Monday, 30th October 2017

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In a 1st, UN Security Council adopts 4 resolutions remotely

The council, under China presidency, met via video-conferencing

By PTI in United Nations
  • Published 31.03.20, 3:26 PM
  • Updated 31.03.20, 3:26 PM
  • 2 mins read
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For the first time, it adopted resolutions without the UNSC members being present in the Council chamber at the UN headquarters and voting or casting a veto by raising their hands. Shutterstock

The UN Security Council, currently under China's presidency, unanimously adopted four resolutions, voting for the first time remotely as diplomats and United Nations staff work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak in New York.

The 15-nation powerful organ of the UN, chaired by council president, China's ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun, met via video-conferencing on Monday.

For the first time, it adopted resolutions without the UNSC members being present in the Council chamber at the UN headquarters and voting or casting a veto by raising their hands.

The council adopted unanimously a resolution on renewing the mandate for the Panel of Experts working with the 1718 Sanctions Committee for North Korea, a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), a resolution on maintaining the African Union-United Nations Mission Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) of its current troop and police ceilings, and a resolution on improving safety and security of peacekeepers.

As the coronavirus outbreak spread across the city, the state and the city of New York ordered offices and businesses to telecommute.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said all UN staff will be required to telecommute, unless their physical presence at the workplace is required, from March 16 to April 12 to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Security Council last met at the UN headquarters on March 12 when it had adopted a resolution extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

Diplomats from UN member states, UN officials and staff have been working remotely and according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, there had been only 89 swipes at UN entrances by people coming into the building on Monday, a sharp decline from about 11,000 on a normal day.

Guterres has been holding video press briefings on the Covid-19 situation.

Last week, the council held a video-conference to discuss the work of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as well as to discuss the work of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

The Chinese mission said in a statement that in the context of the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of the council faces serious practical difficulties.

As president of the council for March, "China has actively explored new working methods, maintained consultations with Council members by telephone, video, mails among other means, and broadened consensus, reflecting the Council's primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security through practical actions".

This week the council will also discuss Syria, Afghanistan and other issues via video tele-conferencing (VTC).

Zhang had said that the council was actively exploring new working methods because given the worsening of the pandemic, members of the council faced more difficulties in holding physical meetings at the UN headquarters.

Members of the council, with the support of the technical department of the secretariat, set up a VTC system. Council members discussed a provisional procedure for the adoption of resolutions under the current circumstances.

According to reports, the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has soared past 35,000 while the number of confirmed cases have topped 7,50,000 globally.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus patients in New York state is 66,000 with 1,218 deaths.