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Security Council – Briefing on United Nations sanctions

Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge’ d’Affaires a.i. of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing on General Issues relating to Sanctions. Enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations sanctions

Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to thank the Egyptian Presidency for today’s briefing. As this Council and the whole of the UN are reviewing the tools at their disposal to maintain or restore international peace and security, my Delegation believes it is important to also assess and review how measures not implying the use of force – such as sanctions – have worked and which actions can be taken to further improve their elaboration and implementation. It is also important we do so with an open and balanced view, aimed at actually improving the use of this important tool by this Council.

Over the years, the Security Council has shifted from comprehensive and “stand alone” measures to combined “smart” or “targeted” measures, aimed at decision-making elites and targeted individuals, while avoiding harm to the general population.

This remains an improvement of the measures decided by the Council and a key aspect to build upon.

The evolution of SC measures included the establishment of panel of experts and monitoring teams to ensure improved implementation of SC decisions. In addition, peacekeeping or mission mandates have been looked at to ensure that they take into account effective implementation of SC sanctions. But more needs to be done in this area. For instance, it will be important to further advance with respect to due process guarantees in listing and delisting procedures for targeted measures. At the same time, it will be important to also include in the reporting gender and women’s rights analysis, including on the impacts of sanctions and on counterterrorism strategies.

If we agree that further progress is needed, then a constant assessment and review of SC measures become essential. This periodical assessment needs to look at whether the implementation of sanction regimes continues to be coherent with the objectives set by the Security Council.

Sanctions are not an end in themselves and should be integrated in a wider political strategy. Furthermore, despite the name, they must not be intended as punitive, but rather as a useful tool to support political processes and lead targeted entities and persons to a path of dialogue and negotiation. We have clear examples of sanctions regimes contributing to this end.

The need to ensure coherence between the means and the end and their verification on an ongoing basis are important. Establishing or strengthening mechanisms of periodical review can help the Council to adjust its course of action. Such a review process should have a twofold impact: first, on the sanctions’ designing; and second, on their implementation.

Mr. President,

Inputs from Member States, including targeted entities and persons, should help the Council to adjust both current and future restrictive measures for the sake of improving their effectiveness and avoiding unintended consequences, in particular on the civil population. On the implementation side, Sanctions Committees play an essential role.

Also building on our experience as Chair of a Committee, we are convinced that there is a need for a constant, sustained and effective dialogue with Member States. The Committees must provide clarity about the overall framework of the measures and offer guidance both through general guidelines and on a case by case basis. In this regard, the role of the Secretariat may prove crucial; maintaining a strict coordination with the Committees’ Chairpersons could be strengthened.

The Committees should consider engaging more in outreach activities to illustrate Council’s measures thus fostering proper and better implementation, but also to provide Member States with a platform to exchange views and receive feedback on these measures.

The same should apply to the diversified galaxy of Monitoring Teams, Expert Groups or Panel of Experts. They should be encouraged to have more genuine and transparent interactions with the Member States, more informal opportunities for dialogue and open doors vis-à-vis the Member States.

To sum up. From our point of view, what is needed is:
i) clarity as to what Member States are asked to do;
ii) guidance and assistance for any issue Member States may raise on sanctions’ implementation;
iii) constant outreach and dialogue with the Membership to improve both the design and the implementation of sanctions.

Any review and potential reform of the sanctions’ system should ensure appropriate balance between more coherence and uniformity and the need to take into account the specificities of each situation in which the Council intervenes.

Mr. President,

To conclude, I would like to touch on a more general point. Cross-cutting issues – such as sanctions, justice and accountability, protection of civilians, women and children – call for coherence in Security Council action. If the Council is perceived as lacking coherence in its proceedings, then there will be an issue of legitimacy and acceptance of the measures adopted. The spillover consequence is on the implementation of such measures.

As you know, we have been advocating the broadening of the work of the Informal working group on international tribunals, so as to make it become an informal working group on justice and accountability in situations of conflict. Were we to follow a similar approach with the sanctions, Italy would focus its attention on the issue of implementation, on inclusiveness of all relevant actors, and on the overarching goal of providing a constructive contribution to sanctions design.

I thank you, Mr. President.