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National statements

October Wrap-up Session

Thematic issues

  • Conflict Prevention
  • Great Lakes Region
  • Human Rights
  • Humanitarian
  • International Court of Justice
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Justice
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Mali
  • Middle East
  • Peace and Security
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Regional Organisations
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Women
  • Yemen

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

Statement by HE Mr Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you, Madam President.

It is worth reminding ourselves regularly that the Security Council's primary responsibility is to act on behalf of the members of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. In meeting this responsibility, the Council cannot and should not work in isolation.

As this month's programme has demonstrated, the Council's effectiveness in discharging its responsibilities depends on a network of partnerships with other bodies and actors. We are grateful to the Argentine Presidency for convening this session and providing an opportunity to reflect on the performance of the Council in working with its partners over the last month.

As highlighted by his considerable efforts in the past month to exercise his good offices in the interests of international peace and security, perhaps the most crucial partnership for the Council is with the UN Secretary-General. He has engaged extensively with parties to conflicts, including through visits in the past month to Libya, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and Somalia and Horn of Africa, and issued numerous statements encouraging those actors to choose the path of peace and de-escalation. These actions improved the Council's own efforts. Briefings by the Secretary-General, as with the Middle East Open Debate on 21 October, are always of benefit.

The Council's partnerships with the Secretary-General's Special Representatives are also crucial. The Council relies heavily on the SRSGs to implement the mandates the Council establishes, and to report regularly on progress. Reports this month from SRSGs and Special Advisers responsible for DRC, Lebanon, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen were central in shaping Council thinking and decision-making. Greater interactivity in consultations ensured we derived the most from these sessions. We should continue this more interactive practice. Likewise, greater interaction with the Department of Political Affairs is increasingly of serious value to the Council, and recognised as such

The trust central to the Council's partnerships with a wide range of UN agencies was also evident in October. Briefings from OCHA on Somalia and Syria enhanced our understanding of these serious crises and will help guide our decisions. Strong presentations by UN Women Executive Director, Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka and the Special Representative on Sexual Violence, Ms Bangura also added value to our deliberations.

The peacekeeping partnership between the Security Council, troop contributors and the UN Secretariat is also fundamental to the Council's work. In circumstances where UN peacekeeping is under unprecedented strain, the Council must be particularly attuned and responsive to the challenges faced by each peacekeeping operation. The annual briefing by the Heads of Military Components held this month was a very effective demonstration of the peacekeeping partnership –the Council can learn a great deal from regular briefings by Force Commanders. We hope to have a similar briefing by the Heads of Police Components in peacekeeping operations during November.

The Council's partnership with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its country configurations is also important. The role of the PBC in assisting states emerging from conflict in order to prevent relapse is central to the Council's conflict prevention role. We welcome the fact that briefings by PBC country configuration chairs are becoming standard Council practice.

Effective cooperation between the Council and regional organisations is an imperative. The joint communique between members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council adopted in June this year stressed the fundamental importance of a close, organic partnership between the two institutions – this was again highlighted in our work during October. In discussions on Somalia, Council members recognised the achievements of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The recent security gains demonstrated that the Council's decision to increase AMISOM's troop ceiling a year ago was the right one. At the sub-regional level, IGAD's mediation role on South Sudan and the ICGLR's efforts to bring stability to DRC and the Great Lakes Region are crucial. Despite all of this, however, we need to do more to ensure an optimal level of cooperation with the AU.

The importance of the Council's partnership with key international judicial institutions was also on display with a useful briefing yesterday by the President of the International Court of Justice on the Court's dispute resolution work – that should make us reflect on how the Council might engage the Court's dispute resolution functions. Discussion during the working methods debate this month – a significant agenda under Argentina's leadership – has highlighted once again how necessary it is to strengthen the current relationship between the Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the Council must work harder at this.

Civil society is another essential partner for the Council. Humanitarian organisations look to the Council to support their work, and to demand access and protection on their behalf. Human rights organisations provide crucial information that requires attention – reports by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty on violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law in CAR, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria have not just been extremely valuable, but at times instrumental – sometimes bringing information to the attention of the Council, at other times sharpening our appreciation of what is happening on the ground. Analytical work by groups such as the International Crisis Group also assists. Argentina's initiative in inviting Ms Suaad Allami, Founder and Director of the Sadr City Women's Centre and Legal Clinic, to brief on Women, Peace and Security was a good example of bringing civil society voices into the Council. We need more of this.

Madam President

In closing, I want to refer to one other important partnership – the partnership between the Presidency and all other Council members. I congratulate you for the serious, empathetic manner in which you, Mario and all your team, have managed that partnership in October. We hope to follow your example in November.

Thank you.

(As delivered)

Last Updated: 5 June 2015
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