China has led other United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members to set up new working modalities for emergencies amid COVID-19, in an effort to ensure the council functions effectively and plays its due role, according to a Chinese envoy.
During its presidency of the UNSC last month, China has explored emergency work plans and created new modalities, making it possible for the council to discharge its mandate, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, also president of the Security Council for the month of March, said Tuesday in a briefing on the council's work in March.
The security council has "pioneered and recorded two breakthroughs for first time in history," Zhang noted. Council members, with the technical support of the UN Secretariat, set up a video teleconference (VTC) system and the first VTC meeting was held last week.
The council also voted in written procedures for the first time. Its members wrote to the UN Secretariat informing their voting positions on four council resolutions on Monday.
"I am pleased to see that the new working modalities have continued to improve, and countries directly concerned have been able to attend and address the VTC meetings. I am convinced that this working modalities will become more mature," Zhang said.
Despite the pandemic, the council has adopted six resolutions, one presidential statement, five press statements and multiple press elements, among which two outcome products are the first of its kind in history.
Under China's initiative, it was the first time that the council engaged in a thematic discussion on countering terrorism and extremism in Africa and adopted a presidential statement, which underscored the importance of a holistic approach, including capacity building, information sharing, and border control.
It was also the first time that the council adopted Resolution 2518, which highlights the safety and security of peacekeepers and urges the international community to increase investment in peacekeeping operations.
Facing the spread of COVID-19, China has made timely adjustments to the UNSC's daily work and took necessary precautionary measures to reduce the risks of infection, including asking each delegation to send no more than three participants for each meeting and moving internal consultations to the UN Chamber which is more spacious.
"Making the Security Council well-functioning is, in itself, combating the pandemic and lending confidence and strength to the whole world," he noted, adding that China will continue to overcome difficulties to maintain transparency as much as possible and ensure appropriate participation of all member states.