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Security Council Open VTC Meeting on the theme “Ensuring transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the work of the Security Council”

Friday, 15 May 2020
H.E. Kira Christianne D. Azucena Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i and Deputy Permanent Representative
United Nations Head Quarters, New York



Mr. President,


We thank the Mission of Estonia for convening this meeting on ensuring transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in the work of the Security Council. We appreciate the briefing provided by Ambassador Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions, and by Ms. Karin Landgren, Executive Director of the Security Council Report.


As new developments and threats emerge, the Council’s work continues to grow, demanding its attention, resources and energy.  It is therefore timely to review its working methods to ensure that they adjust according to both substantive and administrative developments. The Philippines welcomes the progress made by the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG) towards improving the working methods of the Security Council. We are particularly pleased by the most comprehensive compilation of these measures, facilitated under the chairmanship of Japan in 2017, to enhance its efficiency, transparency and interactivity.


I would like to focus on three areas: a.) greater participation and transparency; b.) improvement in the working methods and its positive impact on efficiency and effectiveness; and c.) agility and consensus-building.


Greater participation and transparency


We welcome the increase in public meetings of the Council, which we find to be contributing to transparency and accountability. Also, increased participation of non-Members sends the important message that the Council recognizes the contribution of non-Members and promotes inclusiveness, which puts unilateralism in check. We therefore support the holding of as many meetings as possible in a public format. Our delegation also places importance to adapting the Council’s working methods on its subsidiary organs, with emphasis on greater transparency, consistency and clarity, and the periodic review of such methods.


Given the importance of the role of groups and regional organizations in dealing with matters of international peace and security, my delegation believes that they should be permitted increased participation in the decision-making process of the Security Council.  In this vein, we welcome the ASEAN Secretary-General’s briefing to the Security Council held for the first time in January this year to highlight the organization’s role in maintaining regional peace and security.


While the prevention of conflict remains a primary responsibility of States, the Philippines attaches value to the intent of the Security Council Resolution 2171 (2014), which stresses the important role that women and civil society play.  It is important to further enhance the participation of women and civil society in discussions on the prevention and resolution of conflict, the maintenance of peace and security and post-conflict peacebuilding.


Improvements in the working methods: efficiency and effectiveness


While bearing in mind the need to address cross-cutting issues, the Security Council’s working methods must promote a clear focus on the Council’s core mandate – that of promoting and maintaining international peace and security.  This focus enables an improved working method that is efficient and effective.


Improvement in the working methods is an important component of a comprehensive and timely process of Security Council reform. The reform of the Security Council should lead to an expansion of the Council and therefore certain areas of working methods need to be addressed as a result. In addition, the issue of the veto is inherently connected to the working methods. We reiterate the view that the veto power has no place in a 21st century Security Council, but in the interim, gradual steps may be taken to rationalize its use.


We believe that the Council’s working methods are not to be decided by the Council alone. The wider membership must be able to take part in the process, not just in a token or perfunctory manner, but meaningfully.  This is in line with Article 24 (1) of the UN Charter, which states that the Security Council acts on behalf of the wider membership in carrying out its duties.


Specifically on peacekeeping, a mechanism such as the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations that guarantees open, active and transparent dialogue between Missions of troop- and police-contributing countries and the Security Council should be maintained and strengthened.


Agility in difficult times and consensus-building


The Philippines recognizes the extraordinary circumstances and unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is indeed necessary for the Security Council to nurture its agility by maintaining a state of readiness to meet and make decisions in these unique situations while ensuring effectiveness, efficiency and transparency.


During the pandemic, we saw how the Council for the first time in history held video teleconferences (VTC) and voted in written procedures. However, new ways of doing things such as the use of VTC in lieu of in-person meetings and modified voting procedures can pose a significant challenge in upholding inclusiveness and transparency in the Council’s work because it takes away the core nature of negotiations and consultations where delegations can immediately clarify their respective national positions and appreciate each other’s views. Such earnest negotiations conducted in good faith and in a face-to-face setting represent the central tenets of multilateralism that promote the building of consensus around a shared vision or goal. 


We should always promote and nurture this spirit.


We should make full use of technology and systems as well as develop trust among each other to ensure agility in the Council’s work. We should invest in the development of the appropriate and secure technology, both hardware and software, to work in our favor. During normal times, we should always anticipate and pave the way for new platforms, work modes and arrangements to provide us with fast, efficient, and secure tools during extraordinary times.


The Philippines reiterates its commitment to preserving the principles of transparency, efficiency and effectiveness even as we go through this extraordinary crisis.  The Philippines stands ready to cooperate with and support the Security Council in finding the optimal method to ensuring that our working method upholds the important principles of multilateralism and diplomacy on which the United Nations was built.


Thank you, Mr. President. 


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