On the 30th of November, the Security Council discussed the progress, and challenges linked to its current Working Methods. Although a high number of speakers took the floor, references to the women, peace and security agenda were few, with only 5 out of 40 statements mentioning WPS. Countries mentioning gender at the debate included the US, Belgium, Australia, Germany and Finland.
With a view to making the Council a more effective and egalitarian entity, the debate focused on the need for the Council to improve transparency with regard to its work and policy formation. Whilst a majority of countries praised the council for the recent increase in thematic open debates, they were almost unanimous in calling for improved interaction between the Council and non-permanent member states, UN subsidiary bodies/ agencies, special representatives and civil society. In addition, Brazil and Colombia called for public and closed meetings to be recognized as holding equal importance, with Brazil suggesting that meetings, including those with troop and police-contributing countries, should remain open except in the most extenuating circumstances. Further, Colombia suggested that in order to achieve more relevant outcomes, open debates should be held before the negotiation of presidential statements or resolutions.
Another dominant theme was the need for comprehensive reform concerning the makeup of the Council with particularly strong statements being made by India and Lebanon. Eluding to the current distribution of veto power, India emphasized the need to achieve a more representative Council, one based on the current global reality, and hence better able to respond to the changing nature of conflict and adopt more relevant strategies for prevention.
As noted above, mention of gender was scarce at this debate. Statements, which did mention WPS, agreed that the Security Council enhance its interaction with the Special Representative for gender and sexual violence, with UN Women and with the Peacebuilding Commission in order to achieve more relevant action on gender issues. Notably, Australia called on the Council to issue a standing invitation to the Executive Director of UN-Women and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict to attend all relevant meetings and debates.
“In order to enhance the Council's capacity for prevention, we support the suggestion of regular briefings from the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities. We have also encouraged the Council to issue a standing invitation to the Executive Director of UN-Women and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict”.
The US emphasised how the Group of Friends on Women, Peace and Security is able to inform the Council's actions through inclusive and transparent dialogue between Council and non-Council members. Finally, Finland suggested that the Council commence systematic linking of country-specific situations and horizontal themes, such as Women, Peace and Security and pursue requests for thematic information pertaining to these situations.