Statement to the General Assembly by H.E. Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet on the issue of “the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly”

date: 23 April 2014

Statement to the General Assembly
by H.E. Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United Nations

on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium
on the issue of “the relationship between the Council and the General Assembly”

New York, 23 April 2014

Mr. Chairman,

I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium. We thank you for convening this fifth thematic debate, this time on the relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Mr. Chairman,

The relationship between the various organs of the United Nations is concisely described in the UN Charter. It is important to note that when the UN was founded, 51 countries were represented in the GA and 10 in the Security Council. Nowadays, 193 countries are represented in the General Assembly whereas only 15 countries serve one the Security Council in a given point of time.

This fact has ramifications for the relationship needed between the Security Council and the General Assembly. Leaving aside questions of regional representation, the fact that the representation of the UN Membership in the Security Council has decreased relative to the situation at the inception of the UN increases the need for the Security Council to function in a transparent and inclusive way. In this regard I welcome the use of open debates in the Security Council, open Arria formula meetings and the transparency being shown by many of the outgoing UNSC presidents.

As for the annual report of the Council to the GA, it is an impressive piece of work. We commend all those who contribute to this document: it constitutes a useful overview of the work of the Council and it provides an interesting insight in the debates among the Security Council members.

Still, in our view, the report would benefit from a more analytical approach. In addition to the description of the Council’s work, the report could also provide an opportunity for reflection. It is written and published many months after the facts, providing a hindsight perspective that should allow for some kind of evaluation.

That being said, reflection on and evaluation of the work of the Security Council is not only the responsibility of the Council itself. During the yearly debate that follows the presentation of the report of the Council to the GA, the entire membership has the opportunity to participate in this exercise. In our view, past debates on the annual report have not been sufficiently dynamic and analytical. They have not conveyed the sense of interest for the work of the Security Council that we are all calling for. We encourage all UN members to actively take part in this debate.

Mr. Chairman,

The Netherlands and Belgium fully acknowledge that the Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. However, maintaining international peace and security is also a collective responsibility of the entire membership of the UN.

Especially when there is a deadlock in the Council, we believe that the GA can play a useful role to keep certain issues on the agenda. Using its moral authority, the General Assembly can explore options that are more difficult to discuss in the Council.

In this regard, the Netherlands and Belgium would like to reiterate their full support for the French proposal to voluntarily abstain from the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities, given the obvious link that exists between the use of the veto and deadlock in the Security Council.

Mr. Chairman,

We are approaching the end of this cycle of debates. After today, there is only one session left, on the cross-cutting issues. Again, we want to encourage you to take your responsibility and use your prerogative, as our Chairman, to come up with your personal conclusions of this 10th round of negotiations on Security Council reform.

We look forward to the last debate and again assure you of our full support.


I thank you.