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Statement at Arria Meeting on 'Penholding'

Thank you Mr. Chair.


Ireland attaches considerable importance to the equitable distribution of Council work, together with the full and meaningful participation of all Council members in the penholder system, and in the drafting and negotiation of Council outcome documents. 


Elected members join the Council with the mandate to play an active role in the Council’s work. This includes taking the pen on specific regional or thematic agenda items. 


Mr. Chair,


Although an informal designation, on which the rules of procedure are silent, it can be hard for Council members to break through and become the penholder.


While Ireland recognises the important role played by existing penholders in the work of the Council, and acknowledges their expertise on certain files, Ireland strongly supports the principle of fair burden sharing. 


Ireland is proud of its record as a penholder on the Council: with Norway on the Syria Humanitarian file; with Niger and Ghana on UNOWAS; on the Ethiopia file; and also on the programme of work of DPRK Sanctions.


The creative thinking, fresh perspectives and diplomatic skill of elected members is an under-used resource at the Council.  It is clear that more penholder responsibilities should extend to the elected members.


As many have already suggested, the Council should also make better use of the considerable expertise developed by Sanctions Committee Chairs, all of whom are elected members, including by promoting their role as penholders.


Any observer of this Council can see that it is not working perfectly. One way we think it could be improved, is by developing a more equal distribution of work amongst all members. This could result in a more effective, and more legitimate Council.


Ireland would welcome more Council members assuming penholder roles and is open to considering proposals for procedural changes to improve parity among Members.  This will require flexibility and a readiness to share responsibility for certain issues, in the interest of the Council’s proper functioning. 


The topic addressed here today is only one aspect of the wider set of reforms Ireland believes are necessary to ensure that the Council can properly deliver on its mandate.


In conclusion,


We look forward to discussing this matter in the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, the appropriate forum for an in-depth consideration of these issues.


Thank you, Mr. Chair.


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