Norway to hold presidency of Security Council in January

Norway will hold the presidency of the Security Council in January 2022. In addition to leading the Council’s work to promote international peace and security, Norway will organise a number of thematic meetings focusing on its identified priority areas. Norway’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs are planning to visit New York in January and will chair some of the meetings.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt in the UN Security Council room. In January Norway will hold the Council's presidency. Credit: MFA
Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt in the UN Security Council room. In January Norway will hold the Council's presidency. Credit: MFA

Norway will use its presidency to promote a coherent and consistent foreign policy based on Norwegian interests and values. Norway will lead the Security Council’s work to promote international peace and security. We will work with the other Council members to find common solutions.

‘We will be a reliable, consistent supporter of the UN, international law, multilateral solutions, and a rules-based world order. A number of complex country situations will be discussed by the Security Council in January, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. We will also be monitoring developments in Myanmar and Ethiopia closely,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

The meetings organised by Norway, known as signature events, will focus on a number of the thematic areas identified as priorities for Norway’s term on the Security Council. This includes areas such as women, peace and security and protection of civilians.

In its work in the Security Council, Norway attaches great importance to transparency and inclusion. In recent years, fewer representatives of civil society organisations have been invited to address the Council.

‘We will invite civil society representatives, in particular women, to brief the Security Council. It is important that Norway does its part to give a voice to those who are most severely affected by violence and conflict,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

Programme

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are planning visits to UN Headquarters in New York in connection with Norway’s presidency. They will be chairing some of the Norwegian signature events and various other meetings in the Security Council.

The Prime Minister will chair an open debate on the need to protect civilians in armed conflict in densely populated and urban settings. Today, armed conflicts are increasingly being fought in urban areas, with long-term, devastating impacts for civilians. The members of the Security Council are invited to participate at head of state or prime minister level.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs will chair an open debate on women, peace and security. The meeting will highlight the need to promote the participation of women in political processes and address the issue of intimidation and reprisals against women who take part in peace and security processes. The Foreign Minister will also chair the open debate on the situation in the Middle East. The members of the Security Council are invited to participate at ministerial level in both of these open debates.

As part of its presidency, Norway will also organise an informal gathering for the UN Ambassadors of the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General to discuss preventive diplomacy and peace mediation efforts. The entry point for the discussions will be peace diplomacy as a Norwegian priority area and Norway’s experience with peace and reconciliation efforts.

‘The Security Council is an arena for power politics. Geopolitical tensions between major powers assert themselves here as well. But so far, Norway has not found itself contending with competing pressures from the major powers in its role as an elected member to the Council. We have a good working relationship with everyone,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

The programme of work for January 2022 will be provisionally approved by the members of the Security Council on 4 January. However, the programme will be subject to adjustments during the month as needed.

If permissible under the applicable pandemic control measures, Norway will start its month of presidency by inviting the 14 other Security Council members to a working breakfast on board the Norwegian tall ship Statsråd Lehmkuhl, which is currently docked in New York. Traditionally, the presidency marks the start of its rotation by giving a symbolic gift to the other Council members. Norway will be presenting a few typically Norwegian cultural items, representing the cultural heritage, such as milk chocolate, sweet brown whey cheese and traditional Norwegian cheese slicers.

Facts about the Security Council Presidency

  • The presidency of the Security Council rotates monthly among the 15 Council members. It is held by each of the members in turn, following the English alphabetical order of the member states’ names.
  • The most important task of the president is to chair the Security Council meetings and lead the work on issues on the agenda during the month. The presidency can also organise and convene signature events.
  • The UN Ambassador (Permanent Representative) serves as the president, and presides over all Security Council meetings except for those chaired by either the prime minister or the foreign minister.
  • Norway will hold the presidency of the Security Council in January 2022. This will be the only time Norway holds the presidency during its current term on the Council.
  • Norway attaches importance to the participation of civil society organisations in Security Council efforts. Norway will invite civil society representatives, in particular women, to brief the Security Council.
  • Norway will work to promote greater transparency and inclusion in the work of the Security Council, vis-à-vis the other UN members, civil society and the global community at large. With this in mind, most of the meetings will be open, and will be streamed live on UN WebTV.