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Remarks by Ms. Minna-Liina Lind Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia at the Security Council Open Debate on Working Methods of the Security Council, 6 February 2018

06.02.2018

Estonia, as a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, fully endorses the statement delivered by Switzerland. Estonia, together with Costa Rica, has been at the forefront of the ACT group on the “T” or transparency issues. Therefore, I would like to emphasize a few points on this.

Estonia cannot speak from the first-hand experience about the complicated everyday work of the Security Council since we have never served as one of its members. But we truly believe in the positive impact of open and inclusive processes. Furthermore – and as it was already expressed in the 2005 World Summit outcome document – the main goal should be increased ownership of Council´s work by all countries and its accountability to the membership.

We have seen closely the importance of effective and substantiated communication between the Security Council and the wider UN membership in the recent appointment process of the Secretary-General. In this regard, Estonia sent on behalf of the ACT group letters to the Secretary-General as well as to the Presidents of the General Assembly and of the Security Council on lessons learned. Our conclusions have recently been published as document A/72/514–S/2017/846. 

Although there is still time until the peak of the next Secretary-General selection cycle, I would like to draw your attention to a few suggestions from our lessons learned document for future reference. First, the ACT group believes that the interaction between the Security Council and the General Assembly needs to be improved to live up to the expectations of the membership and the new standard of openness and transparency. In that regard we encourage the Security Council to review its working methods, building on the discussions held among Council members during the latest selection. Second, the ACT group recalls the collective responsibility of the Security Council to reach consensus on a recommendation to the General Assembly for the appointment of the Secretary-General. In that regard, ACT believes the use of colour-coded ballots during straw polling should be discouraged and the equal rights and role of all Council members in the process should be upheld. Last but not least, the ACT group calls for regular public briefings by the Security Council on developments in the nomination process and open communication of straw poll results.

Overall we are glad to witness that the members of the Security Council are more often speaking in the open chamber and contributing to increased transparency. We are fully aware that there are discussions and situations which need to be dealt with behind closed doors, but whenever possible we encourage Council members to hold open meetings and to seek interaction with wider membership and other organs as well as civil society.

In closing let me express our gratitude to the work done by Japan in the Informal Working Group and wish all the best to Kuwait for their chairmanship in the next two years.  

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