Reform of the working methods of the Security Council

UN Security Council Chamber in New York
© Neptuul - Wikimedia Commons

Since 2006 Switzerland has aimed to improve the working methods of the Security Council. In accordance with the UN Summit Outcome document of 2005, the objective is to promote the involvement of states not members of the Security Council, to increase the Council’s accountability to the whole UN membership and to improve the transparency as well as the efficiency of its work. Switzerland pursues the improvement of the Council’s working methods as a member and coordinator of a group of states called ACT (short for Accountability, Coherence and Transparency). This group was founded in May 2013 building upon the work of the earlier smaller group of five countries (Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Singapore) called the Small 5 (see below). ACT mobilizes a network of 22 states from all different geographical regions. The group is organized in several teams working on different topics (multi-issues), on different tracks (multi-tiered) and advancing at different speeds (multi-speeds). ACT recognizes and commends past efforts of the Security Council in the domain of the working methods but considers that the current implementation of measures already adopted remains inconsistent and unsatisfactory. In addition further measures are needed to enable the Council to genuinely and efficiently carry out its mandate.

Some of the proposals include: 

  • more open and interactive sessions of the Council; a transparent program of work and stocktaking after each presidency;
  • develop the use of prevention measures (Chapter VI of the UN Charter);
  • improve cooperation with regional organizations (Chapter VIII of the UN Charter); 
  • closer consultation with troop-contributing countries, neighboring states and regional organizations in the planning and conduct of missions;
  • voluntary renunciation of the veto right in cases of atrocity crimes (genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes).

ACT Fact Sheet (PDF, Number of pages 2, 20.7 kB, English)

Watch the video of the panel discussion on the process of selection and appointment of the next Secretary-General (30th June 2015)


2 May 2013 ACT - the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group - Better Working Methods for Today’s UN Security Council

As the coordinator, Switzerland announces the official launch of the new group of states called ACT on 2 May 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

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