Security Council Open Debate: Implementation of the Note S/2017/507 - Working Methods

Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom ,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations

New York, 6 February 2018

Mr. President,

On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, let me commend Kuwait for convening this open debate. Let me also thank Mr. Ian Martin for his excellent briefing earlier today.

Mr. President,

Discussing working methods is not a mere exercise in style or in process. The way this Council operates influences our impact in the field and affects the life of millions of people, especially those suffering from crises and conflict.

Mr. President,

Last year, we welcomed the adoption of this comprehensive new Note 507. This book is the legacy of ambassador Koro Bessho of Japan during their time on the Council the past two years.

Now, it is time for us to fully implement this Note. I will focus on positive practices in three domains that we find particularly important: prevention, accountability and peacekeeping. And then I will add some additional suggestions for further improvements.


Mr. President, my first point: prevention. We welcome the annual joint consultative meetings and informal dialogues of the Security Council with the African Union Peace and Security Council. These are a key tool to better understand the situation on the ground and to help prevent conflicts breaking out.

Better use of this tool would be an important step in addressing regional problems, providing shared solutions and preventing escalation.

Another important aspect in the new Note 507, is the acknowledgment of the role of Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations. We should enhance interaction with these actors, for instance by having them more often as briefer in a debate, like we have today. The implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security demonstrates this very clearly.   


Mr. President, this brings me to my second point: accountability. We really welcome that the Security Council’s Annual report to the General Assembly includes information on the work of its sanction committees and of the international tribunals.

This illustrates that the Council uses the means at its disposal to promote international rule of law and to counter impunity.


Mr. President, this brings me to my third point: peacekeeping. The Note contains a number of measures which can contribute to more effective peacekeeping, and especially I refer to Paragraph 91.

We welcome the suggestion in the Note for more interactive and focused consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries and other stake holders in the meetings of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations.

Mr. President,

This brings me to my additional suggestions for improving the working methods of this Council.

First, in order to facilitate peaceful settlement of disputes, the Council could explicitly weigh the means and options provided for by Chapter VI of the Charter, guided by an inventory of past experiences.

Secondly, we need to foster the mechanisms aimed at monitoring compliance with Security Council resolutions. In this regard, enhancing cooperation with international legal mechanisms is essential. In this context, we express our concern about the continuing vacancy of the ombudsperson for the 1267 Sanctions Committee.

Thirdly, we think that the role of the Military Staff Committee should be strengthened, especially when it comes to the performance of missions in relation to the mandate. In this Committee we need a more pro-active and intensified dialogue between Elected and Permanent Members.

And fourthly, as I have said in the previous open debate on working methods, we fully support the French/Mexican initiative to limit the use of the veto in case of mass atrocities. As was just mentioned also by our French colleague.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

We need to fully implement the last update of Note 507. This is the best way to make sure that this Council works effectively. And making the Security Council more effective via better working methods is crucial to uphold the principles of the Charter, to maintain international peace and security in the interest of the peoples of the world.

I thank you, Mr. President.