Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the General Assembly meeting on the Annual Report of the Security Council —
We welcome this opportunity to comment on the report of the Security Council to the General Assembly for 2018 and to reflect on the sensitive issue of the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly.
We believe this interaction should be strengthened, considering that the General Assembly is the only United Nations body with universal representation. As stated by Art. 24 of the Charter, the Security Council acts on behalf of Member States. It is essential, therefore, to have a Council accountable to the wider membership.
The report is detailed and comprehensive. It lists all the resolutions, Presidential statements and meetings of the Security Council and its subsidiary organs. It does not say much, however, about the inaction of the Security Council. It says that – I quote – “Divisions in the Council prevented it from taking effective action on some key conflicts” – end of quote – but it does not elaborate further on the inability of the Council to deliver. The report simply lists those cases (Syria and the Middle East) in which veto power was applied, but does not say anything about other issues where the mere threat of veto prevented the Council from taking action.
During this year’s Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, the nature of the report was the subject of intense discussions; it was, in fact, one of the areas where a substantial understanding was reached. In the Co-Chairs final document of the IGN, under the section “Commonalities”, it is stated that it is important – and I quote – “to strengthen the cooperation and communication between the Security Council and the General Assembly, in particular through the submission by the Security Council of annual reports of a more analytical nature and of special reports to the General Assembly” – end of quote.
In this regard, we would like to stress that having more analytical contents in the Security Council’s Annual Report would indeed allow a more structured discussion on the action, and especially on the reason of the inaction, of the Security Council: this inaction is closely linked to the veto, regardless of whether it is actually applied or simply threatened.
We view with interest initiatives aimed at restricting the use of the veto, such as the French-Mexican initiative, the Code of Conduct put forward by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparent Group and, the proposal by Liechtenstein to have a debate in the General Assembly every time a veto is cast in the Security Council.
All of these suggestions lead in the direction of a more accountable Security Council. The principle of accountability, through elections in the General Assembly and the rotation of the members of the Security Council, should also be the guiding principle for the long-awaited reform of the Security Council in the direction of making it more democratic, transparent and efficient
This is what Italy, and the UfC group, Uniting for Consensus group, are advocating within the IGN, in the conviction that only an enlargement in the category of elected members of the Security Council would make the Council more accountable and prevent the inaction that too often results from veto power.