Ukraine is chairing the United Nations Security Council starting from today, February 1, 2017. The Presidency lasts one month. Ukraine picks up the presidency baton from Sweden, Great Britain comes after Ukraine.
During the presidency, Ukrainian delegation intends to bring up for discussion two topics: critical infrastructure protection and conflict resolution in Europe.
Volodymyr Yelchenko, the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, is to take the office of the Chairman of the UN Security Council.
What is the UN and the UN Security Council
The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization to promote international co-operation. The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.
The Security Council has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has 15 Members (5 permanent and 10 non-permanent members). Great Britain, China, France, Russia and the USA are the permanent members. Another ten are chosen by the General Assembly for two years. Every year five of them are changed. The non-permanent representatives are elected by two-thirds majority of the present and participating members of the GA.
Each Member has one vote. Under the Charter, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression. It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.
In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Security Council has a Presidency, which rotates, and changes, every month.
Ukraine in the UN: a little bit of history
On 1 January, Ukraine became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2016-2017.
On October 15, 177 out of 193 member-states voted for Ukraine. Ukrainian high officials called that a big success and a symbol of the wide support of Ukraine by the world community. Many of them state that it was expectable and predictable.
What benefits gives the non-permanent member status
According to the UN Charter the non-permanent UN Security Council member status entitles Ukraine to preside in the Security Council, call into the sessions and from the agenda for the discussions. This enables a delegation to bring up the burning subjects, drawing world’s attention.
What benefits gives the UN Presidency status
The role of president of the Security Council involves setting the agenda, presiding at its meetings and overseeing any crisis.
The president is authorized to issue both presidential statements (issued to reach consensus or to prevent a resolution from a permanent member's veto) and notes, which are used to make declarations of intent that the full Security Council can then pursue.
The presidency of the Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.
What Ukraine plans to do in February 2017
Volodymy Yelchenko, the current the Chairman of the UN Security Council, announced that there will be two open debates during Ukraine’s presidency, one at ministerial-level on the maintenance of international peace and security, focusing on conflicts in Europe on February 21 and another focused on protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist acts on February 13. Pavlo Klimkin, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, will chair both debates.
Briefers are expected to include a high-level Secretariat official and representatives of specialised international organisations and research institutes, including the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Maritime Organisation. The Council may adopt a resolution to promote greater cooperation in addressing the terrorist threat to critical infrastructure.
Ukrainian leaders reax
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Ukraine's presidency in his Twitter account, stressing the importance of the new responsibility.
At UN we’ll continue using every opportunity to defend Ukraine against Russia’s military aggression— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) 1 февраля 2017 г.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister PAvlo Klimkin also reacted and wished luck to our delegations:
A special day: starting today 4 next month UA will hold UNSC presidency. A unique opportunity & important mission. Best luck to our team!— Pavlo Klimkin (@PavloKlimkin) 1 февраля 2017 г.
Yesterday the previously presiding Sweden unofficially handed the UNSC Presidency gavel over from Sweden to Ukraine.