Countries Welcome Work Plan as Security Council Reform Process Commences New Phase

by Lydia Swart
24 February 2009

At the UN, in a meeting held on Thursday 19 February 2009, Member States approved a work plan outlining the rules of procedures and the structure of the upcoming negotiations on Security Council reform. The approval indicates that the process towards reform can move from discussions on procedure to more substantial negotiations.

PDF Version

Following the first meeting of the intergovernmental negotiations in the informal plenary of the General Assembly on 29 January 2009, the President of the General Assembly, together with the Chairman of the intergovernmental negotiations, Afghan Ambassador Zahir Tanin, announced that they would provide Member States with a work plan, which would include a schedule of meetings as well as provide clarity on the framework and rules of procedures of the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations, in time for the meeting on 19 February.

Since the end of the last General Assembly session in September 2008, the issue of rules of procedure had evolved into a major bone of contention between countries, especially between the Group of Four (G4) and the Uniting for Consensus (UfC), as different rules of procedure could ultimately allow for different outcomes.

Germany, Japan, Brazil and India in the Group of Four (G4), who seek permanent seats for themselves, argued that the rules of procedure of the General Assembly should apply to the intergovernmental negotiations. The G4 has long claimed to have a majority of Member States behind them, and using GA rules of procedure would enable them to put their claim to the test in case their regional rivals stall the process in the informal plenary.

The Uniting for Consensus faction (UfC), with Italy, Pakistan, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Canada and Malta as its core members, which opposes adding new permanent members on the Council - and especially their regional rivals among the G4 - is generally viewed as constituting a numerical minority in the General Assembly. The group has vocally argued that decision-making in the informal plenary should be based on consensus, with some observers speculating that they are nervous of losing out in the event of a vote. It should be noted, however, that both claims are difficult to verify as many Member States remain undecided on the issue (for a tentative overview of Member States' positions, please see Security Council Reform - An Overview of Member States' Positions, 8 December 2008).

For the GA President and his Chairman, the main challenge at the 19 February meting was therefore to come up with a compromise plan to enable Member States to start actual negotiations on a commonly agreed basis.

Work Plan is Released and Member States Meet

The much anticipated work plan was released on Wednesday 18 February 2009 by the GA President. According to the work plan, the rules of procedure of the General Assembly will not apply to the informal plenary but "When the time comes to take action, we will move to a formal meeting of the General Assembly, whereupon the rules of procedure of the General Assembly will take effect." According to some insiders, this implies that Member States cannot ask for a vote while the intergovernmental negotiations are ongoing. The plan also outlines a meeting schedule for the upcoming process, with meetings on five key issues - categories of membership, the veto, regional representation, the size of an enlarged Council, and working methods, as well as the relationship between the Council and General Assembly - scheduled to begin on 4 March and running through late April. A second round is scheduled to follow thereafter.

At work

The day after the release of the work plan, on 19 February, Member States convened a closed all-day meeting at the United Nations headquarters to discuss the plan. In his opening statement, Chairman Ambassador Zahir Tanin told Member States that with the work plan "we at long last leave the antechamber of reform and walk into the negotiation room." While praising the day as 'historic,' he said that "The plan is the result of a painstaking and diligent exercise of deduction. From that exercise," he continued "we concluded that this is the work plan that emanates from Decision 62/557. What is more," he noted "the plan [sets] out how to negotiate and when to negotiate."

Following the opening statement, almost 50 countries reportedly took the floor to share their views on the plan:

The G4 immediately expressed their support for the work plan, although especially India and Germany continued to support the idea of calling for a vote if negotiations stall. The G4 countries and many of their supporting countries (Solomon Islands, Czech Republic, South Africa, Armenia, Nigeria, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Romania, Uruguay, Guyana) also asked for a "composite paper" to be compiled by the Chairman before the first meeting in March. Such a paper would include all known positions on the five key issues and would serve as a starting point for negotiations.

The Uniting for Consensus group also expressed their support for the work plan as a basis for further negotiations, and especially with the rules of procedure. Italian Ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata said in his statement that the work plan represented a "...significant achievement," which would enable "us all to move forward in this process." Italian AmbassadorHowever, on the idea of a composite paper, the ambassador noted that "...my delegation is very reserved on ideas which have been mentioned, of keeping as the basic reference for negotiations a single proposal or a single scheme, [...] or some equivalent composite paper for the negotiation." These sentiments were supported by Pakistan, Canada, Malta, South Korea, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Indonesia. Turkey, expressing their support for the UfC group, said that the work plan "...represents an important milestone in the long and painstaking process of Security Council reform," but also expressed doubt over the usefulness of a composite paper.

The permanent members of the Security Council also took the floor. While stressing their support for the work plan as well as the candidacies of the G4 countries as well as Africa, the United Kingdom noted that "Today marks the beginning of a new phase." France supported this perspective, adding that they support "together with the United Kingdom, [...] a step-by-step progression towards an interim reform of the Security Council." Newly appointed US Ambassador, Susan Rice, said in a much anticipated statement that the moment was "important." She further underlined that the United States would not link Security Council reform with other UN reform efforts, such as management reform. The move constitutes a significant break with the policies of the previous administration, and is notable as it could imply more US leadership on the issue of Security Council reform. Ambassador Rice also noted that "we support expansion of the Security Council in a way that will not diminish its effectiveness or its efficiency. And finally, she said: "the United States will take into account the ability of countries to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, and the other purposes of the United Nations." Interestingly, the US did not voice its support for a permanent seat for Japan, as was customary during the Bush administration. Reportedly, Russia and China also spoke.

Senegal, speaking on behalf of the Africa group, reportedly said that the work plan was "interesting" to Africa, but that they reserved judgment until the group had studied the plan further. Lastly, Senegal noted the African group's steadfast insistence on two permanent seats with veto as well as five non-permanent seats for Africa as set out in the Ezulwini-Consensus.

While noting their appreciation of the work plan Switzerland, Jordan, Singapore and Liechtenstein, in the so-called Small Five group (which also includes Costa Rica), spoke consistently for an improvement as well as a reform of the working methods of the Security Council. "In contrast to enlargement" Swiss Ambassador Peter Maurer said, "reform in working methods suggests immediate and meaningful advantages to the wider membership. It must take place on a regular basis and as part of an ongoing process. Such improvements are not subject to a Charter amendment. They have to be pursued independently of progress in the negotiations on enlargement," he said. Finally, the ambassador suggested that an intermediate compromise solution involving the creation of a third category of seats, renewable and for a longer period, could be a way forward.

From Scandinavia, Norway stated their support for the work plan, and said that although they would support an expansion in both categories, "it is also important to guarantee that smaller states have the opportunity to serve as members of the Security Council." They further stressed the importance of improving the working methods of the Council. Iceland also supported the plan and remarked that "voting on an issue of such vital concern to many should only be regarded as an option of last resort."

From the Caribbean, the Ambassador of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines delivered - as one of the only countries - some criticism of the work plan. Although he accepted the work plan as a basis for further negotiations, he called it both confusing and disappointing. "Member States are again reiterating broad principles in general statements that cannot, even by the most generous standards, be considered negotiation." The ambassador suggested that the Chairman submit a composite paper to kickstart negotiations.

The Dutch Ambassador, Frank Majoor, lauded the work plan, while noting that the so-called intermediary model could be a possible and workable compromise solution to break the stalemate. And he remarked that "Improving the Council’s working methods remains an important part of this exercise."

Amb. Z. TaninIn a short closing statement, Chairman Ambassador, Zahir Tanin, said that "I will carefully study the many suggestions brought forward today, including the drafting of a composite paper."
He added: "let’s speedily continue with intergovernmental negotiations in good faith, with mutual respect and in an open, inclusive and transparent manner […] seeking a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance by Member States."

After the Meeting

Following the deliberations, Ambassador Tanin explained to reporters gathered outside the conference room (link to video) that the process was now in a different stage. He added that "all Member States supported the work plan. We have an agreement on how to move forward, which includes when and how to negotiate. This is not," the Chairman underlined "negotiations on negotiations anymore, but the start of negotiations on substance."

And German Ambassador Thomas Matussek said to the Associated Press that he believes prospects for a compromise agreement "are better than they were before because against the backdrop of the international financial and economic crisis everybody talks about global governance."

In general, the broad acceptance of the work plan means that Member States now have agreed on a common basis for the upcoming negotiations. This, some observers note, constitutes an unprecedented and important first step towards further progress.

Countries will meet on 4 March 2009 to discuss the first of the five key issues.




Unless attributed to a specific source, all expressions of opinion in this analysis are those of the author. The Center for UN Reform Education does not endorse any particular reform proposals.

UN Photos by Mark Garten


Latest Updates

NOTE: It appears that many links to attachments and chapters of publications do not work at present. We are in the process of resolving this issue.

The Advisory Group's Non-Paper: Will it Facilitate Security Council reform?
[updated]On 12 and 16 December 2013, an informal meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform took place, with the Non-Paper faxed to Member States just a few days earlier.

On 21 November 2013, the General Assembly Reacted to the Security Council's Annual Report (A/68/2)
The Annual Report of the Council was again discussed - independently from the general Security Council reform debate - as promoted by ACT.

Creation of Advisory Group on Security Council Reform to Provide Basis for Negotiations Unsurprisingly Meets Opposition
Update on Security Council Reform: Creation of PGA’s Advisory Group and joint plenary meeting held on 7 and 8 November 2013
by Lydia Swart, 10 November 2013

The Center for UN Reform latest publication on Security Council Reform: Governing and Managing Change at the United Nations: Reform of the Security Council from 1945 to September 2013

A New Low Point in the Security Council Reform Process: Serious Clashes between the President of the General Assembly and Chair
On 27 June 2013, the President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, rather than the Negotiations Chair, Zahir Tanin, presided over a meeting of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council Reform, highlighting an ongoing disagreement between the two about how and when to proceed during the current session.

21 Member States Launch ACT, a New Initiative for Better Working Methods of the UN Security Council
by William Pace, 12 May 2013
On Thursday, 2 May 2013, ACT (Accountability, Coherence, and Transparency) officially launched its initiative for better working methods of the Security Council. This initiative is a follow up to the multi-year efforts from the S5, in particular in regard to its draft resolution L.42 Rev.2 from May 2012.

No Strong Support for Drafting of Concise Working Document: Chair Proposes to Put Negotiations on "Strategic Hold."
Updated 7 May 2013
On 16 and 17 April 2013, Member States discussed ways on how to proceed with the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, reacting to the proposals made by the Chair in July 2012. The Chair of the negotiations, Amb.Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, believes that without a working document that could lead to actual give-and-take negotiations, it might be better to "put the negotiations on strategic hold."

Draft Resolutions on Security Council Reform: Growing Convergence between Developing Countries?
By Lydia Swart, 4 March 2013
Includes draft resolutions from L69 (2012) and CARICOM (2013)

Update on Security Council Reform: Another impasse?
By Lydia Swart, 1 February 2013
An update on Security Council reform efforts from July 2012 - 30 January 2013

Annual debate on the working methods of the Security Council - DPI report
26 November 2012

Joint Debate in the General Assembly on the Report of the Security Council & the Question of equitable representation and increase in its membership - DPI report
15 November 2012

67th Session Third Committee Preview
By Tamara Johnson, 24 October 2012
As the Third Committee progresses with its 67th session, here are some hot button issues with which the NGO community and some delegations (the off the record nature of the consultations informing this article prevents specifics) are particularly concerned.

Report on the Security Council Open Debate on Children in Armed Conflict
By Tamara Johnson, 28 September 2012
The Security Council, on 19 September 2012, held an open debate pertaining to The Report of the Secretary-General A/66/782-S/2012/26 on the status of children in armed conflicts and Resolution 2068(2012), the Security Council’s response to the Secretary-General’s report. While this subject of protecting children seems noncontroversial, the resolution proved more polemical than one may have expected. The principle subject under dispute was the reach of the Security Council’s mandate to protect children in armed conflict. The modalities of such protection and the efficacy or appropriateness of different options were also discussed. This report outlines key aspects of the resolution and the lines of argument the debate followed.

Report on Rio+20 Outcome and Migration: Including all stakeholders in the future we want
By Tamara Johnson, 30 August 2012
On 22 August 2012, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the MacArthur Foundation hosted a seminar to review issues surrounding migration policy in a human rights-based framework, as outlined in the Rio+20 outcome document, "The Future We Want.” This report summarizes the statements made at the event.

Report on the Committee for Development Policy Strategy Beyond 2015
By Tamara Johnson, 10 August 2012
On 23 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) heard a briefing by members of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) regarding development strategy post-2015. The Vice-President of the Council, H.E. Mr. Luis Alfonso de Alba, opened the meeting. CDP members Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School; and Mr. Norman Girvan, Professional Research Fellow, UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago reviewed the Committee’s recent report, United Nations Development Strategy Beyond 2015. This article provides a summary of the briefing and the CDP report.

Report on ECOSOC Panel Discussion: "Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making”
By Tamara Johnson, 5 August 2012
On 19 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a panel discussion, “Improving capacities for evidence-based humanitarian decision-making,” as part of its humanitarian affairs segment on special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance. This report provides a summary of the meeting.

Letter of the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on SC Reform outlines negotiations thus far and possible ways to move the process along
By Lydia Swart
On 25 July 2012, Amb. Zahir Tanin, in his capacity as Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform, wrote a letter to the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in which he provided an overview of the intergovernmental negotiations to date while also outlining possible ways to move the process along, including a concise working document to be drafted by the Chair. It is noteworthy that in spite of this bold move, Amb. Tanin was reappointed by the President of the General Assembly of the 67th Session as Chair of the negotiations.

Report on the Security Council Open Debate on the Peacebuilding Commission
By Tamara Johnson, 20 July 2012
On 12 July 2012, The Security Council (SC) met with representatives of the World Bank and the Chair and former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to debate the PBC’s efficacy and relevance. SC President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Her Excellency María Angela Holguín, convened the debate pursuant to the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its fifth session (S/2012/70) and a Note Verbale dated 2 July 2012 from the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (S/2012/511). This report provides a summary of the meeting.

Report on ECOSOC Panel Discussion: “Mobilizing partnerships for development, including in the field of education.”
By Tamara Johnson, 22 July 2012
On 11 July 2012, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held a panel discussion, “Mobilizing partnerships for development, including in the field of education.” Vice-President of the Council, H.E. Mr. Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil (Egypt) chaired the panel, which was moderated by Ms. Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, United Nations Development Programme. This report provides a summary of the meeting.

Report of the 4th Thematic Meeting in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen,28 June 2012
On 1 June 2012, the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly met for the fourth and final thematic meeting, dedicated to a discussion of “ Enhancing the functions of the Office of the President of the General Assembly including Strengthening its institutional memory and its relationship with the Secretariat”. This report provides a summary of the meeting.

Report on the 2nd and 3rd Thematic Meeting in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen,17 May 2012
On 30 April 2012 and 10 May 2012 the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly held its 2nd and 3rd thematic meetings, discussing respectively “Working methods of the General Assembly, implementation of GA resolutions and the agenda, as well as operational and technical issues” and “The role of the General Assembly in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General of the UN, as well as in the selection of candidatures for other executive Heads of the UN system”. This report provides a summary of the two meetings

Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 10 April 2012
By Kirsten Schlosser
4 May 2012

On 10 April 2012 the fifth meeting of the eighth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations was held on Security Council reform. This meeting was devoted to the reform initiative of the C-10, presented by the Member State Sierra Leone. This summary is based on statements given by Member States at the meeting.

Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 13 March 2012
By Kirsten Schlosser
4 May 2012

On 13 March 2012 the fourth meeting of the eighth round of Intergovernmental Negotiations was held on Security Council reform. This meeting was devoted to the reform initiative of the L.69 Group, presented by the Member State Jamaica. This summary is based on statements given by Member States at the meeting.

Report on the first thematic meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen, 25 April 2012
Last Thursday, 19 April 2012, the ad hoc working group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly met for the first thematic meeting of the session, dedicated to “The role and authority of the General Assembly and its relationship to the principal organs of the United Nations and other groups outside the United Nations”

Harmonization of Business Practices: System-wide Coherence reform 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 23 April 2012
Harmonization of business practices was first introduced to the UN in 1977 within resolution 32/197 which resolved, “…measures should be taken to achieve maximum uniformity of administrative, financial, budgetary, personnel and planning procedures, including the establishment of [...] harmonized budget and programme cycles”. The idea made its resurgence as one of the five surviving clusters of the 2006 High Panel on system-wide coherence (SWC). In a 2009 outcome document from a joint meeting between the executive heads of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and WFP, it stipulates, “While simplification and harmonization of business practices in the UN system are not new initiatives, the urgency and momentum, the scope, and the approach are now new aspects of those initiatives.” ECOSOC has subsumed the initiative to a large degree, often with collaboration from the CEB, UNDG, and WFP, with progress shifting away from 'harmonization' and towards 'simplification' starting in 2010.

Improving the Funding System of Operational Activities for Development: System-wide Coherence 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 23 April 2012
Funding reform has been, and continues to be, a necessary reform to enhance UN efficiency. This article covers the progress of Funding as a cluster within system-wide coherence in 2008, to the present efforts of improving the funding system of operational activities for development taken on by the Fifth Committee, ECOSOC, UNESDA, and the CEB.

Strengthening Governance of Operational Activities for Development: System-wide Coherence 2008 to Present
By Katie Jagel 18 April 2012
Governance reform within the UN is one of the most active sites for comprehensive UN reform. Since 2006, simple ‘governance’ reform has transformed into the more formal “Strengthening Governance of Operational Activities for Development” and has been a fixture on several UN organ agendas. This article maps the efforts, debates, outcome documents, resolutions, since 2008 but focuses mainly, on the actual progress made by the UN on the governance front.

The “Delivering as One" (DaO) Initiative: System-wide Coherence reform.
By Katie Jagel 18 April 2012
This article is a summary of the Delivering as One initiative, monitoring the events which took place from inception up through implementation and subsequent evaluations. It tracks the events and debates which took place since 2008 up through the latest Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review planning documents, planned for late spring of 2012.

The Creation of a Composite Gender Entity: System-wide Coherence reform 2008-present.
By Katie Jagel 16 April 2012
The Creation of a Composite Gender Entity was one of the recommendations of the 2006 High-Level of System-wide Coherence. This article maps the progress of the making of UN Women since 2008. The years 2005-early 2008 are covered in the previous article by Jonas von Freiesleben in Chapter 3 on System-wide Coherence in the Center’s 2008 Edition of Managing Change at the United Nations . This article starts in 2008 and covers the Member State disputes, many concept notes and debates, and what the UN Women organization has been up to since its start date in February of 2011.

The S5 presents draft resolution on the Improvement the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Mie Hansen 10 April 2012
On 4 April 2012 the S5 (Jordan, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica, Singapore and Switzerland) presented a draft resolution on improving the working methods of the Security Council. At the meeting the S5 called for the General Assembly to take a stand to on the issue and suggested 16 May as a possible date for a vote. This article provides a summary of the proposal and the meeting held on it.

First Meeting of the 66th GA session in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly
By Mie Hansen 30 March 2012
On 27 March 2012 the ad hoc working group on revitalization of the work of the General Assembly held its first meeting of the 66th General Assembly session. The working group, established pursuant to resolution 65/315, is during the current session Co-Chaired by Ambassador Alexander Lomaia of Georgia and Ambassador Susan Waffa-Ogoo of the Gambia. The meeting was dedicated to a general exchange of views among the Member States on all of the issues included in the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly. This article provides a summary of the meeting and the statements made.

Report on Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) March 7th Special Panel Discussion on “ECOSOC and Global Governance”
By Katie Jagel, 21 March 2012
On March 7th ECOSOC hosted a Special Panel Discussion in New York centered around Global governance. The Discussion hosted three distinguished panelists and was designed by the President of ECOSOC, H.E. Miloš Koterec, as an 'open free-flowing discussion with no formal statements' between Member States and the panelists. Based on questions and statements from Member States, ECOSOC's role in global governance within the UN system is unquestioned but needs to be better defined and articulated in order for it to utilize its mandate as a 'logical platform and good compliment alongside the G20 and the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI's)'.

Report on Security Council Reform Meeting 21 February 2011
By Mie Hansen, 12 March 2012
On 21 February 2012 the third meeting in the eighth round of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform was held, dedicated to the reform initiative of the Uniting for Consensus group. Based on statements delivered by Member States at the meeting as well as conversations with delegates and observers to the process, this report provides a summary of the meeting as well as an update on the current state of the negotiations.

The Human Rights Council: Is it filling its mission as the World’s premier human rights protector?
By Thomas Colerick 23 February 2012
This posting provides an update of the Center’s 2008 article “The establishment of the Humans Rights Council”. It analyzes the achievements of as well as challenges to the Council since 2008 as seen from the perspectives of different stakeholder including civil society, UN Officials and UN Member States.

Update on Security Council Reform: Meeting from 26 January 2012
By Alicia Stott, 15 Febraury 2012
In a letter by the current chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations to the Member States and the President of the General Assembly, it was stated that in the interest of facilitating more in-depth discussion and evaluation the remainder of the meetings for the eighth round of the group will be providing each of the representatives of the five major initiatives the opportunity to present their most current proposals for Security Council reform, beginning with the G-4.

The Council on Foreign Relations posts video talk on Security Council Reform
On 11 January 2012 the Council on Foreign Relations posted a video talk by Stewart M. Patrick on Security Council Reform, entitled “UN Security Council Reform: Is it Time?”. Click here to watch the video talk on the CFR website

Meeting on General Assembly Revitalization 1 December 2011
By Mie Hansen, 5 January 2012
On 1 December 2011 the General Assembly met to discuss Agenda Item 120: Implementation of the Resolutions of the United Nations and Agenda Item 121: Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly.
This article provides an overview of the debate.

Former consultant with the Center for UN Reform Education wins prestigious award
By Thomas Colerick, 13 December 2011

Meeting in the General Assembly on Security Council Reform, 8 and 9 November 2011
By Mie Hansen, 7 December 2011
On 8 and 9 November 2011 the 51st and 52nd plenary meetings of the 66th General Assembly session were held with a discussion of Agenda Item 122: Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and related matters. This article gives an overview of the debate and the statements made during the meetings, as well as an update on the developments in regard to Security Council reform leading up to the debate.

The 2011 Annual Report of the Human Rights Council
By Thomas Colerick, 8 November 2011
The 2011 Annual Report of the Council is now available.

Highlights of the Human Rights Council’s 18th Regular session
By Thomas Colerick, 11 October 2011

New report on the Human Rights Council’s fifth year
By Thomas Colerick, 4 October 2011

The Human Rights Council’s 18th Session (12-30 September 2011)
By Thomas Colerick, 28 September 2011

Update on Revitalization of the General Assembly: A RECAP OF DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE 65th GA SESSION
By Mie Hansen, 27 September 2011
Even before heads of state from around the world gathered last week at UN headquarters in New York for the opening of the 66th annual session of the UN General Assembly, the world’s main deliberative body, continuation of the ongoing negotiations to make the Assembly more effective, efficient and relevant were assured for yet another year. Member States have been discussing the “Revitalization of the General Assembly” for the past twenty years, but according to some critics only minor improvements have been made, leaving deep-seated reforms untouched. Even though all Member States seem to agree that reform of the Assembly is vital, recent developments confirm that it is still very difficult to reach an agreement on what should be done.

Chronology: The Human Rights Council – elections, sessions and important developments
By Thomas Colerick, 23 September 2011
As the Center for UN Reform Education once again will be covering the Human Rights Council more systematically, this chronology of the Council is provided. It includes elections, selected sessions and major developments and takes the reader from the Council’s birth in 2006 to today where the Council is currently holding its 18th Session in Geneva, Switzerland.




Panel on Improving Security Council Working Methods
On 23 June 2011, The Center for UN Reform Education held a panel discussion on “Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council”. The basis for the discussion was the most recent version of the S5 draft proposal on Reforming the Working Methods of the Security Council.




Qatar hosts workshop on Security Council Reform
On 12 & 13 May 2011, Qatar hosted a workshop on Security Council Reform in Doha. Lydia Swart of the Center was invited and she shared ten observations on this key reform process.

To move the process along, Member States, the Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, and/or the President of the General Assembly will need to provide leadership by proposing a timeline/trajectory for the negotiations and by formulating a compromise solution that can garner support from all factions.




S5 presents draft resolution on Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Mie Hansen, 2 May 2011
On 14 April, 2011, the Small Five Group (S5), consisting of Costa Rica, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Singapore and Switzerland, presented a draft resolution for Improving the Working Methods of the Security Council. The resolution was presented under agenda item 115 of the General Assembly (GA) that deals with follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit. The S5 had presented its first draft resolution on the topic (A/60/L.49) in 2006 also as follow-up to the 2000/2005 Summits.

Update on Security Council Reform
By Mie Hansen, 5 April 2011
Since the Center’s latest update of 22 June 2010, Members States conducted text-based negotiations on 21 October 2010, 11 November 2010, 14 December 2010, and on 2 March 2011 in their efforts to reform the Security Council. Some countries apparently continue to slow down the negotiations, while others may push for a vote sooner rather than later.

Book Launch, The Group of 77: Perspectives on its Role in the UN General Assembly.
25 April 2011
Pictured from right to left: Center President William R. Pace, Minister Marcelo Suarez Salvia from Argentina (current G77 Chair), Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz of Egypt, Ambassador Herman Schaper of the Netherlands, and co-author Lydia Swart. For their remarks, click here: Minister Suarez, Ambassador Schaper, Ambassador Abdelaziz (pending) and Lydia Swart.





Text-based Negotiations in Full Swing
22 June 2010
On June 16th the negotiations on Security Council reform proceeded with the third meeting of the fifth round. The meeting aimed at getting member states to discuss specific language on the fourth “key issue”. Many countries seemed to have misunderstood the intention of the Chair, however, and restated their positions rather than making suggestions for specific changes to the document at hand.

Potentially Historic Text on Security Council Reform
By Jakob Lund, 13 May 2010
On May 10th, Zahir Tanin, the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council, sent out a long-awaited fax to all member states containing a “negotiation text”. The text and the annex can be accessed on the website of the PGA. The text includes the proposals sent by member states to Tanin's office since he opened the process of moving towards a text-based solution.

Open Debate on the Working Methods of the Security Council
By Jakob Silas Lund, 28 April 2010
On April 22nd, the Security Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Issues held an open debate on the working methods of the Council. The debate raised some key questions that are relevant to the ongoing Security Council reform negotiations. Furthermore, to keep the issue of its working methods on the agenda of the Security Council is, in and of itself, an accomplishment.

A New Phase in Security Council Reform Has Started
10 February, 2010
On February 5th, the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, sent out a letter to all member states with an attachment of sixty pages. The document (available here and here) includes all “substantive input” submitted by Member States to the Chair thus far in the fourth round of negotiations. This marks the beginning of the fifth round, which, for the first time, will be text-based.

Moving Towards Text-Based Negotiations?
By Jakob Silas Lund, 21 January 2010
The previous month was an eventful one in terms of the Security Council reform process. On December 23rd, a group of countries sent a letter to the Chair of the intergovernmental negotiations, Ambassador Tanin of Afghanistan, urging him to present a composite paper. Following that, Tanin received a number of other letters concerning the process and on January 14th he replied with his own letter to all member states. This all culminated in the latest round of negotiations on January 19th and 20th in which the consequences of the letter exchanges were discussed.

Pros and Cons of Security Council reform
By Jakob Silas Lund, 19 January 2010
Through extensive interviews with experts as well as current and former Ambassadors and diplomats who have been close to the reform process, this article outlines and analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of the components incorporated in the proposals currently on the table.

The Long and Winding Road
by Jakob Silas Lund, 11 December, 2009
On November 16th, the chair of the intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform, Ambassador Zahir Tanin of Afghanistan, sent a letter to all member states inviting them to the first meeting of the fourth round of negotiations. The negotiations ended up spanning over two days rather than the planned one-day session.