The UN Security Council (UNSC) consists of 5 permanent members (P5) and 10 elected members (E10). Every year 5 elected members join the Security Council for a period of two years. The elected 5 who will join as of January 2020 are Estonia, Niger, Tunisia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Vietnam.
In a newly established tradition that started in 2017, while the Kingdom of the Netherlands was preparing to join the UN Security Council (UNSC), the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York and Clingendael Academy have been offering a yearly recurring negotiation training with the objective to prepare incoming E5 members for their time in the UNSC. Recently, Clingendael Academy trainers trained the newly elected 2020 non-permanent members of UNSC.
Each year the government of Finland organizes the ‘Finish Workshop’ or ‘Hitting the ground running’ retreat for the ambassadors of current and newly elected members to the UNSC, partly to help the newly elected members to prepare. Complementary to this, the Dutch Initiative brings together the diplomats on expert level who do most of the legwork of UNSC negotiations.
During the recent training in New York, the participants through a series of exercises explored and learned the most important negotiation concepts and how to apply them in the setting of the UNSC. Exercises had been specifically designed for this target group. For instances an exercise based on the example of the successful attempts by The Netherlands to initiate and adopt a resolution against starvation as a weapon of war, Through this exercises, the participants came to understand the importance of informal work and building coalitions during negotiations.
In addition, the training paid attention to importance of cooperation between the capital and the mission in New York in a session facilitated by diplomats from the Kingdom of Netherlands. This cooperation is vital for being effective within the UNSC, but not that easy to organize since for most countries membership of the UNSC is very rare. Lessons learned from 20 years ago or more, are perhaps at times no longer applicable. It was therefore inspirational for the participants to hear from their Dutch colleagues how they managed their coordination while being on the UNSC.
In the last session, diplomats who participated in the previous training in 2018, representing Indonesia, South-Africa, Germany and Belgium, joined for a small informal Q&A sessions allowing participants to engage and hear about best practices, lessons learned and practical tips from colleagues who have been doing UNSC work for ten months and who will be their colleagues throughout 2020.
This last session emphasized yet another important reason to conduct this training namely, networking. The training in general, has an additional objective of seeking to provide a platform for the E10 to build a network and thereby enhance cooperation. Considering the very positive climate throughout the training as well as the positive feedback we received, we believe that both objectives were reached. We wish the upcoming members a successful time in the UN Security Council.