8428th Security Council Meeting: Briefing by Chairs of Subsidiary Bodies

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17-Dec-2018 00:54:18
Divisions among Security Council members continue to impede work of sanctions committees, other subsidiary bodies, chairs stress in annual briefing at 8428th meeting.

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Against the backdrop of increasingly complex and evolving threats to global peace and security, divisions within the Security Council – including between its five permanent and 10 elected members – continue to hamstring the work of the committees and working groups tasked with tackling them, said the Chairs of the 15-member organ’s subsidiary bodies in their annual briefing.

Among those briefing the Council was Karel Jan Gustaaf Van Oosterom (Netherlands), Chair of two subsidiary bodies related, respectively, to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme – endorsed by the Council in its resolution 2231 (2015) – and resolution 1718 (2006) on sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Outlining the work of those bodies throughout the year, he said the latter continued to ensure the implementation of the sanctions regime imposed against Pyongyang while the former faced considerable challenges following the withdrawal by the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Emphasizing that the number of subsidiary organs reporting to the Council increased from 10 to 30 since 2000, he warned that the practice of allocating chairmanships only to the Council’s non-permanent members risks putting a strain on their effectiveness. The Council must agree to a new system that ensures a fair distribution of chairmanships among permanent and elected members, he stressed.

Olof Skoog (Sweden), Chair of two subsidiary committees charged with monitoring sanctions on Mali and Libya, respectively – as well as the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict – described the Libya sanctions committee as labour intensive and operating in a politically complex environment. At times, he said, divisions within the Council have made it difficult to agree on even minor issues. Noting that in 2018 the Committee listed individuals for involvement in human trafficking, migrant smuggling and attempts to illicitly export oil, he said Mali saw positive dynamics following elections held over the summer and the signing of a new Pact for Peace. Striking a more sombre note, he said the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is still seeing an “utter disregard” for international law, leading to an increase in violations and abuses against children.

Also briefing the Council, other subsidiary body heads – including Taye Atske Selassie Amde (Ethiopia), Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa – underlined the importance of enhancing cooperation between those organs and regional organizations. During a June meeting titled, “Cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council: The way forward”, he said representatives proposed various structured forms of cooperation between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Echoing those sentiments, the representative of Bolivia - speaking on behalf of the Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) regarding non-proliferation – said that body is charged, in particular, with assisting States in preventing the disastrous use of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors. “This is a platform of cooperation,” she said, underlining the global nature of the threat. In that light, she said, cooperation between the Committee and regional and subregional organizations is progressing in a positive manner.

Among those Committee Chairs underlining the importance of transparency in the work of the Council’s subsidiary organs was Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan), Chair of three Committees concerning sanctions imposed on Somalia; sanctions related to the Taliban; and sanctions related to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and Al-Qaida. Recalling that 2018 began with a Council debate on working methods, he said several Member States took that opportunity to voice criticism of the closed nature of many sanctions committees. As a result, more open, regular briefings have since been held for all interested Member States, he said, urging the committees’ future Chairs to follow the same procedure.

The meeting began at 5:20 p.m. and ended at 6:15 p.m.

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