148. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the proposals he has made to the Secretary General of the United Nations to put in place new structures, given that the current structures are totally outdated and in view of the lack of effectiveness of the UN in dealing with conflict in many parts of the world and taking into account political changes over many decades; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29588/14 asked on 08 Jul 2014)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Eamon Gilmore): Ireland has actively championed the reform agenda at the United Nations in recent years and will continue to do so, not only with regards to Security Council Reform, but also in relation to peacekeeping, peace building and other UN structures to increase the effectiveness and accountability of the UN. The nature of conflict is very different from when the UN was founded, and it is important that structures be amended to reflect this.

Ireland participates in the informal plenary sessions of the 10th round of Intergovernmental Negotiations on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council. Ireland has called for these discussions to be intensified with a view to identifying whether there is a model for reform which can command broad consensus. Ireland is a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) grouping at the UN, launched in May 2013 in New York. It is a cross-regional group of 21 states aiming to improve the working methods of the UN Security Council. Ireland also actively participates in the ACT sub-group on peacekeeping.

Ireland has made a significant contribution to new UN Structures. Ireland’s Ambassador was one of three Permanent Representatives to the United Nations who were appointed to facilitate a review of the Peace Building Commission in December 2009. The outcome of this review was the approval in 2010 by the UN Secretary-General of the co-facilitator’s report which sought to reinvigorate the Peacebuilding Commission.

On peacekeeping, Ireland is currently participating in a UN initiative to improve standards which guide the operation of UN peacekeeping missions. The initiative allows us to share the significant expertise we have gained through our longstanding participation in UN peacekeeping missions in order to develop best practices at UN missions. Ireland also hosted a panel discussion on command and control structures for UN peacekeeping operations on 3 July.