Thank you for ensuring the timely setting of this debate. Let me also thank the UAE Presidency of the Security Council, Switzerland and Brazil for their contributions to this detailed report.
Today’s topic is an import one. The Security Council’s reporting obligation towards the General Assembly is enshrined in the UN Charter’s Article 24, 3. Why is such a rather technical point part of the UN’s most important document? The answer is clear – this is about accountability: It is pivotal that the Security Council members, either elected by the General Assembly or entrusted with a permanent membership, are accountable towards the General Assembly.
The report reflects very well that, in 2022, the Security Council took important decisions like the resolution on the humanitarian carve-out, the new sanctions regime on Haiti or the first ever resolution on Myanmar. Even though the Council continues to be divided on far too many pressing issues, it has retained a basic ability to act.
However, much trust has been lost in the Council’s work in recent years. Its credibility has been shattered, first and foremost because of the misuse of the veto by one of its permanent members – the Russian Federation.
Unfortunately, some decisive pieces of information are missing, e. g. on the use of the veto or voting behavior of Council members are missing from the report. Moreover, the lack of infographics and tables does not make it very palatable. In this regard, I would like to commend the monthly presidencies of the Council for compiling separate monthly reports and also the UN Secretariat for providing some very helpful statistics (“Highlights of Security Council Practice”) on the Council’s work at the beginning of each year.
We encourage the Security Council to include more substantive information in its next annual report, and to present it in a more user friendly way.
However, brushing up the annual report should not be seen as a stand-alone exercise. Germany has been very outspoken about the need to open the Council’s windows to the outside world as widely as possible, for example by inviting speakers from civil society, by webcasting the majority of the discussions, and by improving access to its documents and decision making procedures. Further steps in this direction need to be undertaken.
We all know: the reputation and the credibility of the Council and the whole UN are at stake. An institution tasked with safeguarding peace and security in the world should not be perceived as opaque or even as a body trying to keep the global public short of relevant information. Otherwise, trust in its work will further wane.
Germany stands ready to work on the Council’s transparency, as part of our wider endeavors aiming at reinvigorating the UN, with a reformed, transparent and fully accountable Security Council at its heart.
I thank you.