Updated on 2 November 2015
Chapter 2: PLACE AND FORMAT OF COUNCIL PROCEEDINGS
Section13: Other informal formats
New Zealand convenes restricted “Informal informal” to discuss the veto
On pages 96-97 of the book, the meeting format of “Informal informals” is described as dating back to the early years of the Security Council and as usually convened to discuss a single topic. The convener is most often the “lead country” for a topic, and normally hosts the informal informal at its Permanent Mission rather than in the UN Headquarters building. Informal informals are not mentioned in the UN Journal, the Council’s monthly programme, or the Council’s Annual Report, and Secretariat staff customarily do not attend.
At the wrap-up meeting held on 31 August 2015, the representative of Lithuania spoke of the “urgency of addressing the Council’s use of the veto” and expressed appreciation “that the New Zealand presidency organized an informal discussion on the topic in July.” The representative of Chile similarly stated that, “We value the informal discussion of the Council on its working methods and the use of the veto – held during the presidency of New Zealand.” And the representative of Malaysia, speaking at the same meeting, voiced appreciation for “New Zealand’s efforts to reinvigorate the Council’s working methods and for taking up difficult issues, such as the veto.” (S/PV.7516)
These statements referred to an offsite meeting convened by the Foreign Minister of New Zealand during his country’s Council Presidency in July 2015. The invitations to the meeting, which was held at the New Zealand Mission, were extended to one delegate from each Council member, at the Permanent Representative level. This reflected New Zealand’s intention, as set out in the informal concept note it prepared for the meeting, to hold a frank, private high-level conversation among the Council members to consider the practices which had developed around the veto, and how these practices impact on the Council’s effectiveness. New Zealand wished to foster a discussion which would center on how the Council members might find new ways to work together constructively in discharging their joint responsibility to prevent and diminish conflict, and to find balanced and fair solutions to situations before the Council. From the statements made at the August 2015 wrap-up meeting, it can be said that in the view of at least three elected Council members, the discussion held in this restricted setting made a positive contribution.