Last update: 23 April 2014
 


Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 68/115 of 16 December 2013,
the Special Committee held its session
from 18 to 26 February 2014.

 

Introduction

At its twenty-ninth session, the General Assembly decided to establish an Ad Hoc Committee on the Charter of the United Nations to consider, inter alia, any specific proposals that Governments might make with a view to enhancing the ability of the United Nations to achieve its purposes as well as other suggestions for the more effective functioning of the United Nations that might not require amendments to the Charter (resolution 3349 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974 entitled “Need to consider suggestions regarding the review of the Charter of the United Nations”).

At its thirtieth session, the General Assembly considered the report of the Ad Hoc Committee together with the item on the strengthening of the role of the United Nations. At that session, the Assembly decided to reconvene the Ad Hoc Committee as the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization to examine suggestions and proposals regarding the Charter and the strengthening of the role of the United Nations with regard to the maintenance and consolidation of international peace and security, the development of cooperation among all nations and the promotion of the rules of international law (resolution 3499 (XXX) of 15 December 1975 entitled “Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization”).

Since its thirtieth session, the General Assembly has reconvened the Special Committee every year, considered its successive reports and renewed and revised its mandate on an annual basis in its resolutions on the topic of the Report of the Special Committee.

Mandate of the Special Committee

Under the terms of General Assembly resolution 68/115 adopted on 16 December 2013 (operative paragraph 3), the Special Committee was mandated, inter alia, to continue its consideration of all proposals concerning the question of the maintenance of international peace and security in all its aspects in order to strengthen the role of the United Nations. It was also mandated to continue to consider, in an appropriate, substantive manner and framework, including the frequency of its consideration, the question of the implementation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under Chapter VII of the Charter based on all of the related reports of the Secretary-General and the proposals submitted on the question; keep on its agenda the question of the peaceful settlement of disputes between States; consider, as appropriate, any proposal referred to it by the General Assembly in the implementation of the decisions of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixtieth session of the Assembly in September 2005 that concern the Charter and any amendments thereto; and continue to consider, on a priority basis, ways and means of improving its working methods and enhancing its efficiency with a view to identifying widely acceptable measures for future implementation.

Product of the Special Committee's work

Since its establishment, the Special Committee has negotiated several texts resulting, inter alia, in the adoption by the General Assembly of the following instruments:

  • Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes (G A resolution 37/10 of 15 November 1982, annex);
  • Declaration on the Prevention and Removal of Disputes and Situations Which May Threaten International Peace and Security and on the Role of the United Nations in this Field (G A resolution 43/51 of 5 December 1988, annex);
  • Declaration on Fact-finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security (G A resolution 46/59 of 9 December 1991, annex);
  • Declaration on the Enhancement of Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional Arrangements or Agencies in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security (G A resolution 49/57 of 9 December 1994, annex);
  • United Nations Model Rules for the Conciliation of Disputes between States (G A resolution 50/50 of 11 December 1995, annex);
  • Decision on Resort to a commission of good offices, mediation or conciliation within the United Nations (G A decision 44/415 of 4 December 1989, annex);
  • Conclusions of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization concerning the rationalization of existing United Nations procedures (G A resolution 45/45 of 28 November1990, annex);
  • Resolution on Prevention and Peaceful settlement of disputes (G A resolution 57/26 of 19 November 2002).
  • Introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the United Nations (G A resolution 64/115 of 16 December 2009, annex.

Working methods

The Special Committee has adopted the pattern of holding one session per year over a two week period, usually in the first half of the year. The Committee works with the assistance of its Working Group of the Whole.

The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/52 of 11 December 1995, decided that the Special Committee should henceforth be open to all States Members of the United Nations and that it would continue to operate on the basis of the practice of consensus.

At its 48th meeting, held on 18 February 1981, the following agreement was reached regarding the election of officers:

“the Committee would have a Chairman, three Vice-Chairmen and a Rapporteur, and those officers would represent the different regional groups and, as far as possible, the various points of view held in the Committee. It would have a single, open-ended Working Group with the same Chairman and officers as the Committee. The Chairmanship of the Committee, and hence also that of the Working Group, would be rotated and would go first to the Latin American Group, then to the Eastern European Group, the African Group, the Group of Western European and other States and the Asian Group...”

(source: Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization, Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirty-sixth session, Supplement No. 33, document A/36/33, para. 7)

See too: Web site of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Web site of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council.

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