Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, at the Virtual informal meeting of the Plenary on the Annual Report of the Security Council. —
Mr. President, thank you for organizing this important meeting.
We are very grateful for the opportunity to comment on the report of the Security Council to the General Assembly for 2019. I thank the President of the Security Council for introducing the Report. We are happy to reflect on how to strengthen the relationship between the General Assembly, where all member states are represented on an equal basis and the Security Council – the UN’s most powerful body, the only one with the authority to issue legally binding resolutions that can be backed up by sanctions, peacekeepers or by force of arms.
The current report, like in previous years, is comprehensive but not substantive. It lists in detail all the numerous activities the Council has undertaken during the year. A quite significant workload, no question about it. However, as in the past, the report does not dwell on the reasons why, when it comes to the Security Council, we are left with a growing sense of inaction, paralysis and certainly polarization. It does not explain the inability of the Council to deliver on many outstanding issues.
Art. 24 of the Charter states that the Security Council acts on behalf of Member States. It is essential, therefore, to have a Council accountable to and willing to engage with the wider membership. This could be mutually beneficial, as improving the quality of the interactions between these two organs would provide the Council with additional information and insights to inform its work. Conversely, when the Member States in the General Assembly have the impression that their opinions are heard on matters of international peace and security that affect them, the transparency, accountability and legitimacy of the Council are strengthened, thus helping it to better face its responsibilities on a number of issues.
During last year’s Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, intense discussions were held on the nature of the report; it was, in fact, one of the areas where a substantial understanding was reached. In the Co-Chairs final document of the IGN in 2019, 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.
A more analytical approach in the Security Council’s Annual Report would indeed go in the direction suggested and allow a more comprehensive and structured discussion on the challenges the Security Council faces or of its inaction, which in our view is closely linked to the power of veto, regardless of whether it is actually used or simply threatened.
In this respect, 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.
We also look forward, starting from next year, to receiving the annual report no later than June, in line with the note of the President of the Security Council of 27 December 2019 and building on Kuwait’s important proposals as chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
Let me reiterate the need for a more accountable, democratic and transparent Security Council. This is what Italy, and the Uniting for Consensus group, have been consistently advocating within the IGN process, as we are convinced that only an enlargement in the category of elected members of the Security Council would make the Council more accountable and effective, for the sake of international peace and stability.
I thank you very much.