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Fifth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on Review of Updated Elements Paper

Thursday, 12 May 2022
H.E. Enrique A. Manalo, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York
UN General Assembly Hall, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Thank you very much, Co-chairs for giving me the floor, First, let me welcome the revised elements paper which we feel is a good basis for our discussions. Not only today, but going to the next session of the General Assembly.

I just have a couple of general comments before I go to your questions. General comments on the elements paper, particularly to say that we are pleased to see that you listed under convergences the significant and growing number of Member States who support the limitations to the veto, as well as growing support for the voluntarily refraining from the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocity crimes.

We are also pleased to see as a convergence the growing general agreement on the need for the increased representation of developing countries, and small and medium-sized states including African countries and SIDS (Small Island Developing States).

I just now like to turn to the questions that you have given us and maybe I will start with question number three. That concerns the question on the principles of reform, very briefly to say, yes, we are quite open to this. We believe that we could use the convergences to form the basis of the possible principles. Though we do note that the language for a number of the convergences, though on substance we could go along with it, we would have to go over the language very carefully, in order to get some kind of agreement that they can form a principle. But we are willing to work on that.

On question number four and attribution. We of course note and understand some of the arguments which have been made against attribution or some of the concerns expressed. However, we feel that at least in terms of voluntary attribution, it would be possible. If a country or delegation or group of countries wish to make their views known on paper or on the record, we don't see why it shouldn't be put there, in a document. And of course, we don't think that necessarily a position if it’s reflected, it will be frozen over time. We believe that that will be basically a reflection of the negotiating position which may, through the process of negotiations, of course, it could evolve.

Now, what I also really wanted to turn to was question number one, especially the last part. where it said in the last sentence: Are there areas we can further specify - the ones already captured, or make them clearer and more precise. I feel my delegations mentioned this before, but I believe this is particularly relevant when it comes to the working methods of the Council specifically in your paper on pages 4,5,6. And the main reason being we feel that we should further let's say, add more positions or make clearer the various proposals because the working methods precisely are measures which we can agree upon already, here at the General Assembly in our exercise and would not require any Charter changes. So I just want to go very briefly into this. And this specifically concerns the relationship between the Security Council and the Assembly. That's on pages four to six, and on the working methods of the Security Council.

I will just focus on three particular points made in your paper.

For example, at 2.2, we say continue and institutionalize the practice of more regular meetings. We believe that we should be a little bit more specific the next time we consider this. How often will these meetings take place? How do we institutionalize them? We think that these meetings should take place monthly, because every month the Presidency of the Council changes. So obviously, it would be useful if the President of the GA, and the President of the Council, or the Presidents of the Council, could meet monthly. And how do we institutionalize it? We feel by just saying “institutionalize,” we may not really be giving an idea of what we mean. And I think one way would be could be very specific. For example, suppose amending or adding in the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Council, a particular rule or paragraph specifying these meetings. For example, with chapter 11 of the Provisional Rules of the Council. It says relationship with other organs of the UN, perhaps we could include something to this effect and make that recommendation, at least. Of course, it's up to the Council if they will adopt it.

Another area we feel which could benefit from more specificity is there is 2.3.- that is the submission of the annual reports. We have said before that even though this was already specified in the Charter, I think we can make a further recommendation to also include special and monthly reports which the Council can provide because we feel that annual reports of course, report on what transpired the year before. And whether that would really be helpful in some cases, we raise an open question. But if we got monthly reports, then the Assembly would be able to react more efficiently.

And finally, just a comment on 2.4.1 and 2.4.5. Again, in the paper we refer to the Arria Formula, but we leave it very general. So, I think what we should address is how to institutionalize it and what specific measures? And again, we have proposed that perhaps om the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the council specifically rule 37 that we could perhaps refer to the Arria Formula already in the rules of procedure of the Council. To make it a standard practice and therefore add more predictability to the use of this formula. And also, in a way also involve countries, or concerned countries in the informal consultations of the Council.

Anyway, Mr. Chair, we just wanted to highlight these points, because we feel that at least at this section, we could add more specificity, especially to the type of working methods which we can recommend to the Council for adoption. And in that way, at least make the working methods more predictable and more transparent.

Thank you.