Note five-zero-seven. It states that the Security Council will take the necessary action to ensure the timely submission of the report to the General Assembly in the spring of the Calendar year. Given that we are now well into September, and with the report circulated to the general membership only weeks ago, it is clear that commitments of the Council have unfortunately not been honoured this Session.
Turning to the report itself, the Annual report paints a clear picture of a Security Council that is more important than ever, meeting to face global challenges both new and recurring. It also shows that a large proportion of these meetings are open sessions, which we welcome.
We welcome efforts to add more analytical introductions to the report in recent years. However, a truly analytical look at the Council’s work would ideally include an assessment of the Council’s work during the previous calendar year, the impact of its work, and possible areas for further action. The report we have before us today is still largely a listing of meeting dates and letters received. While these do tell an important story about the Council’s work and considerations, this information is also accessible on the Council’s website.
Where we do see a lot of value is the section of ‘Monthly assessments by former Presidents of the work of the Security Council in 2018’. These form a useful compliment to information presented in the introduction of the report. The assessments often give a more in-depth look at the monthly work of the Council. They include useful information and statistics, for example on the number of civil society briefers or details of the Missions undertaken by the Council in that month. We would welcome a better integration of these monthly reports into the Annual Report.
We must also unfortunately note that only five of the twelve Presidencies in 2018 completed such a report.
Transparency and accessibility to the work of the Council is of the utmost priority to Norway. This is why, together with Security Council Report, we will launch this week “The UN Security Council Handbook: a user’s guide to Practice and Procedure”. The Handbook aims to provide a clear, straightforward guidance to the written rules and practice of the Council, how it conducts its business, its subsidiary bodies and its relationship with other organs of the UN.
We hope this will be a useful tool for Member States, incoming Council Members, new delegates, civil society and academics, and even everyday people looking to get a better insight into the work of the Council. Moreover, that this will further boost the accessibility and understanding of the vital work the Security Council undertakes on our behalf.
Looking ahead to next year’s consideration of the Annual report of the Council: As a Charter-obligation of the Council vis-à-vis, the General Assembly we consider this process of review as a key moment for dialogue. We call on the Security Council together with the President of the General Assembly to explore ways of strengthening this important process, allowing for a substantive interaction between the General Assembly and the Security Council. And to allow the wider membership to comment on the content of the report, as well as on the Council’s implementation of its mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security.