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Format of Security Council Meeting

Format of meetings

21. In an effort further to advance the resolution of a matter under consideration, the members of the Security Council agree to use a range of meeting options from which they can select the one best suited to facilitate specific discussions. Recognizing that the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council and their own practice provide them with considerable flexibility in choosing how best to structure their meetings, members of the Council agree that meetings of the Council could be structured according to, but not limited to, the following formats:

1. Public meetings

(a) Functions

To take action and/or hold, inter alia, briefings and debates.

(b) Presence and participation

The presence and participation of non-Council members in public meetings should be in accordance with the provisional rules of procedure. The Council’s practice, as described below, is understood as being in accordance with the provisional rules of procedure, although it should not under any circumstances be understood as replacing or substituting for the provisional rules of procedure.

(i) Any Member of the United Nations that is not a member of the Security Council may be present at its delegation’s designated seats in the Council Chamber;

(ii) On a case-by-case basis, any Member of the United Nations that is not a member of the Security Council, members of the Secretariat and other persons may be invited to participate in the discussion, including for the purpose of giving briefings to the Council, in accordance with rule 37 or 39 of the provisional rules of procedure.

(c) Descriptions in the provisional monthly programme of work

The members of the Security Council intend to continue to include the following formats for public meetings in the provisional monthly programme of work (calendar) when they plan to adopt, in general, the corresponding procedures:

(i) “Open debate”: briefings may or may not be conducted, and Council members may deliver statements; non -Council members may also be invited to participate in the discussion upon their request;

(ii) “Debate”: briefings may be conducted, and Council members may deliver statements; non-Council members that are directly concerned or affected or have a special interest in the matter under consideration may be invited to participate in the discussion upon their request;

(iii) “Briefing”: briefings are conducted, and Council members may deliver statements following briefings;

(iv) “Adoption”: Council members may or may not deliver statements before and/or after adopting, inter alia, resolutions a nd presidential statements; non-Council members may or may not be invited to participate in the discussion upon their request.

2. Private meetings

(a) Functions

To conduct discussion and/or take actions, for example, recommendation regarding the appointment of the Secretary-General, without the attendance of the public or the press.

(b) Presence and participation

The presence and participation of non-Council members in private meetings should be in accordance with the provisional rules of procedure. The Council’s practice, as described below, is understood as being in accordance with the provisional rules of procedure, although it should not under any circumstances be understood as replacing or substituting for the provisional rules of procedure:

On a case-by-case basis, any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council, members of the Secretariat and other persons may be invited to be present or to participate in the discussion, including for the purpose of giving briefings to the Council, in accordance with rule 37 or 39 of the provisional rules of procedure.

(c) Descriptions in the provisional monthly programme of work

The members of the Security Council intend to continue to include the following formats for private meetings in the provisional monthly programme of work (calendar) when they plan to adopt, in general, the corresponding procedures:

(i) “Private meeting”: briefings or debates may be conducted, and Council members may deliver statements; any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council, members of the Secretariat and other persons may be invited to be present or to participate in the discussion, upon their request, in accordance with rule 37 or 39 of the provisional r ules of procedure;

(ii) “TCC meeting”: briefings may be conducted, and Council members may deliver statements; parties described in resolution 1353 (2001) are invited to participate in the discussion, in accordance with the resolution.

D. Delivery of statements

22. The Security Council recalls its commitment to making more effective use, as appropriate, of open meetings, and to this end encourages, as a general rule, all participants, both members and non-members of the Council, in Council meetings to deliver their statements in five minutes or less.

23. The Security Council encourages participants in Council meetings to express agreement without repeating the same content, if they agree, in part or in whole, with the content of a previous statement.

1. Speaking order of Council members

24. The speaking order for meetings of the Security Council as a general practice is established by a draw. In certain cases, the speaking order is established by the use of a sign-up sheet.

25. The President of the Security Council as a general practice makes his or her national statement last of all Council members. In certain cases, he or she may make a single statement comprising introductory remarks and his or her national statement before the other members take the floor. The President is encouraged to inform the other members in advance of his or her wish to do so in order to ensure that there are no objections.

26. In certain cases, the President of the Security Council may adjust the list of speakers and inscribe first the delegation(s) responsible for the drafting process in order to allow it or them to make an introductory or explanatory presentation. In cases when an unscheduled or emergency meeting is convened, the President may also adjust the list so that the delegation having requested the meeting can speak before the other Council members in order to present the reasons for convening the meeting.

27. The President of the Security Council may inscribe first the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies of the Council when presenting to the Council their work or reporting on outstanding issues within their mandate.

28. The members of the Security Council can trade slots in the list of speakers. It is recommended that delegations involved inform the Secretariat as to what was agreed. The members of the Security Council are encouraged to inform the Secretariat of such changes as soon as possible, especially if the meeting has already started, in order to allow the interpreters to be ready to interpret from the language which will be used.

29. When high-level officials are representing Security Council members at a meeting, the list of speakers will be entitled “The list of speakers, after the draw and adjusted for protocol”. For each category of high -level officials, the speakers will be listed within that category according to the order of the draw. The speakers within each category will speak after those in a category of higher -level officials and before those in a category of lower-level officials. If, after the list of speakers has been circulated, there is a change in the level of a delegation’s representative, that representative’s speaking order will be readjusted according to protocol and his or her place within categories of same-level officials will be determined according to the order of the original draw.

30. The permanent representative of a Security Council member who also holds a post at the Cabinet or ministerial level within his or her Government will speak by order of the draw, without adjustment for protocol.

31. For meetings announced as high-level in advance, where higher-level officials are representing other Security Council members, a permanent representative serving at the Cabinet or ministerial level may request an adjustment by protocol of his or her place on the list of speakers. The delegation concerned is encouraged to inform the Secretariat and the other Council members in advance of its request to have that representative’s speaking order adjusted by protocol. After being informed of such a request, the Secretariat will add, beside the name of the representative on the list of speakers, that he or she is speaking as a member of his or her Cabinet. When a permanent representative at the Cabinet or ministerial level has spoken in that capacity at a formal meeting, it will be noted in appendix II to the annual report of the Council.

32. For meetings not announced as high -level in advance, visiting higher-level officials may be accorded a speaking slot before permanent representatives as a matter of courtesy where there is no objection by members of the Security Council.

2. Statements by non-Council members

33. The Security Council agrees that, when non -members are invited to speak to the Security Council, those who have a direct interest in the outcome of the matter under consideration may speak prior to Council members, if appropriate.

34. When non-members of the Security Council are invited to speak at its meetings, they will be seated at the Council table on alternate sides of the President, the first speaker being seated on the President’s right.

3. Distribution of statements and meeting records

35. Texts of statements made at the meetings of the Security Council will, at the request of the delegation making the statement, be distributed by the Secretariat inside the Council Chamber to Council members and other Member States and permanent observers to the United Nations present at the meeting. A delegation requesting the distribution of its statement is encouraged to provide a sufficient number of copies (200) to the Secretariat in advance of the statement. When a delegation does not provide to the Secretariat a sufficient number of copies of its statement, those copies will be placed outside the Council Chamber at the end of the meeting. Delegations are requested not to make statements otherwise available during the meeting.

36. The members of the Security Council recognize that the texts of the statements made at the meetings of the Council can be a useful additional tool for the preparation of the verbatim records of the Council and therefore encourage members and non-members of the Council to provide those texts to the Secretariat when delegations are not able, or choose not, to provide the number of copies referred to in paragraph 35 above.

37. The members of the Security Council encourage members and non -members of the Council to contact the Verbatim Reporting Service of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (verbatimrecords@un.org) in cases where, with a view to ensuring the accuracy of the official records of the Council, corrections or adjustments in the verbatim records reflecting their own statements are needed either in the official language used by each delegation or in any other of the official languages of the United Nations.


Source: Note on Security Council Practice (S/2017/507) 17-13324 5/23

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