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Statement by Italy’s Permanent Representative at Open Debate on Working Methods of the Security Council


Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing this open debate on “Security Council Working Methods”.

A more transparent and functional Security Council is an absolute need in order to regain the trust of the public opinion in the capacity of the United Nations to ensure international peace and security.

The most recent developments, with important processes blocked by vetoes, add to this narrative and make today’s Open Debate even more timely and needed.

We also commend your endeavor, Mr. President, as Chair of the Informal Working Group on documentation and other procedural questions.

Mr. President,

Revised Note 507 addresses the demand for enhanced transparency, inclusiveness and interaction of the Council with the rest of the UN membership. Until now much has been done in this regard, but we can all agree that there are margins for improvement.

We are convinced that, within the Council, Permanent and Non-Permanent members should work on equal footing as much as possible, with the exception of what is currently contemplated by the Charter in terms of veto power.  More generally, E10 should be allowed to play a greater role in the work of the SC. The distribution of duties among the Council Members should be fairer and more balanced, when it comes both to the chairmanship of subsidiary bodies and to the practice of penholderships and co-penholderships, also for African members on African issues.

Moreover, it is essential that views and interests of Member States affected or concerned by any matter on the agenda of the Council be heard and taken into account in its work.

It is essential to increase the cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, and we look forward to seeing the Council regularly request, deliberate and draw upon the PBC specific, strategic and targeted advice.

We are also strongly support the practice of inviting briefers from the civil society to the Council meetings, ensuring adequate women’s participation and greater gender inclusivity and equality, in order to allow the Council members to hear different voices and points of view before deliberating. It is disappointing that in 2023 fewer women than usual were invited to brief the Council and we command the Albanian Presidency for the attention and dedication to the WPS Agenda, also through the commitment to a strong female civil society representatives’ involvement in the programmed briefings during the current month of September.

We believe it is important to hold public meetings of Security Council as much as possible, while keeping closed meetings and informal consultations to a minimum, in accordance with the exception they were originally meant to be. We also appreciate the organization by the Albanian Presidency of three open debates that will allow non-members of the Security Council to express their voice on issues of concern.

Mr. President,

The improvement of working methods is also part of the broader discussion on the comprehensive and effective reform of the Security Council, which should aim at a more transparent, accountable, efficient and, in our view, also more democratic Security Council. A Council that is more inclusive, in particular with regard to Africa and the Global South.

In this regard, keeping in mind that the reform of the Security Council is dealt with within the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), in order to promote a more practical and concrete discussion in that framework, we very much welcomed and support the idea put forward by the IGN Co-Chairs of the 77th session of the GA, who suggested, in their letter addressed to you last 27th April, to convene annual meetings between the Chair of the Security Council Informal Working Group (IWG) on Documentation and Other procedural Questions and the IGN Co-Chairs. Such exchanges of views could help identify ways for the two processes to complement each other to the benefit of an improvement of the working methods of the Security Council, both now and in a reformed Security Council.

It is hard to speak of working methods without reflecting at the same time on the root causes of the Council’s inaction, which are directly and closely linked to the power of veto, regardless of whether it is actually used or simply threatened.

The vetoes cast in the Council over the last years, also recently, provided further confirmation of the paralyzing effect of the veto power on the Council’s ability to act.

This is why Italy supports all initiatives aimed at self-restraining the exercise of the veto – such as the French-Mexican initiative and the ACT Code of Conduct – and was among the co-sponsors of the innovative GA resolution 76/262. This is also the reason why we do not support the expansion of the Security Council in the category of Permanent Members, as it would generate additional veto powers and further discrimination among permanent and non-permanent members.

Finally, in order to enhance the effectiveness of the Council, Italy would welcome the proper application of the provision under article 27.3 of the UN Charter, according to which any member of the Council involved in a dispute, including the Permanent Members, should abstain from voting on decisions related to that dispute.

I thank you.