Statement by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Open Debate of the United Nations Security Council, Under the Agenda Item “Implementation of the Note by the President of the Security Council (S/2017/507): Security Council Working Methods”

(As delivered)
Thank you, Mr. President.
          And I would like to also thank Mr. Ian Martin for his briefing today, but also for his tireless, ceaseless effort to assist the Security Council with its work. I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on assuming the presidency for February. And I would also like to thank you and your colleagues for the kind words that you have had for the work of the Informal Working Group in the last two years and in that connection, to my delegation as well. We feel that this is an important meeting and we appreciate the fact that the Council regularly listens to the views of the wider membership on its working methods.
          I shall follow your instructions, Mr. President and distribute a full text of my statement and I will try to be concise.
          Codification and practice are mutually reinforcing and to improve the working methods, this is necessary. While we were in the Council, Japan tried to tackle both.
          Today, I would like to share a few observations we have gathered from Japan’s recent membership on the Council.
          Firstly, we need to do things that may seem simple, like listening to each other to what others say in the Council meetings or consultations. We all have our national positions or important engagements. But unless we at least try to be in the room and listen to each other, effective action by the Council is less likely to be produced.
          In this connection, how the Council conducts its open debates may also be further explored. I would encourage the President, if I may, to be present until the end of the open debate to listen to the views of the wider membership. Presidential summaries can also be useful.
          Secondly, the drafting process of Council outcome documents remains at the core of the Council’s working methods. Any Council member with the willingness and ideas should be encouraged to take the initiative. Chairs of sanctions committees may be in a position to contribute more on sanctions-related resolutions (drafting of these resolutions). Troop contributing countries may be able to contribute on mandate renewals. Co-penholding may not solve everything, but could be explored further in practice.
          What is more important, is “how” the negotiations are conducted. Penholders have the heavy responsibility of making every effort to explore the best possible outcome through an inclusive process, by having face-to-face negotiations, providing sufficient time for consideration of drafts by all members, being receptive to inputs and suggestions, or pro-actively reaching out to those outside of the Council with expertise, such as TCCs, Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commissions or regional countries.
          Having said that, there may be cases where urgency on the ground necessitates a flexible, expeditious process. We should not lose sight of the fact that what is most important is for the Council to take the best possible action in the timeliest manner for the international peace and security.
Mr. President,
          Much of what I said is referred to in presidential note 507. We should make the best use of the note, and try to develop further practices where we can. I have every confidence that Kuwait will contribute to the improvement of working methods as the new Chair of the Informal Working Group.
          I would like to conclude my remarks by stating that improving working methods is not the end. Reforming the composition of the Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century can be effective in dealing with unprecedented challenges we face today.  Japan will continue to work with all Member States toward this goal.
I thank you, Mr. President.