SA at the helm of the UN Security Council

South Africa has taken up the presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the month of January 2012.

“Consistent with the practice of the [council], the office of the president of the Security Council rotates monthly among its members on the basis of the English alphabetical order, and the council is organised to be able to function continuously,” the department of international relations and cooperation said.

“The permanent representative of the relevant member state assumes the role of the president of the [council] and his/her staff form the presidency for a particular month.”

According to the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, the role of the presidency is to “preside over meetings of the council”.

However, in practice the presidency was also responsible for organising, coordinating and guiding the work of the council, the department said.

In addition, the South African delegation was expected to help to prepare the agenda of the council for the month in consultation with other council members, chair meetings of the council, guide the Security Council to decisions on a range of issues on its agenda and act as the council’s official contact point for other UN member states, the media and civil society.

The presidency of the council also offers an opportunity to promote a theme that is of particular regional or national importance.

In this context, South Africa would utilise its presidency of the Security Council to continue exploring concrete measures for strengthening the relationship between the United Nations (UN) and regional organisations, in particular the African Union (AU), in the maintenance of international peace and security in terms of chapter eight of the UN charter.

“At the same time, it is expected that the South African delegation will convene a high level thematic debate with the aim of adopting concrete measures to ensure greater coherence between the UN and the AU in the area of conflict prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the African continent.”—I-Net Bridge

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