posted on WED 14 NOV 2012 5:18 PM
The Finnish Workshop for Newly Elected Council Members

Starting tomorrow (Thursday, 15 November), the 15 current members of the Security Council and the five members elected for the 2013-2014 term will participate in a two-day workshop organised by the Government of Finland and the Security Council Affairs Division of the Secretariat. (The incoming Council members are Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, and Rwanda.) This will be the tenth such annual workshop and is intended to afford the incoming members an opportunity to interact informally with their Council counterparts. Over the years, this annual event—held in a conference centre outside New York City and called “Hitting the Ground Running”—has been convened by Finland in cooperation with Dr. Edward C. Luck, Dean of the School of Peace Studies of the University of San Diego. This “Finnish workshop” has become an occasion during which Council members can take stock of the events of the previous year, discuss informally issues that are sometimes hard to fit into day-to-day Council work, and hear a frank assessment of the Council experience from their outgoing colleagues.

The workshop provides an opportunity to discuss some of the key issues the Council has faced over the last year (such as DRC, Haiti, Mali, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, or South Sudan) and to take stock of how the Council has responded to peace and security developments over the year. Other areas that may be covered are the Council’s and the Secretariat’s efforts to anticipate possible crises, and the developments in the Council’s relationship with regional and sub-regional organisations as well as its interaction with other UN bodies. Members are also likely to touch upon some of the issues that could come up in the Council’s work over the next couple of years.

The workshops (whose proceedings are summarised annually in a report published as a letter to the President of the Security Council from the Permanent Representative of Finland) have also usually provided an opportunity to discuss Council working methods, which is particularly timely this year given that an open debate on working methods is scheduled for 26 November.

In addition, there is likely to be some discussion of the work of the Council subsidiary bodies. New Council members are likely to be particularly interested in learning more about the responsibilities involved in chairing subsidiary bodies and discussing the selection process of these roles.

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