A Year in the Life of an Elected Member: Lessons Learned on the Security Council

On July 23rd, IPI hosted a virtual event featuring current and former members of the UN Security Council, on the occasion of the English release of With an Orange Tie: A Year on the Security Council, by Karel Van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN. Watch the ambassadorial-level conversation moderated by IPI Vice President Adam Lupel as we discussed the increased role of the ten Elected Members, the “unwritten rules of the Council,” the nexus between the Security Council and the General Assembly, and more.

Much maligned and widely watched, the UN Security Council remains the most powerful body in the United Nations system. Each year five new members are elected to join the body for a two-year term. In a historic compromise, the Netherlands shared the 2017-2018 term with Italy. What lessons were learned in that critical, single year on the Council, and how can they be applied by the incoming members in 2021?

Karel J. G. van Oosterom is the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York, and presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on August 5th, 2013.

Mr. van Oosterom’s most recent posting was as the Director-General for Political Affairs in the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a post he held since 2011. Prior to that, between 2006 and 2011, he was Foreign Policy and Defence Advisor to the Prime Minister. A career diplomat for almost 30 years, he held several positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as Deputy Head of Mission at the Dutch Embassy in Beijing, from 2002 to 2006. During a six-year stint in the Ministry’s European Affairs Department, he served most recently as the Department’s Deputy Director from 2000 to 2002, as well as Head and Deputy Head of the Western European Division from 1998 to 2000 and from 1996 to 1998 respectively.

Participants included:

H.E. Ms. Besiana Kadare, Permanent Representative of Albania to the UN
H.E. Mr. Alexander Marschik, Permanent Represenative of Austria to the UN
H.E. Mr. Kacou Houadja Léon Adom, Permanent Representative of Cote d’lvoire to the UN
H.E. Mr. Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union delegation to the UN
H.E. Mr. T. S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India to the UN
H.E. Mr. Dian Triansyah Djani, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN
H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN
H.E. Mr. Kairat Umarov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN
H.E. Mr. Mansour Ayyad Sh. A. Alotaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the UN
H.E. Mrs. Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representative of Malta to the UN
H.E. Mr. Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN
H.E. Mr. Odd Inge Kvalheim, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN
H.E. Mr. Francisco Duarte Lopes, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN
H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the UN
H.E. Mrs. Ameirah Alhefeiti , Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the UN
Mr. Richard Gowan, International Crisis Group
Ms. Karin Landgren, Security Council Report
Ms. Loraine Sievers, The Procedure of the UN Security
Mr. James Bays, Al Jazeera
Ms. Margaret Besheer, VOA News
Ms. Pamela Falk, CBS News