Incoming Security Council Members Pledge to Work to Find Solutions to New and Emerging Threats to International Peace and Security
2019 Security Council Election
The United Nations General Assembly elected on 7 June Niger, Tunisia, Viet Nam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Estonia as new non-permanent members of the Security Council. The five new countries will replace Côte-d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland when they take up their seats in the Council on 1 January 2020. Non-permanent members are elected for a two-year term, and the new countries will join Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa, as well as China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, the permanent members of the Council.
Estonia fought Romania for the Eastern European seat, and a second round of voting was necessary to declare a winner. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ran uncontested for the Latin American and Caribbean seat until last minute, when El Salvador decided to join the race. The remaining seats were not contested.
The newly elected members bring a set of priorities with them to the Council. Common themes include conflict prevention, strengthening multilateralism and regional cooperation, and finding solutions to new and emerging threats to international peace and security, like climate change and cyber-threats. We looked through each new member’s declared agenda for the next two years in the Council and have summarized the main points below.
This is the fourth time Tunisia is elected to serve in the Council (1959 – 1960, 1980 – 1981, 2000 – 2001). The country emphasized that peace, security, development and human rights are interrelated during its campaign. Tunisia has declared that it will prioritize the following:
1. Conflict prevention, including through promoting sustainable peace and strengthening ties between the UN and regional bodies, particularly the African Union and League of Arab States.
2. The peaceful and negotiated settlement of disputes, particularly in conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, notably the Palestine issue.
3. Promoting the role of women and youth and the fight against terrorism.
4. Promoting greater effectiveness, clear and realistic mandates, and resource mobilization for UN peacekeeping operations.
5. Collective and consensual responses to climate change and cyber-threats.
Niger has served in the Council once before (1980 – 1981). The deteriorating security situation in West Africa and the Sahel is likely to be high on Niger’s agenda. Conflicts in neighboring countries Mali and Libya, the developments in Burkina Faso and the situation in the Lake Chad basin will be of great concern. Niger is contributing with troops to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and is also part of the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5), established to combat terrorism and criminal groups in that vast region of Africa. Climate-change related issues will also be important, owing to Niger’s vulnerability to the phenomenon.
Viet Nam has served in the Council three times before ((1959-1960, 1980-1981, 2000-2001). During its campaign, the country stressed that it is a strong proponent of multilateralism, both globally and regionally, and that it will promote sustainable development, address climate change, build inclusive societies, and protect and promote human rights. Viet Nam also listed several prioritized areas, including:
1. Prevention, preventive diplomacy, and strengthened implementation of Chapter VI of the UN Charter relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes.
2. Improving the working methods of the Security Council.
3. Enhancing engagement with regional arrangements, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
4. Protection of civilians and critical civilian infrastructure in armed conflict.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has been elected to serve in the Council for the first time. In its campaign, the country emphasized the following:
1. The importance of advancing security-related issues around climate change, sustainable development, disarmament, and human rights.
2. Promoting the role of women and youth in conflict prevention and resolution.
3. The importance of multilateralism and strengthening the rule of law as well as the principles of non-intervention and non-interference.
This will be Estonia’s first term in the Council. In its campaign, Estonia said it would to bring a small-State perspective. Its key priorities are:
1. Greater accountability, coherence, and transparency of Security Council activities through increased inclusiveness and targeted action.
2. Responsibility, a key premise for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are vital to drive economic growth, eradicate poverty and preserve the environment all over the world.
3. Conflict prevention, through increased Security Council efforts, including working with member states, the UN system, and regional organizations to facilitate peaceful solutions.
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