Tuesday, 22 May 2018

SVG Joins Proposals to Ensure Security Council Presence for Small Island Developing States

March 24, 2009, UNITED NATIONS (NEW YORK): – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines today gave a broad outline of a vision for a more represenentative Security Council, and make a specific and detailed case for the presence of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the Council.

Speaking at the ongoing first round of negotiations on Security Council Reform, Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves took advantage of the day's topic -- regional representation -- to advance the cause of SIDS on the Council.

"SIDS form a well-defined, cohesive group of States with a number of unifying characteristics, challenges and vulnerabilities," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "The UN's 37 SIDS... represent almost one fifth of the membership of this body. We are a far flung collective, who are linked by neither ideology nor civilization, but nonetheless have more in common with each other than with some of the larger developed States within our own respective geographic blocs. Issues unique to SIDS are increasingly prevalent and demanding of attention and consideration at all levels of the UN system."

"However, in the entire history of the Security Council, SIDS have only served 13 terms as non-permanent members, and 29 of 37 SIDS - or 78% - have never had the opportunity to contribute as Council Members," stated the Ambassador. "Indeed, of the 74 States that have never been part of the Security Council, 39% are SIDS. The last SIDS served on the Council 7 years ago. Over 60% of the times that the Council has met, it has done so without the perspective, experience and principle of a single Small Island Developing State - an absence totaling 41 years of Council meetings."

Building apon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' 5th March contribution to the negotiations, Ambassador Gonsalves again suggested an amendment of the UN Charter to allow for groups beyond the traditional five regional groupings (Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Ladint America & Caribbean).

Additionally, the Vincentian Ambassador also proposed consideration beyond military might and financial strength as Council selection criteria.

"The Charter's exclusive focus on 'contribution . . . to the maintenance of international peace and security' suggests a purely quantitative assessment that favours large, rich, states with military power," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "It also reflects an outmoded approach to the peacebuilding and peacekeeping. This, in turn, engenders a lack of diverse perspectives in the Council. The Caribbean region, for example, is relatively small, poor, and has a negligible military presence. Yet we have maintained intra-regional peace, our diverse ethnic backgrounds coexist peacefully, and we increasingly cooperate in areas of security and stability. We are a region of diverse languages, political cultures and philosophies, yet we maintain close fraternal bonds."

"The Security Council may rightly wonder how we manage to do this, but our unique and successful peacebuilding perspectives are lost if the sole focus is on 'contributions' in the financial/military sense. Our qualitative contributions must be taken into account in the Charter. The inherent anti-regional biases in the existing criteria run counter to our current effort to democratise and add equitable balance, especially vis-à-vis small and developing States."

Ambassador Gonsalves' most recent statement marks the 11th Vincentian intervention on the issue since April 2008. Ambassador Gonsalves also discussed the issue extensively in a November 19, 2008 Statement on the Report of the Security Council (.pdf | " target="_blank">YouTube Video).

10 April, 2008 (OEWG) 17 June, 2008 (OEWG)
2 September, 2008 (OEWG) 10 September 2008 (OEWG)
12 September, 20088 (OEWG) 17 November 2008 (OEWG)
29 January, 2009 (brief remarks) 19 February, 2009 (Informal GA Plenary)
5 March, 2009 (Informal GA Plenary) 16 March, 2009 (Informal GA Plenary)
24 March, 2009 (Informal GA Plenary)