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The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

21 February 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by Mr. Eric Chaboureau, First Counsellor, Legal, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization

Mr./Madam Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.

At the outset, we would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident in your ability to guide the Special Committee in its deliberations. We also take this opportunity to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting.

Mr./Madam Chair,

General Assembly resolution 71/146 of 13 December 2016 requests the Special Committee to continue its consideration of a number of proposals and issues. We start this session in the light of the progress achieved last year in rationalizing the agenda and the work of the Committee. We are convinced that in the longer-term, the membership of the Committee will agree that the agenda should be further rationalized by removing questions and proposals which became obsolete or do not enjoy consensus of the Member States. Our main focus should be kept on constructive and meaningful work to the benefit of the entire membership.

With regard to the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”, we continue to firmly believe that sanctions remain an important instrument, under the Charter, for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security. For many years the UN Security Council has adopted targeted rather than comprehensive sanctions. The evidence continues to demonstrate that sanctions can be and are instituted in a targeted way to increase their efficiency and attain the agreed objectives while minimising their impact upon the well-being of the civilian population as well as upon third parties. We are therefore looking forward later this session to the briefing by the Secretary-General on the issues covered by the document contained in the annex to General Assembly resolution 64/115 of 16 December 2009 entitled “Introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations.” We hope that this annual briefing will foster positive dialogue and better understanding of the need and usefulness of the instrument of sanctions, the recent improvements and developments related to it, as well as the efforts of the Secretariat to support Member States in implementing current sanctions regimes. We also note that over recent years, the sanctions committees have organized meetings and open briefings to provide fora to hear from Member States and their concerns and challenges.

Mr. /Madam Chair,

We recall the constructive discussions during the Committee’s session in February last year as well as the recent informal inter-sessional exchange on the proposals of the Non-Aligned Movement entitled “Pacific settlement of disputes and its impact on the maintenance of peace” and of Ghana entitled “Working paper by Ghana on strengthening the relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and regional arrangements or agencies in the peaceful settlement of disputes.” We believe that this positive spirit should be preserved with the aim to achieving substantive progress and we remain ready to further contribute to the discussion. We see possibilities for pursuing the proposals, provided that this work does not duplicate or prejudge discussions in other fora where these matters are already dealt with.

We note that other items identified in the report of last year’s session have been discussed for several years, but without any substantial progress or any likely agreement on concrete measures to be implemented. Most of the proposals identified in the report of the Special Committee are duplicative of revitalizing efforts taking place within other fora of the Organisation, or don’t seem to represent an added value. We reiterate that the relationship between the different organs within the UN system is adequately defined in the UN Charter and does not need further clarification by the Committee.

This is why we continue to urge the Special Committee to implement the 2006 decision on reforming its working methods, as reflected in paragraph 3 (d) of resolution 71/146 of the General Assembly. This is indeed, as stipulated in this provision, a priority issue and we should work together to explore ways and means to achieve a better use of resources and of the meetings of the Committee. This could be done by reviewing all existing agenda items, looking into the usefulness of further discussing them, taking into account their continued relevance and the likelihood of reaching a consensus in the future, before examining proposals for new items, or by re-examining the duration of the sessions of the Committee.

We reiterate our readiness to engage constructively in this process.

Finally Mr./Madam Chair, regarding the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council, we welcome the progress and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to reduce the backlog in the preparation of those two publications. We express our gratitude to the States which have made voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertory, and to the trust fund for the updating of the Repertoire, and encourage other Member States to do likewise.

I thank you, Mr. /Madam Chair.


* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  • Ref: EUUN17-012EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Sixth Committee - Legal Committee,Other
  • Date: 21/02/2017

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