UNSC Annual Report: Zappia, focus on options to restrict veto power

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NEW YORK, AUGUST 31 – Addressing a virtual informal meeting of the Plenary on the Annual Report of the Security Council, the Italian Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, underscored the need for a more analytical and substantive report to allow a structured discussion with the wider membership on the challenges and inaction that the Security Council faces on account of the power of veto, regardless of whether it is actually used or simply threatened.

In this regard, Zappia said, Italy supports initiatives aimed at restricting the use of the veto, such as the French-Mexican initiative, the Code of Conduct put forward by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparent Group, and the proposal by Liechtenstein to have a debate in the General Assembly every time a veto is cast in the Security Council.

“The current report, like in previous years, is comprehensive but not substantive”, said Zappia: “It lists in detail all the numerous activities the Council has undertaken during the year. A quite significant workload, no question about it. However, as in the past, the report does not dwell on the reasons why, when it comes to the Security Council, we are left with a growing sense of inaction, paralysis and certainly polarization. It does not explain the inability of the Council to deliver on many outstanding issues”.

Art. 24 of the Charter states that the Security Council acts on behalf of Member States: “It is essential, therefore, to have a Council accountable to and willing to engage with the wider membership”, the Italian Ambassador said, pointing out that, during last year’s Intergovernmental Negotiations on the reform of the Security Council, intense discussions were held on the nature of the report; it was, in fact, one of the areas where a substantial understanding was reached.

A more analytical approach in the Security Council’s Annual Report would go in the direction suggested and allow a more comprehensive and structured discussion on the challenges the Security Council faces or of its inaction, which in our view is closely linked to the power of veto, regardless of whether it is actually used or simply threatened.

Zappia reiterated the need for a more accountable, democratic and transparent Security Council: “This is what Italy, and the Uniting for Consensus group, have been consistently advocating within the IGN process, as we are convinced that only an enlargement in the category of elected members of the Security Council would make the Council more accountable and effective, for the sake of international peace and stability”. (@OnuItalia)