top of page

Updated on 4 October 2015

Chapter 3:   THE PEOPLE

Section 10:   Secretary-General and the Secretariat


Length and content of briefings by representatives of the Secretary-General


As noted in the book (pages 174-175), an issue of concern to a number of Council members has been the length and content of oral briefings by the Secretary-General’s representatives. To discourage lengthy briefings which simply rehash information already contained in the Secretary-General’s written reports, in the 2010 Note by the President (S/2010/507) the Council members provided succinct guidance as to what oral briefings by representatives of the Secretary-General and Secretariat officials should entail:


“As a general rule, the purpose of initial remarks or ad hoc briefings delivered by

members of the Secretariat is to supplement and update written reports of the

Secretary-General or to provide members of the Council with more specific

on-the ground information on the most recent developments, which may not be

covered in the written report.  The members of the Security Council encourage

members of the Secretariat to focus on key issues and to provide the latest

information, as necessary, without repeating the content of written reports already available to members of the Council.”


The length and quality of briefings by representatives has remained a problem in 2015.  At a Council meeting convened on 30 June 2015 on the subject of working methods (S/PV.7479), the representative of Lithuania affirmed that briefings by the Secretariat “should not duplicate the contents of the reports of the Secretary-General.”  He added that because “the Council is always pressed for time in consultations, we expect briefers to be succinct and to focus on critical issues.  I believe that during this month, the Council wrote a letter to the Secretariat in that regard.”  The step of writing to the Secretary-General sent a fairly serious signal, given the regular informal get-togethers the Council members have with the Secretary-General, such as their monthly luncheons, at which they might convey such a message.  However, the Lithuanian representative was “happy to note” that some progress had recently been made in the delivering of such briefings.




bottom of page