(Check Against Delivery)
Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On Implementation of the Note S/2010/507
(Security Council Working Methods)
29 October 2013
I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to you, Mr. President, for your initiative of holding this Debate on Working Methods of the Security Council.
We believe that Japan has been a leading contributor to improvements of Security Council working methods. When Japan was in the Council, we, as President of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, issued the Presidential Note 507 in 2006 as well as its revision in 2010. We also issued a working methods handbook, including the Presidential Note and Provisional Rules of the Security Council. Based on our proposals, the Security Council’s interaction with troop and police contributing countries has increased. I am proud of my country’s contribution to enhancing the transparency of the Council’s working methods through such work.
I am pleased that discussions on the improvement of working methods have continued to be sought under the leadership of the subsequent Presidents of the Informal Working Group such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, and Argentina. We can see progress in the efficiency of working methods such as reviewing mandate cycles of the relevant Security Council resolutions. In this context, I would like to extend my appreciation to Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval, Permanent Representative of Argentina and Chairperson of the Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, for her contribution, including her work on the Presidential Note issued this August.
However, are these achievements enough? Are the Security Council working methods transparent enough? I am afraid that the answer is “not quite.”
For instance, many consultations in the Council are still being held in a closed and exclusive format. We even hear the complaints from elected members of the Council that they were not involved in the discussion on the situation in Syria which were conducted among Permanent Members only. In this regard, I highly appreciate you, Mr. President, for taking up “ensuring a transparent and inclusive process of negotiation within the Council” as a topic of today’s Debate.
While I strongly commit to the improvement of working methods, there are, unfortunately, limits to what we can do from outside the Security Council to ensure a transparent process of internal negotiation in the Council. In this regard, I sincerely hope the members of the Security Council, especially those with permanent seats, do more for enhancing its transparency.
Article 25 of the UN Charter stipulates that we, the Member States, agree to accept decisions by the Security Council. Yet, this article alone does not necessarily guarantee the legitimacy of decisions by the Security Council. And to enhance the legitimacy of the Security Council, improving the Council’s working methods is necessary, but not sufficient. It is indispensable for us the members of the United Nations to accelerate the negotiations toward Security Council reform and make concrete outcomes in this matter.
The Security Council as is currently composed does not reflect the geopolitical realities of this century and does not function as designed. The situation in Syria clearly demonstrates this dysfunction of the Security Council.
Let us recall our leaders’ commitment at the World Summit in 2005 in its Outcome Document to realize “early reform of the Security Council.” In this regard, I appreciate the recent initiatives by H.E. Dr. John Ashe, the incumbent President of the General Assembly, to promote proactively the reform process, as he clearly stated in his letter of 22 October.
I thank you, Mr. President.