SC: Open Debate on Working Methods of the Security Council

Joint Statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States (NB8) delivered by Christina Markus Lassen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden – and my own country Denmark.

First let me commend Albania for convening this annual debate and for its efforts as Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions (IWG). As the past year has shown, it is vital that the Council engages with all Member States on how to deliver on its mandate and become more transparent, effective, and inclusive. The recent engagement with the co-Chairs of the IGN process is a small step forward in this direction.

The working methods – and the continuous innovation thereof – allows the Council to function. But we have also seen that they can be utilized to render it paralysed on the most important matters of international peace and security.

To improve the performance of the Council and strengthen its working methods at this particular juncture, the Nordic-Baltic States would like to highlight three priority areas that demand our joint attention:

First, opportunities for the wider membership to engage meaningfully in the work of the Council remain key to ensuring that the Council can draw on the perspectives, knowledge and capacity of the wider membership, in line with Article 24 of the Charter. In this regard, the Peacebuilding Commission can offer valuable advice and cross-cutting perspectives in support of the Council’s work. In addition to providing written advice, its Chairs should be invited to brief the Council whenever possible, and there is room for the Council to better utilize this advice. We also urge a more inclusive approach on the acceptance of Rule 37 requests. We welcome the regular interactive wrap-in and wrap-up sessions by the presidency. Furthermore, we welcome efforts to include more female civil society briefers. Continued attention to their safe participation and the deeply concerning issue of reprisals is critical to this end.

Second, elected members continue to bring invaluable innovation to the Council. Their ability to participate meaningfully in the Council’s work is indispensable and we commend Ireland and the United Arab Emirates for their recent publication of the E10 Handbook. In this regard, we align ourselves with the important recommendations made by the Secretary-General to the Security Council in "A New Agenda for Peace”, particularly on the need to “democratise its procedures”. This includes more burden-sharing among all Council members in terms of penholdership; systematic consultations with affected countries like host countries or TCCs and PCCs; and promoting greater accountability of permanent members for the use of the veto.

Third, as concerns the veto, the Nordic-Baltic States are of the view that the use of the veto should come with transparency and accountability. Permanent Members should refrain from using the veto in case of mass atrocities, including the crime of aggression. By adopting the “veto initiative” by resolution 76/262, the General Assembly introduced an important accountability mechanism. We would encourage the formal adoption of the special reports produced to ensure their appropriate reflection in the annual report of the Council. Going forward, we would also like to see the Council consistently implement Article 27 (3), in line with the Charter’s overall objectives, particularly Article 2 (4). We would also welcome a dedicated chapter on the veto in the Council’s annual report.

In closing, we encourage Council members to continue to innovate and engage through the IWG to create a more transparent, inclusive, accountable – and thus more effective – Council, and ask for the consistent implementation of the Council’s working methods. We also hope that the recommendations made today by the broader UN membership will be taken into account in the Council’s future work to adapt and improve its working methods.

I thank you.