4713th Meeting* (AM)
Recommendations Aim at More Precise Use of Sanctions Against Threats to Peace, While Reducing Collateral Effects
"Something between words and war" was how the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden described sanctions to the Security Council today, during its consideration of general issues relating to their use, which included possible time limits, collateral humanitarian damage, and evasion of sanctions.
Presenting the findings of the Stockholm process on the implementation of targeted sanctions, distributed to Council members in a booklet entitled "Making Targeted Sanctions Effective -- Guidelines for the Implementation of UN Policy Options", Swedish State Secretary Hans Dahlgren said that, like other tools, they could be truly effective only if they were sharp enough, focused enough, and designed for the particular operation they were intended to perform.
Targeted sanctions, he explained, were designed to focus specifically on the individuals, or other entities, that were responsible for threats to and breaches of international peace and security. Ideally, they would leave other parts of the population unaffected and not hinder trade relations. The report had rightly highlighted the "collateral" effects of sanctions on vulnerable populations and neighbouring States. It also focused on sanctions evasion, which was eroding the very legitimacy of those measures.
The Stockholm process has been a more than year-long period of engagement with governments, non-governmental organizations, and academics, among others, initiated by the Swedish Government, with the goal of suggesting ways to strengthen the capacity to implement targeted sanctions by the United Nations and Member States. Its recommendations seek to increase sanctions’ efficiency by reforming and improving their implementation, while minimizing unintentional negative consequences. It was the third initiative in a growing international debate on the need for more efficient, precise and more humane sanctions, the others being the Interlaken process, focusing on financial sanctions, and the Bonn/Berlin process, which dealt with arms embargoes, travel and aviation-related sanctions.
Also addressing the Council, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Danilo Türk, said the expert meetings on targeted sanctions had been on the right track. It was now important that the Council devise further guidance, as the advances made in sanctions theory and practice had also revealed new pitfalls in implementation. The Council should consider the Stockholm findings when it conducted sanctions reviews or considered future applications, because, without effective implementation, there was a risk that much of the good work accomplished in recent years would remain in the domain of theory.
Following those opening remarks, a debate ensued among members about different strategies to enhance capacities for enforcing compliance and countering sanctions evasion. Speaking in his national capacity, the representative of Germany, who holds the rotating Council presidency for the month, said that the more efficiently, objectively and transparently sanctions regimes were conceived and implemented, the better they could serve as sharp instruments under Chapter VII of the Charter, thus, enabling the Council to avoid the use of force.
Sanctions, as a coercive measure under Chapter VII of the Charter, must be among the last, and not the first, resort, the representative of Pakistan stressed. The precision of sanctions must be improved, evasion must be checked, and their negative consequences, especially the humanitarian effect, must be minimized. The recent policy desire to shift to "smart" sanctions, which sought to focus the sanctions and minimize the consequences, was welcome, but he called for a comprehensive review of their application, design, implementation, monitoring, and ultimate termination.
The United States representative said the imposition of sanctions could alter events on the ground and pressure States and groups to lessen their involvement in illicit activities, offering an approach greater than persuasion, but less than the use of force to bring about desired behaviour. To the call for time limits, he said that sanctions should be tied directly to the change the Council wished to see in an actor, rather than artificially linked to an arbitrary time limit.
The representative of Cameroon said dual concerns had emerged, namely, the need to coerce targets to adapt their behaviour to the wishes of the international community, on the one hand, and the need to reduce the collateral impact, on the other. Differing opinions remained in the Council’s informal working group on sanctions issues, primarily concerning the scope and length of sanctions. It had thus assigned an important role to resolving problems dealing with the termination of sanctions and their implementation, including aid to affected States to enhance capacity for implementation.
While sanctions had played a crucial role in advancing peace and international security, the representative of Guinea noted, in some situations, their ineffectiveness had raised questions about their usefulness and had tarnished the image of the United Nations. Smart sanctions remained the subject of frequent violations. To right that situation, the Council should become further involved and a series of reliable, effective and uniform monitoring mechanisms should be set up.
The United Kingdom’s representative agreed that there was no point in adopting sanctions if the Council then failed to enforce them. One clear example was Liberia. Sanctions had been imposed there since 1992, but the Government and rebels had been able to import arms, thereby making a "nonsense" of the sanctions. Improved monitoring should be a priority for the Council. The United Kingdom and France had put forward a proposal for a monitoring mechanism, and were looking at how to adapt that idea to complement the recommendations of Stockholm.
The Council President extended members’ heartfelt sympathy to the Government and people of China in connection with the earthquake, which occurred in the Xinjiang region, resulting in considerable destruction and loss of life.
Statements were also made this morning by the representatives of Bulgaria, China, Angola, France, Chile, Syria, Russian Federation, Mexico, and Spain.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 12:20 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider general issues relating to sanctions, during which it would be briefed by Hans Dahlgren, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, on the Stockholm process on the implementation of targeted sanctions.
HANS DAHLGREN, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that the instruments of sanctions could be described as "something between words and war". Like other tools, they could be truly effective only if they were sharp enough, if they were focused enough, and if they were designed for the particular operation they were intended to perform. Today’s meeting was about targeted sanctions and how they could be developed into an even more important tool to help the Council fulfil its primary task - to maintain international peace and security.
The Stockholm process on the implementation of targeted sanctions was a project that had dealt with how to increase the efficiency of sanctions by reforming and improving their implementation, while also minimizing unintentional negative consequences. It was the third initiative in a growing international debate on the need for more efficient, more fine-tuned and more humane sanctions. The first was taken in Interlaken, focusing on targeted financial sanctions. That was followed by the Bonn/Berlin process on arms embargoes, travel and aviation-related sanctions. The Governments of Switzerland and Germany were early in recognizing the need for making sanctions smarter.
The Stockholm report was the result of a more than year-long process that had engaged government officials, non-governmental organizations, regional organizations and international institutions, as well as academics and experts from various areas with expertise in the field of sanctions implementation. Targeted sanctions were designed to focus specifically on the individuals, or other entities, that were responsible for threats to, and breaches of, international peace and security. Ideally, they would leave other parts of the population unaffected, as well as international trade relations.
The main goal of the Stockholm process had been to suggest ways to strengthen the capacity to implement targeted sanctions, here at the United Nations system and also among Member States. One priority had been to identify measures to enhance the planning, monitoring, reporting and coordination among sanctions committees and monitoring bodies.
The booklet prepared on the process, full of suggestions for the implementation of United Nations policy options, contained a set of guidelines for the work of United Nations panels and mechanisms which were tasked with monitoring of sanctions. Also, it contained the idea for establishing a sanctions coordinator, or a special adviser, to further improve and support the coordination among sanctions committees, expert panels and monitoring mechanisms.
Sanctions were only as strong as the structures within which they were implemented, he noted. That was why the Stockholm process had looked at different ways to enhance and support Member States’ implementation by strengthened national capacity. The report included an elaborated model law for developing legal frameworks for sanctions implementation. It also contained a number of different national measures, listed with respect to the type of sanctions to be implemented. In addition, there was a recommendation to address a special questionnaire to Member States on their capacity to implement sanctions, and on their abilities to provide technical assistance to Member States that needed it.
While the use of sanctions had increased, there had been growing concern over the negative effects of economic sanctions on vulnerable populations and overall societies. The collateral effects of sanctions on third States had been highlighted, and rightly so. At the same time, many key actors, intended to be targeted by sanctions, had evaded and circumvented those measures by different means. That was an increasing problem. It not only affected the effectiveness of sanctions, but it eroded the very legitimacy of the measures imposed. The Stockholm process recommended different strategies, depending on the type of sanctions, to counter sanctions evasion and maintain the accuracy of sanctions.
How to best target sanctions was a political issue, he said. When the Council took a decision, it must be respected all over the world. That respect might be easily eroded, if the action decided upon could not be well implemented. That was why sanctions that worked, and sanctions that led to results, would be so important for the public support that those instruments would carry - and the support that the United Nations itself would gain. He hoped that the concrete and practical results from the process would be of value for implementers and policy-makers at all levels.
DANILO TÜRK, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that the Secretariat had observed with keen interest the ideas and recommendations emerging from the Stockholm process, as well as the Interlaken and Bonn-Berlin processes. In his most recent report on the work of the Organization, the Secretary-General had noted that he was encouraged by the ongoing efforts at the intergovernmental and expert levels to design "smarter" Security Council sanctions measures. He had also recognized that participation of partners from civil society, academia and the private sector in those expert meetings could help to build the political will necessary for effective sanctions.
He noted the highly relevant work already undertaken in areas such as financial sanctions and arms embargoes. That was only more valuable in light of concerns about the flow of resources to individuals and entities associated with international terrorism, as well as concerns regarding ongoing instability in a number of regions, which had been linked to the illicit flow of small arms. In hindsight, it was clear that the expert meetings on targeted sanctions had been on the right track. It was now important that the Council devise further guidance.
The Stockholm paper touched upon the importance of transparency and ownership regarding implementation of targeted sanctions among the broader membership, he said. While recognizing that it might sometimes be necessary to uphold the confidentiality of sources of information available to expert panels or monitoring groups regarding sanctions busting or non-compliance, the Stockholm paper notes that the credibility of the findings and the integrity of the process required that evidence be as transparent and verifiable as possible.
He said that the Council had acted in parallel to those and other things when it requested the panel of experts on Liberia to bring relevant information to the attention of the States concerned for investigation and action, and to allow them the right of reply. The advances made in sanctions theory and practice had also revealed new pitfalls in effective implementation, while drawing attention also to existing problems that had previously gone unrecognized. The assistance provided by the handbook before the Council in identifying and addressing such issues was one of the most significant outcomes of the Stockholm process.
One set of findings common to Interlaken and Bonn-Berlin pointed to the need for enhanced monitoring, accompanied by other ways of ensuring that States had the capacity to effectively implement targeted sanctions, he said. Those important concerns were put at the core of the Stockholm process, together with ground-breaking analysis on how to maintain the focus of sanctions on the targeted actors in response to evasion strategies. The Council was now very familiar with the effective work of independent investigative panels and monitoring mechanisms, and had also head the findings of field missions undertaken by sanctions committee chairmen.
The need for better coordination in many areas of implementation had come to the fore, he continued. Many of the expert groups’ reports had identified similar patterns of violation, often orchestrated by identical actors. Perhaps even more importantly, the expert groups had identified similar avenues of follow-up action for the Council to pursue, including in relation to other regional or competent organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). The Stockholm paper included, for the first time, careful analysis and recommendation on those and related issues.
He hoped the Council would take the findings into account when it conducted sanctions reviews, or when it considered the future application of the targeted sanctions instrument, because, without effective implementation, there was a risk that much of the good work accomplished since 1997 would remain in the domain of theory, rather than practice, notwithstanding the results already achieved. The Secretariat likewise hoped that the Council and the broader international community would continue to build upon the valuable work already undertaken in the area of targeted sanctions.
He highlighted a number of key elements still to be addressed: improving coordination among all relevant actors; optimizing the design and use of sanctions lists; and studying ways by which to probe the deterrent value of targeted Council sanctions and integrating them into an overall strategy for preventive diplomacy.
RAYKO RAYTCHEV (Bulgaria) said that having been an active participant in the Stockholm process, his Government shared and supported the conclusions and recommendations contained in the final report. The inclusion of the section on the unintended effects of sanctions on third party States was backed by Bulgaria, as the State most affected by sanctions on the former Yugoslavia, Libya and Iraq. He supported the view that the imposition of compulsory measures by the Council against States whose actions posed a threat to international peace and security should be done based on a preliminary assessment of the situation. At the same time, all efforts must be made to minimize negative side effects. Also, an assessment of the humanitarian impact should be a standard requirement in the report of expert groups.
He also supported the proposal for the establishment of an autonomous mechanism for sanctions monitoring in the Secretariat for improving coordination and avoiding duplication. Coordination among expert groups and sanctions committees, on the one hand, and relevant technical groups, on the other, should be improved. Regular coordination among sanctions committees should also be enhanced. It was also necessary to improve the management of the information related to sanctions implementation. Targeted sanctions should be well focused on targeted actors. In that regard, the final report contained useful guidelines. He was confident that the outcome of the Stockholm process gave answers to key questions in the area of targeted sanctions implementation.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that the Stockholm process was a useful study of the question of sanctions in all their aspects. Its recommendations with regard to the role of the United Nations in the imposition and implementation of sanctions were also valuable. Judging from the implementation of sanctions in recent years in certain regions, particularly in Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia, sanctions had played an active role in easing and resolving armed conflict and in promoting regional peace. At the same time, grave humanitarian crises had resulted. Practical questions still facing the Council on the question of sanctions included: how to better tailor them; reducing their impact on civilians and third countries; and how to best implement them and enhance their effectiveness.
He said that care must be taken at the time of a decision to make specific arrangements in accordance with the specific characteristics of a situation. An exit strategy and the setting of time limits should also be determined at the time a decision was made to impose sanctions, in order to avoid or reduce the negative humanitarian impact as much as possible. For sanctions to be effective and apart from the necessary political will of the involved countries, monitoring mechanisms must be established. Sanctions imposed by the Council against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) had been relatively successful, and the monitoring mechanism could serve as a model. He also called for greater coordination among the relevant agencies. Implementation must hinge on the general overall goal of easing and resolving conflict. Sanctions could be more effective and accurately targeted against those responsible for undermining peace.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) welcomed the introduction of targeted financial and travel sanctions, which represented a qualitative change in the sanctions policy of the Council. Indeed, progress had been made in the work on sanctions, as reflected in the report presented to the Council today. Angola had been a case study of how effective targeted sanctions could be. The Ad Hoc Working Group on Sanctions could benefit from the work of the sanctions committees and the Stockholm process. He hoped that such initiatives would bring a new and stronger commitment to targeted sanctions, since that could help the Council bring about better implementation.
MICHEL DUCLOS (France) was gratified by the way in which the debate on targeted sanctions had been conducted. The work now before the Council was the outgrowth of an intensive exchange of views. Overall, he endorsed the approach and conclusions of the Stockholm Process. The approach was based on targeted sanctions, and better targeting sanctions meant increasing pressure where it should be exerted, while reducing their collateral impact on innocent civilians. He supported the view that sanctions should be targeted and have a time limit. Also, the impact of sanctions should be assessed regularly.
He expressed particular interest in certain recommendations of the report, such as the international support that any sanctions regime must receive. Also, enhancing the capacity of the Secretariat was in accord with the French/British proposal for a monitoring mechanism for sanctions. The establishment of a special coordinator merited close study. It was important for the Council to complete its normative work on sanctions and complete the work of the working group on sanctions. It must also work to improve existing arrangements. He urged Council members to work on the basis of the French/British proposal and the conclusions of the Stockholm process.
BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) said that over the last decade the Council had been obliged to use sanctions as a means of maintaining and restoring peace and security in numerous regions. While sanctions had played a crucial role in advancing peace and international security, they had not been completely successful. In some situations, they had not been effective and had clearly affected civilian populations and neighbouring States. On occasion, that had raised questions about their usefulness and had tarnished the image of the United Nations. That was why, over time, the international community had felt that there was need to improve not only the definition of sanctions, but the targets and effectiveness.
He recalled that, in April 2000, the Council had decided to create the informal working group for the study of general issues resulting from sanctions. Along the same lines, the Interlaken process in 1998 to 1999 had brought together experts, non-governmental organizations and United Nations officials to consider the issues. The Bonn process that followed had dealt with arms embargoes and travel bans. Those two processes had led to the adoption of "smart" or targeted sanctions, making it possible to minimize their impact on civilians and third States. Those instruments were supplemented by the Stockholm protocol, which led to the creation of more effective and targeted measures. All were welcome initiatives.
The increasingly important role played by the sanctions committees had clearly demonstrated the value of those processes, he said. By targeting leaders, administrations or specific groups, sanctions had made it possible to maintain the pressure on them, leading, in some cases, to a change of position. Smart sanctions, nevertheless, continued to be the subject of frequent violations. To right that situation, the Council should become further involved. In addition, a series of reliable, effective and uniform monitoring mechanisms should be set up. Angola was an excellent example of how that could work.
He said that the sanctions committees must be provided with adequate financial resources to enable them to assist those States lacking the financial means to implement sanctions. The informal working group still had not agreed on a common position aimed at improving the sanctions regimes, and through regular consultations, including with regional and subregional organizations, it should do so.
RICHARD WILLIAMSON (United States) said that the Stockholm process was an important forum for the exchange of views on targeted sanctions. Sanctions were a viable and useful policy option for the Council to modify the behaviour of a State or entity that posed a threat to international peace and security or committed aggression. The Council’s imposition of sanctions offered an approach greater than persuasion, but less than the use of force to bring about desired behaviour. Sanctions were an effective tool to alter events on the ground and pressure States and groups to lessen their involvement in illicit activities. Recent sanctions regimes, such as that relating to Liberia, demonstrated the shared desire to focus on those individuals who posed a threat to stability.
Terrorist acts were a growing threat to international peace and security, he said. The recent shift in sanctions beyond geographic borders showed the Council’s commitment to ensuring that international terrorism was defeated. The 1267 (1999) Committee was making a significant contribution to the war against terrorism. The role of the United Nations in sanctions implementation should be enhanced. He recommended that the Secretariat seek the names of qualified experts from all Member States for immediate addition to its roster. It was also imperative for the Secretariat to establish a system to categorize relevant findings of current expert groups, to generate commonalities in the work of their groups and avoid overlap.
The international community should continue to help Member States better implement sanctions, he said. Gaps in capacity needed to be better addressed and that was an area where the United Nations and lead countries could make an enormous contribution. Those unwilling to implement the sanctions must also be addressed. He believed that sanctions should be tied directly to the described change the Council wished to see in an actor, rather than artificially linked to an arbitrary time limit.
CRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said the Stockholm process was a significant advance in the quest to improve both the concept and implementation of the sanctions regimes. Proposals from all of the recent processes deserved closer study, as did other more complex suggestions. While his country attached the greatest importance to restoring peace and security in accordance with the Charter, the use of "indiscriminate" sanctions, or comprehensive and open ones, had demonstrated that, in some cases, those were not effective. The speed of their impact on civilians was often much faster than the change in the conduct of a government, if, in fact, there was any change at all. As a result, Chile favoured the development of sanctions that were better focused, targeted and aimed precisely at changing the behaviour of those responsible for disturbing the peace.
Thus, he continued, the findings of the recent processes had been extremely valuable. The results of the Stockholm process deserved recognition and endorsement. On that basis, it should be possible to decisively enhance the capacity of the United Nations and of Member States in implementing sanctions, including through better cooperation and coordination, technical assistance, and more effective monitoring. Proportionality of the measures undertaken should also be underscored. He advocated adjusting sanctions to the changing political situation and the response of the various leaderships.
Recalling Mr. Türk’s remarks about the possible use of smart sanctions for preventive diplomacy, he said that might be explored in connection with financial sanctions. Some difficulties might arise in their effective implementation, if they were imposed on the premise that a State must change its conduct within a given time frame before imposition. Such a time period could be used by a State to shift its resources, thereby undermining the sanctions. The Stockholm process had completed a cycle on the genuine need to explore focused sanctions. Now, it was time for the Council to improve the way it implemented the sanctions.
JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that the Interlaken, Bonn and Berlin processes provided the guidelines on sanctions design, but it was the Stockholm process that moved to the next stage, that of better implementation. There was no point in adopting sanctions if the Council then failed to enforce them. One clear example was Liberia. Sanctions had been imposed there since 1992, but the Government and rebels had been able to import arms, making a "nonsense" of sanctions and undermining the whole objective of their imposition. He strongly supported the Stockholm process and looked forward to incorporating the recommendations.
With regard to monitoring, he had no doubt that improved monitoring should be a priority for the Council. The United Kingdom and France had put forward a proposal for a monitoring mechanism, and were looking at how to adapt that idea to complement the recommendations of Stockholm. In doing so, they were looking to exploit the synergies among the different panels and avoid overlap among monitors. Improved coordination and follow-up were needed to make that work.
He added that primary consideration must be given impact in designing and implementing sanctions. Consideration of their humanitarian impact, as well as their impact on the target, was crucial. The Council had to identify the target’s "Achilles heel" to add bite to the sanctions. He also noted that the practices developed in the Counter-Terrorism Committee were useful lessons for sanctions committees to consider.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) said that the Council used sanctions as one means of undertaking its main task of maintaining international peace and security, but it had become clear that some of the sanctions and the committees entrusted with implementation had caused humanitarian damage to the fabric of societies and to innocent civilians. That huge problem must be overcome in any discussion of imposing sanctions. The report of the Stockholm process had reflected the important aspects of evaluating targeted sanctions, as well as the necessary means for enhancing the United Nations’ role in their implementation. Also, financial support must be considered for the affected States, in order to increase their capacity to implement the sanctions.
He said it should be recognized that targeted sanctions were more difficult to implement than comprehensive ones. In that respect, the Council must not lose sight of their collateral effects, particularly on the untargeted sectors of the population. It must also be recognized that the political will of Member States, beginning with the Security Council members, was instrumental in effective implementation. In the case of sanctions, political will must be seen as a determination to put in place "just and fair" measures that respected human rights and heeded international humanitarian law. Such discussion must also stress the need for time limits. Sanctions should be lifted as soon as compliance was verified.
Sanctions should not continue for decades, particularly while so many peoples, including in neighbouring States, suffered, he said. Neighbouring States faced grave economic damage when their vital interests were compromised as result of sanctions against a neighbour. Expert groups and monitoring mechanisms were among the most important tools available for implementing sanctions, but competent individuals must be sought and the independent character of those serving on the teams must be assessed. The time had come to pool efforts to seek new instruments that were less detrimental to the welfare of affected civilians and more effective in carrying out the purposes and objectives of the United Nations Charter.
ALEXANDER KONUZIN (Russian Federation) stressed the need for the rational and effective use of sanctions. He supported the initiatives of countries to conduct studies of the mechanisms for effective sanctions. The improvement of targeted sanctions would be impossible without the intensification of the work to reduce the unintended impact of such instruments. He favoured the expansion of the practice whereby imposed measures were evaluated for their humanitarian consequences. When such negative impacts were identified, the Council must properly adjust such measures.
In light of the importance of conducting such evaluations to raise the general level of confidence in sanctions, it was justified to make use of such practices in the preparation stage of relevant decisions, he continued. The Council still had a great deal of work to do to optimize the modalities for the functioning of recently created groups of experts to monitor the implementation of sanctions. A successful example was the monitoring group on sanctions imposed on UNITA. The experience acquired by that monitoring mechanism could be a standard for other groups. The study introduced today would be extremely useful in the United Nations. He hoped its recommendations would be properly assessed by Member States and of practical use to the Organization.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said the use of sanctions as a policy tool had increased in the 1990s, but comprehensive sanctions had often led to undesirable results. Those had sometimes proved counter-productive and served to harden positions. In most cases, the parties had sought to evade any measures imposed against them. The precision of sanctions must be improved, evasion must be checked, and their negative consequences, especially the humanitarian effect, must be minimized. He welcomed the recent policy desire to shift to "smart" sanctions, which sought to focus the sanctions and minimize the consequences. The Stockholm process had suggested ways to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system and Member States to implement targeted sanctions and enhance cooperation among the sanctions regimes and monitoring bodies.
He proposed that a more comprehensive review should be undertaken of the application, design, implementation, monitoring and ultimate termination of sanctions. The Council’s informal working group should undertake such a review. The Council’s approach to sanctions should incorporate the following principles: sanctions, as a coercive measure available under Chapter VII of the Charter, must be among the last, and not the first, resort; they should be imposed only in response to violations of international law and non-compliance with Council resolutions and obligations; and the Council was the only body authorized to impose collective internal sanctions and, thus, unilateral sanctions by individual States did not enjoy international legitimacy and were often counter-productive and destabilizing.
Continuing, he said that sanctions should be based on concrete evidence of violations of international law or Council obligations, and not based on presumptions, media reports or motivated allegations. Also, the threat of sanctions could be more effective than their actual imposition and, thus, conditional or deferred sanctions should be considered wherever possible. Sanctions resolutions should clearly indicate goals and establish clear criteria and time-bound frameworks for their suspension or lifting. Provision should also be made to ease sanctions, in response to partial compliance. Sanctions should also be implemented in a transparent manner, and sanctions personnel, including United Nations’ inspectors, should reflect equitable geographical representation. Also, personnel from developing countries should receive the necessary training to enable them to participate in sanctions monitoring regimes.
He said that regimes should incorporate humanitarian exemptions and compensation mechanisms in cases of unintended consequences. The regimes should also be carefully and regularly assessed regarding their effectiveness in achieving the objectives. An independent external review, including possibly a judicial review, of monitoring mechanisms to obtain a realistic and objective assessments should also be made. The Council must seek to evolve and strengthen other means envisaged under the Charter, including the adoption of a comprehensive problem-solving approach involving conflict resolution, and economic and development objectives to achieve the desired aims. The Charter provided the scope; the Council must graduate from the thinking of the old world, and adopt a more innovative approach.
MARTIN BELINGA EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said that sanctions were one of the major instruments available to the Council to enable it to carry out its responsibility to maintain international peace and security. The proliferation of conflicts over the past few years had led to the increased use of sanctions. However, those sanctions had different outcomes. He deplored the negative consequences incurred by third party States and the suffering inflicted on populations of targeted countries. The Council, together with the international community, was concerned and involved in trying to improve the scope and effectiveness of sanctions regimes.
The need for effectiveness had brought forth a dual concern, he said, namely, the creation of sanctions regimes to make targets adapt their behaviour to comply with the wishes of the international community, on the one hand, and the need to reduce the collateral impact, on the other. That dual concern was impacting on the work of the sanctions committees. It was also the basis of the work of the working group on sanctions, which he chaired. That dual concern underlined the work conducted within the various processes, that of Interlaken, Bonn, Berlin and Stockholm. The Interlaken process had dealt with the practical and technical aspects of financial sanctions, while the Bonn/Berlin process had focused on the negative impact of sanctions on populations and third party States. The Stockholm process built on the first two and its results were particularly interesting and should be of great value to the Council.
The working group on general issues relating to sanctions could make good use of the ideas put forth in the report in achieving its goals, he noted. Established in 2000, the group was entrusted with drawing up general recommendations regarding strengthening the effectiveness of sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Its work dealt with the administration of sanctions, strengthening the capacity of the Secretariat, and the required cooperation between all those participating in the implementation of sanctions. An important role was given to problems dealing with the termination of sanctions, the implementation of sanctions, as well as assistance to those States implementing sanctions.
Despite the progress made, he added, differences of opinion remained, hampering the conclusion of its work and the management of the sanctions regimes. Those differences dealt primarily with the scope and length of sanctions. He hoped that those two questions would receive due attention from the Council and civil society.
CARLOS PUJALTE (Mexico) said that the recommendations of the Stockholm process was particularly relevant to the work of the Council and its sanctions committees. The very way in which those committee meetings worked had not made it easy to engage in a thinking process on the ways and means of imposing sanctions or monitoring them. In terms of improving coordination among sanctions committees, the only attempt at closer cooperation had been the tripartite meetings on the sanctions committees on Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia, on such matters as diamonds and travel bans. Even when sanctions regimes had applied only to a specific country, the need had emerged, as seen in Sierra Leone and Liberia, to take a regional approach, both in implementing sanctions and monitoring them. The chairs of the committees should convene regular meetings on questions of common interests, and include the chair of the Council’s informal working group.
He said that the inclusion of a reporting requirement on sanctions violations into the mandates of peacekeeping operations should also be considered. Their reports to both the Council and the sanctions committees would be extremely useful in the case of arms embargoes. Improving coordination between the committees and other actors was also crucial. Channels of communication should be kept open, with non-governmental organizations, civil society and public opinion groups, and the media. Also, the Council should consider the formulation of guidelines on best practices and lessons learned, and the capacity of the Secretariat should be strengthened, including through the establishment of independent structures with ambitious mandates. While that had not yet had the full support of the Council, the Secretariat, meanwhile, could consolidate its work in sanctions, in order to properly support the monitoring mechanisms, sanctions committees and informal working group.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain) said that sanctions were not an end in themselves, but part of a broader strategy to end a conflict. Because they were deficient in their design, sanctions could be flouted or undermined. The unjust consequences of sanctions gave the targets an opportunity to evade suffering, while the civilian population continued to suffer. Therefore, a periodic review of sanctions was needed.
Sanctions were one of the most visible facets of United Nations action around the world, he noted. At the same time, there was a degree of ignorance about the reasons for, and objectives of, sanctions. He endorsed the Stockholm proposal aimed at regular information briefings for the media. He also supported the proposal to introduce the possibility of having judicial processes to correct errors and take into account changes in the targets of sanctions. Some measures, such as arms embargoes and travel bans, had a limited degree of efficiency.
The coordinating role of the Sanctions Unit should be promoted to avoid duplication of efforts, he said. For sanctions to be implemented, all States must establish the appropriate mechanisms and, sanctions committees should require all States to give reports on such measures. It was also necessary to strengthen the capacity of States to implement sanctions, and to provide technical and financial assistance to those that needed it. It would also be useful to consider the role to be played by regional organizations, such as the European Union.
Council President GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany), speaking in his national capacity, said that the briefing and interventions made today had achieved two important goals. First, it had contributed to a more transparent discussion within the Council on pressing sanctions issues. Secondly, it had highlighted the important input the Stockholm process had given to the debate on how to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations system and of Member States to implement targeted sanctions.
The development of monitoring mechanisms, with a view to increasing transparency and efficiency, was key for the success of any sanctions regime. The mechanism could furnish the sanctions committees with additional information about the violations of sanctions, as well as their direct and collateral impact. The mechanism thus deterred those engaged in sanctions-busting and, at the same time, served as an early warning instrument against disproportional collateral damage. In that regard, secondary sanctions - measures to be taken against sanction-busting States or individuals - deserved more attention.
He believed that several suggestions of the Stockholm process deserved particular attention: common guidelines for the monitoring of sanctions and strategies to counter sanctions evasion; and maintaining the accuracy of sanctions, including their adequate assessment. The processes of Interlaken, Bonn/Berlin and Stockholm had contributed to making sanctions more targeted, credible and efficient. Sanctions were tools, not political aims in themselves. They were no substitute for political concepts. The success of a sanctions regime required a comprehensive approach that considered targeted sanctions as part of a broader coordinated political and diplomatic strategy. That depended on the will of the actors.
He added that the more efficiently, objectively and transparently sanctions regimes were conceived and implemented, the better they could serve as sharp and appropriate instruments under Chapter VII, thus enabling the Council to avoid the use of force.
Responding to the comments made, Secretary of State DAHLGREN said that he was heartened by the support expressed today for the proposals in the report, both for the clear willingness by the Secretariat to play a more active role in coordination and monitoring, as well as for Council members who endorsed the improvement of targeted sanctions. He agreed with Ambassador Greenstock with regard to the relevancy of the lessons learned by the Counter-Terrorism Committee for the various sanctions committees, not only in relation to working methods and transparency, but also in its relationships with other Member States. As several speakers had underlined, there must be universal support for targeted sanctions to be successful. Each Member State must do its share. The Stockholm process had a duty to make the guidelines known, not only at the United Nations, but also in all capitals.
Mr. TÜRK, also taking the floor to respond to the speakers, assured the Council and Mr. Dahlgren that the Secretariat would remain engaged in the Stockholm process. He had taken note of the various comments and would do everything possible to improve the Secretariat’s work with regard to its support of the sanctions committees. He would welcome any additional resources to make strengthening its capacity a reality. The preventive effects of sanctions would also be further explored. The work based on resolutions 1267 (2001) and 1455 (2003) had already had important preventive effects and would be and important guide for the future. Improved coordination was also highly relevant, as patterns of violations were often identical in nature. He would also think about the comment that sometimes just the threat of sanctions was an effective tool, in the context of the Council’s prior adoption of a comprehensive resolution dealing with the prevention of armed conflict.
* The 4712th Meeting was closed.
Full report (pdf* format - 710 KB)