National Statement of Germany on the working methods of the Security Council during the Security Council Open Debate, 11 March 2024

Security Council Open Debate - Working Methods

Security Council Open Debate - Working Methods, © German Mission to the UN

11.03.2024 - Speech

The statement was delivered by Ambassador Thomas Zahneisen, Deputy Permanent Representative.

Mr President,

We would like to congratulate Japan on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council, and we welcome your initiative to have an open debate on working methods.

Transparency, efficiency, and accountability within the Security Council's operational framework are not merely matters of presentation; they are fundamental to its effectiveness and legitimacy.

Germany has consistently advocated for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council to better fulfil its mandate.

This reform must encompass both elements: the composition of the Council, to reflect the reality of the 21st century and to undo historic injustice, and, of course, the Council’s procedures and working methods.

We all know that reaching a decision on an enlarged Council will be a complicated endeavour, but this should not be an excuse for not improving the working methods.

For brevity of time, we would like to highlight three key points, where in our view progress is achievable:

First, on civil society briefers.

For many years we have strongly advocated a more systematic inclusion of civil society briefers in the Council discussions. The track record, we believe, shows the quality of the briefers’ contributions to topics of the Council’s agenda as well as their impact on the decision making within the Council.

The diversity of civil society briefers, however, could still be broader, especially with regard to women and youth representatives. Both have a legitimate interest in making their voices heard. They bring a unique perspective, new insights and creativity to the discussions, from which, we believe, the Council can only profit.

Therefore, Security Council Presidencies should try, to the fullest extent possible, to facilitate their participation in accordance with Rule 39 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.

While encouraging a broad participation of civil society briefers, it is also our obligation to protect them. Pressure and intimidation of civil society representatives who brief this council are inexcusable and simply unacceptable. In these cases, the Council must speak up.

My second point is on penholdership:

the Council can only profit from a more inclusive and transparent approach to penholderships. We have consistently advocated for a fairer distribution of responsibilities, particularly in favour of the elected members. We urge the Council to act decisively on this matter now.

Third, and finally, on the use of veto:

Germany will support all efforts and initiatives to limit the use of the veto.

In particular, we plead for restraint in using a veto to block Council action aimed at the prevention and punishment of genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes.

I thank you.

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