The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.


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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on the Working Methods of the Security Council

19 July 2016

Thank you Mr President, for organizing this Open Debate on the Working Methods of the Security Council. I wish to commend Japan for its sustained efforts over the last ten years in working towards improving the working methods of the Security Council, particularly with regard to its work on strengthening Note 507.

This Note remains a useful guideline in improving the transparency, efficiency and inclusiveness of the Council. Consistent implementation of the provisions of Note 507 is key to ensure its success.   South Arica reiterates that the reforms to working methods as reflected in Note 507, as well as the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, should become permanent so that this body can be held accountable and have predictable and transparent rules.

Mr President,

We wish to align ourselves with the statement delivered by the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

In addition to the proposals put forward by the NAM, I wish to also focus on four practical suggestions, as requested by your concept note for this meeting, which South Africa believes can further contribute towards a more effective Security Council. 

Mr President,

Firstly, the Council has consistently agreed to continue to expand consultation and cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations, including in Note 507, undertaking to invite relevant organizations to participate in the Council’s public and private meetings, when appropriate. Additionally in Note 507 the Council commits itself to continue to informally consult with regional organizations when drafting, inter alia, resolutions, presidential statements and press statements, as appropriate.

During South Africa’s presidency of the Security Council in 2012 we championed strengthening strategic cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, as well as the promotion of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations. The Security Council also adopted several outcomes, including Resolution 2033 (2012), which recognises that regional organisations are well placed to understand the nuances and complexities of conflicts and that their proximity to the conflict allows them to directly influence the prevention and resolution of these conflicts. The resolution among others provides concrete action for the Council to undertake to foster a more strategic relationship with the AU. 
Currently there are processes underway to verify the readiness of the African Standby Force to enable the AU to intervene in conflicts within a short time.  The AU has the capacity, political will and human resources to deploy troops anywhere in the continent as reflected by the fact that the majority of Peacekeeping troops in Africa originate from the continent itself. What is required is consistent and regular strategic consultation and coordination between the Council and regional bodies as well as assistance regarding capacity building.

Secondly, while, there has been significant improvement in consultation between the Council and Troop-Contributing Countries (TCC’s) as called for in Note 507, we believe that more can be done. In this regard regular and timeous consultation and coordination between the Council and TCC’s are required, specifically when considering new or the renewal of mandates.

Thirdly, the Security Council has committed itself in Note 507 to seek the views of Member States that are parties to a conflict and/or other interested and affected parties. This commitment should be uniformly applied. Thus, it would be necessary for the Council to, as a matter of principle, always consult with all relevant parties to the Conflict, to ensure that the Council has at its disposal all relevant facts, before deliberating on a matter.

Fourthly, briefings by the Council’s Presidency to the General membership, at the beginning and end of the month have become a regular occurrence. The Council has agreed that the Council Presidency should provide substantive and detailed briefings to Member States in a timely manner, preferably, shortly after informal consultations of the whole. We encourage members of the Council to ensure that they maintain this practice to promote transparency and keep Member States informed about its work.

Mr President,

This meeting takes place in the context of the implementation of seminal reforms related to the way in which the UN selects and appoints its Secretary-General. South Africa urges the Security Council to provide the membership with regular updates on its consideration of the candidates to ensure transparency and credibility to the process. 

In conclusion, Mr President, The Council should continue to work towards increasing and improving its transparency and accountability, thereby ensuring greater effectiveness and legitimacy in its work. Furthermore, superficial changes to the working methods do not deter from the fundamental need for a reform of the Council and the expansion of its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. We must therefore speed up the reform of the Council if we are to avoid further erosion of the legitimacy and credibility of this organ.

I thank you.