Updated on 9 November 2015
Chapter 1: THE CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
Section 5: Further documentation of procedures
Past presidential statements on working methods, and related agenda items
At the meeting held on 30 October 2015 at which the Security Council adopted the presidential statement on its working methods, S/PRST/2015/19, the Council President stated:
“One could say that the presidential statement we have just adopted is in fact the first
such document the Council has ever adopted, as the only existing precedent is a very
short presidential statement of just about one paragraph” (S/PV.7547).
In fact, according to the Council’s own tally of the documents it has adopted on its procedure and working methods, the presidential statement read out on 30 October 2015 is the sixth such presidential statement. In 2006, the Security Council published a Note by the President (S/2006/78), to which was annexed a “Descriptive index to notes and statements by the President of the Security Council relating to documentation and procedure (June 1993 to December 2005)”. This “Descriptive index” lists the following five presidential statements as relating to the Council’s procedure and working methods:
S/PRST/1994/22 (29 paragraphs)
S/PRST/1994/62 (14 paragraphs)
S/PRST/1994/81 (2 paragraphs)
S/PRST/1996/13 (17 paragraphs)
S/PRST/2001/3 (12 paragraphs)
However, the Council President’s statement would be correct if he intended to say that only one previous presidential statement had been adopted under an agenda item specific to the Council’s working methods and procedure: S/PRST/1994/81 was adopted at a meeting held under the agenda item, “Security Council working methods and procedure”. On the other hand, S/PRST/1994/22, S/PRST/1994/62 and S/PRST/1996/13 were adopted under some variation of the agenda item, “An agenda for peace”, while S/PRST/2001/3 was adopted under the agenda item, “Strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries”.
The first agenda item used by the Council for a meeting held specifically on its procedure and working methods was “Security Council working methods and procedure”. This agenda item was added to the Summary statement of matters of which the Security Council is seized in 1994, as a result of the 1994 meeting convened under that agenda item at the initiative of France (S/PV.3483). (As is explained on page 224 of the book, “the practice has been for the Secretary-General to add to the Summary Statement each new agenda item taken up at a formal meeting of the Council, and to retain the item on all subsequent Summary Statements until some action is taken by the Council to indicate that consideration of the item has been completed.”)
In 2000, the agenda item “Security Council working methods and procedure” became subject to deletion from the Summary Statement because it had not been considered at a formal Council meeting during a five-year period (today the period would be three years). However, the item was retained for one additional year at the request of a Member State. Then the following year, the agenda item was deleted because no Council member, and no non-Council Member State, requested that it be retained.
After 1994, the Council did not convene a formal meeting under an agenda item specifically related to its procedure and working methods until August 2008 when, at the initiative of the Belgium Presidency of that month, a meeting was held under a new agenda item, “Implementation of the note by the President of the Security Council (S/2006/507)”. For the open debates on the Council’s procedure and working methods which have been held annually since 2010, that agenda item has been updated to reflect the adoption of a second comprehensive Note by the President on the Council’s procedure and working methods. Accordingly, the agenda item is now formulated to read “Implementation of the note by the President of the Security Council (S/2010/507)”.