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Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK welcomes the proposals that the high level panel has put forward on possible reform of the United Nations Security Council. The UK supports enlargement of the Security Council to make it more representative of the modern world, transparent and effective. We would
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support an increase in the permanent and non-permanent membership, increasing overall membership from 15 to about 24. The panel has put forward two possible models for expansion: its model A is very similar to the UK approach.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government welcome the high level panel's proposal to establish a peacebuilding commission at the United Nations (UN) and look forward to agreement on this proposal at the Millennium Review Summit.

The high level panel identified an important shortcoming in the international community's ability to take concerted action to prevent conflict and build peace. A peacebuilding commission, bringing together UN member states and agencies and a broader set of international institutions and regional partners to share analysis and plans, could strengthen our collective ability to deliver earlier and better conflict prevention, management and resolution.

At this stage, we envisage the peacebuilding commission playing an advisory role at the strategic level to ensure coherent, integrated and sustained international engagement in a country or region. It could also provide a forum to address cross-cutting issues relating to peacebuilding.

We will be considering carefully the views of our UN partners on issues such as how to achieve an appropriate membership of the commission, the relationship between the peacebuilding commission and the Security Council, and how to take forward the idea of a peacebuilding support office within the UN Secretariat.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The panel has produced a series of interesting proposals on the role of regional organisations. We agree that collaboration between the UN and regional organisations needs to be strengthened to mutual benefit. We see the importance of building the capacity of regional security organisations, and recognise that their peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions must have adequate financing. These issues are also being addressed through the EU and G8.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We support the work of the high level panel, and welcome the emphasis given to human rights issues. In particular, we welcome the proposals to improve links between the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Security Council/Peacebuilding Commission, and to increase the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights' funding from the regular budget. On the other recommendations, our position is as follows:

Universalising membership of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR): this could potentially remove accusations of lack of representation, and the need for divisive elections. But we are not convinced it would address issues of legitimacy. And we would need to consider how this would work in practice, to ensure it would not have a counter-productive effect on the overall handling of human rights in the UN system.

Human rights figures to head CHR delegations: we agree with the principle that there should be human rights expertise throughout CHR delegations. However, it is for governments to send who they wish—many governments will wish to keep their head of delegation as a government representative.

Advisory council or panel to advise the CHR on country-specific issues and thematic mandates: the UK would like to see more detail on this. It would be important that this does not duplicate the current CHR sub-commission.

The Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights' annual report on the situation of human rights worldwide: we welcome the aim of providing a neutral and objective basis for discussion at the CHR. However, this should not be seen as a substitute for country action, but an objective basis on which the UN can choose to take action.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The high level panel report makes suggestions to increase the authority of the United Nations Secretary-General and to increase resources available to him. We generally support these, in line with our overall objective for more transparent and efficient human resource management in the United Nations (UN). The Secretary-General needs to have powers to redeploy staff and resources to deliver the objectives that the international community sets for the UN.

We are still considering the proposals for increased staffing at the secretariat. We believe a decision should not be taken until the recommended review of the secretariat has been carried out. The review should elaborate further on streamlining and redeployment, before any increase in staffing is agreed.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The role of the United Nations Secretary-General requires exceptional skills and experience in a number of areas. Ideally the candidate should have a proven track record in international affairs, management skills and the aptitude and vision to drive forward change in a large organisation.

The UN Charter sets out that the appointment should be made by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. We believe this is the most appropriate method of appointment.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We encourage UN member states at every appropriate opportunity to sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its three supplementary protocols including the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The recent report of the United Nations Secretary-General's high level panel has recommended the deletion of the provision for a military staff committee in Article 47 of the United Nations Charter. The Government would support this change as part of a package of amendments to the United Nations charter, as the staff committee has never functioned as envisaged.

The United Nations charter gives the Secretary-General the power to bring matters to the attention of the Security Council where he believes that there is a threat to international peace and security. He also provides analysis to the council of situations which are already on its agenda. It is clearly vital that the secretariat should have the capability to provide accurate analysis to the Secretary-General to underpin these responsibilities. The High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change recommended that the secretariat's capacity should be strengthened in this area, and that responsibility for such analysis and information should rest with a second Deputy Secretary-General. We support the panel's view that the secretariat's performance in this area could be strengthened, and we look forward to the Secretary-General's response in his report on implementing the high level panel's recommendations in March.

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