Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate on working methods of the Security Council

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC open debate on working methods of the Security Council

Check against delivery

Mr. President,

Since this is Ukraine’s first statement in this Chamber after we completed our two-year term as an elected member of the Council, I would like to use this opportunity to extend sincere congratulations to six new members of the Council on successful beginning of their work.

We also thank the Kuwaiti Presidency for organizing the debate on such an important subject as the Council’s working methods. Last time, when the UN membership had a chance to engage in such a discussion, was back in July 2016.

In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to dedication and hard work of the Japanese delegation, which steered negotiations on updating presidential note S/2010/507 and drafting presidential note S/2016/619 regarding selection of Chairs of the Council’s subsidiary bodies. The new document S/2017/507 is a significant achievement aiming at further streamlining the Council’s practices and we are pleased several of Ukraine’s priorities are reflected in it as well, including on making the Council’s field visits more transparent. Now what is required is proper implementation of relevant provisions on visits’ organization and preparation of proper reports following their conclusion.

Ukraine has always been among proponents of a more transparent Council. And in the last two years we did our best to contribute to further opening up the Council’s activities to the outside world and enhancing the role of elected members.

It is in that spirit of openness to dialogue and being accessible for all UN members that we conducted our Presidency exactly one year ago.

We clearly favored convening open Council meetings whenever possible. We insisted that closed consultations should be an exception rather than a rule. We proceeded from understanding that if consultations are held, then the outside world deserves to know what was discussed. Thus, we endeavored to summarize respective discussions for further presentations at the media stakeout. It is encouraging to see that this trend towards greater openness is getting more and more traction among Council members.

With the same attitude we approached our duties as the Chair of the 2127 Committee on the CAR and the 1591 Committee on the Sudan. We invited civil society representatives to “informal informals”. We convened committee meetings with participation of regional states. We initiated joint informal consultations with other committees to ensure a holistic approach to addressing such issues as cross-border spread of armed groups and illegal arms transfers.

We also remained staunch supporters of the practice of formal monthly wrap-up sessions, which we see as an important element of proper implementation of presidential note 507. Thus we introduced the practice of seeking the input of Member States on issues they would like Council members to reflect on.

Similarly, we are convinced that timely issuance of monthly assessments is not something to be overlooked since these assessments constitute a valuable source for preparing annual reports.

Mr. President,

All of the said above means that the working methods of the Council are what Council members do every day. Nothing is set in stone and positive change is possible and is happening, albeit at a rate slower than wished for.

We’ve all seen the Council successful political intervention in the post-electoral crisis in the Gambia. That achievement testifies to the Council’s potential in conflict prevention. We hope that gradually preventive diplomacy will become one of staple signs of the Council’s work.

Currently, the question of the use of veto remains one of the most divisive issues. Ukraine belongs to the group of states that support both the Code of conduct regarding Security Council action in response to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and the French-Mexican initiative on suspending the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities.

While we are fully aware that a veto-free Council is a distant and uncertain reality, we do believe that responsible members of the international community should be able to make a pledge of not resorting to veto when considering cases that have all the hallmarks of crimes against humanity and mass atrocities. Yet, the last few years will go down in history as the time when repeated vetoes stained the Council’s reputation to a point almost beyond repair.

But it is never too late to stop abusing the veto right.

Being fully conscious of the value of short statements, I will conclude with a remark that any effort to increase openness and transparency of the Council will be warmly welcomed and strongly supported by the wider UN membership, including Ukraine.

Thank you.