Compliance & Capacity Skills International has produced and published a revised version of the Best Practices Guide for Chairs and Members of United Nations Sanctions Committees. This follows from an extensive consultation process involving both state and non-state actors including, amongst others, representatives of Member States, members of the Security Council, private companies and human rights and gender-based violence specialists. The project was supported and sponsored by the governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
UN sanctions committees are usually created through resolutions establishing a new UN sanctions regime to support and/or oversee the implementation of that sanctions regime. The primary purpose of the Guide is to address "issues that principal sanctions actors, particularly the Chairs and members of UN sanctions committees, need to understand in order to reinforce the protective, preventive and coercive application of Security Council sanctions quickly and substantively". The Guide provides detailed guidelines for sanctions committee practices, including in relation to committee decision making, chair appointments and the role of expert teams.
Although the Guide is primarily targeted at Chairs and members of UN sanctions committees, it is also intended to serve as guidance for the entire network of UN sanctions implementation stakeholders.
The Guide is divided into four sections:
- "Section I – Sanctions implementation actors and roles", which explains the role and function of key UN sanctions actors (such as the Security Council) and the interrelationship between different actors.
- "Section II – Committee practices", which describes the standard practices adopted by the Chair and members of sanctions committees.
- "Section III – Sanctions implementation and monitoring", which provides a list of sanctions currently in effect, a description of UN sanction types and guidance on the interpretation of key elements of UN sanctions, including applicable standards for compliance obligations.
- "Section IV – Significant new concerns", which provides a list of areas of concern requiring the urgent attention of all stakeholders.
Section III in particular is useful for private stakeholders. Notably, this section provides some clarifications on the interpretation by the UN Security Council of the meaning of key terms like "asset" and "asset freezing", as well as practical implications of implementing "denial of financial services" obligations in the Libya, North Korea and Iran sanctions regime.
The key areas of concern highlighted in Section IV of the Guide provide an indication of the Security Council's priorities for UN sanctions implementation moving forward. These areas are:
- streamlining due process across all sanctions implementation practices;
- the information and guidance requirements of the global private sector;
- enhancing gender competence and balance;
- safeguarding humanitarian action in the design and implementation of sanctions; and
- raising awareness about the exacerbating effects of digital (or cyber) technologies on the implementation of sanctions.
Authored by: Aline Doussin and Iris Karaman.