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Working Methods of the Security Council
Since 2006, Switzerland together with Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Jordan and Singapore (collectively labelled the “Small Five” or S-5) has pushed for improving the working methods of the Security Council. Among the proposals are:
- a greater role for the troop-contributing countries and those that make large financial contributions in the preparation and modification of mandates for peace missions
- better access for interested and directly concerned States to subsidiary organs
- voluntary renunciation of the right of veto in cases of genocide or other serious violations of human rights or international humanitarian law
The effort has been pursued both in the General Assembly and through cooperation with the Security Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions. Progress was made with a Security Presidential Note (S/2006/507) which remained only partially implemented.
On 28 March 2012, the S-5 tabled draft resolution recommending a series of measures to improve transparency and accountability relating to the Security Council’s proceedings as well as dialogue between the Council and the membership at large. This step had been preceded by informal consultations during which the S-5 received predominantly positive feedback. More than 100 delegations declared informally that they would support the text in case of a vote. However, a few days before the General Assembly debate scheduled for 16 May 2012, it became clear that a part of the UN membership was not ready to take action on this draft resolution. In order to avoid a controversy over procedural questions, the S-5 decided to withdraw its draft resolution: It was presented in the General Assembly but not put to a vote. The issue will remain on the UN’s agenda and Switzerland will continue to make contributions to improving these working methods with a view to enhancing the Security Council’s transparency, accountability and legitimacy.
- May 2012 - S-5 Statement (59 Kb, S-5 Statement - May 2012)
The Small Five have tabled a draft resolution recommending improvements of the working methods of the Security Council.
- S-5 Resolution (39 Kb, pdf)
Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland – acting as S-5 („Small Five“) – presented Member States with a set of new proposals for improving the working methods of the Security Council. Among them are recommendations to enhance the accountability and the accessability of the Council as well as proposals for voluntary restrictions in the use of the veto. S-5 hopes to enter into a dialogue with the Security Council on these proposals and will consult them widely with the membership. Depending on progress made and support received, it is not excluded to submit the proposals in the form of a resolution to the General Assembly.
- April 2011 S-5 working methods (78 Kb, pdf)
Informal negotiations on Security Council reform started in the context of the General Assembly. The process follows an agreed working plan addressing the following issues: categories of membership, the question of the veto, regional representation, size of enlarged Council and working methods of the Security Council.
Statement in the opening debate
- 12 July 2010 Intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council Reform - Cluster I (7 Kb, pdf)
- 15 June 2010 Intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council Reform - Cluster IV (7 Kb, pdf)
- 22 Jun 2009 on annual report, veto, working methods (30 Kb, pdf)
- 12 Jun 2009 on Size, categories of membership, regional representation (26 Kb, pdf)
- 7 Apr 2009 on working methods (18 Kb, pdf)
- 17 Mar 2009 on the question of the veto (14 Kb, pdf)
- 3 Mar 2009 on categories of membership (9 Kb, pdf)
In the Security Council open debate on three sanctions committees (counter-terrorism committee, 1267 committee, 1540 committee), Swiss Ambassador Peter Maurer, speaking on behalf of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, put emphasis on the lack of an independent review mechanism concerning delisting. Ambassador Maurer warned of negative effects on the Security Council’s sanctions regimes: "If we do not see substantive change with regard to our due process concerns, cooperation and support for such activities will erode politically and endanger cooperation in the future."