This Month in the Security Council – May 2020
(H.E. I Rhonda King delivering a statement at an event commemorating 75 Years from the End of the Second World War on European Soil)
For the month of May, 2020, the work of the Security Council continued to be conducted remotely via the United Nations’ Video-Teleconferencing (VTC) system as a result of the lockdown policies implemented in response to COVID-19.
1. COVID-19: The pandemic continued to feature in all discussions of issues on the Council’s agenda. The impacts of lockdown measures on peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and various thematics including the Children and Armed Conflict, Women, Peace and Security, Youth, Peace and Security agendas remained the key focus of the Council’s work. At each occasion, our delegation highlighted the importance of multilateral cooperation, and for all states to adhere to the principles of international law in our efforts to address the pandemic.
2. WWII: A meeting was held to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Second World War in Europe – Lessons Learned for Preventing Future Atrocities, and the Responsibility of the Security Council. Our delegation highlighted that the UN system that emerged following the war has been the most credible attempt at securing a peaceful and prosperous future for all countries and peoples. We also emphasized that further improvements to the multilateral system are needed as we cannot expect to use outmoded tools to address contemporary realities, and we must not depend solely on those with war-making expertise to provide security and justice for the rest of us.
3. Iraq: Our delegation welcomed the political progress made in Iraq and commended the progress made towards the formation of the new government. We acknowledged the coordination between the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the World Health Organization in supporting the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and encouraged the government to keep human dignity at the centre of their efforts as they strive to protect the most vulnerable. Regarding Iraq’s path to reconciliation and reconstruction, we stressed the need for social inclusivity and encouraged the international community to aid with capacity-building and reconstruction in the country.
4.Open Debate on Working Methods: As Chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions, our delegation co-hosted this debate together with the Permanent Mission of Estonia. Our delegation highlighted that despite the acute and unique challenges presented by COVID-19 and the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances within which we now operate, we must not allow the Security Council to be rendered paralysed. We emphasized that on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we must contemplate how best we can improve existing practices and procedures while identifying and exploring new areas for development, and maintaining our shared desire for a Council that functions transparently, efficiently and effectively.
5. Libya: SVG called on all warring parties to de-escalate tension, commit to a ceasefire and engage in an inter-Libyan dialogue to resolve the conflict peacefully. We emphasized that a ceasefire is pivotal to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to help combat COVID-19, as well as to restore stability by providing the space for dialogue and negotiation. We reaffirmed our support to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and the efforts being undertaken by the African Union, the Arab League and all other actors that seeks to bring a peaceful political solution to the conflict.
6. Venezuela: A meeting was held to discuss the recent attempted armed incursion into the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which our delegation described as only the latest in a long series of unwarranted aggressions meted out against this sovereign nation over the past two decades. We highlighted that the situation in Venezuela does not threaten the national security, territorial integrity, or political independence of any external state party, and all acts of aggression, including unilateral economic coercion, carried out under these guises are unjustifiable and illegal. We also emphasized that the only sustainable solution to the political crisis is an inclusive national dialogue that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Venezuelan people – free from any geopolitical machinations designed to interfere with the outcomes of this internal political process.
Our delegation continued to work closely in the “A3+1” configuration with our African brothers and sisters on the Council, including by collaborating on issues regarding Somalia and a thematic discussion on Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-Regional Organizations. During May, Council members negotiated mandate renewals for the sanctions imposed on South Sudan and the peacekeeping missions in Somalia, Iraq, Darfur, and the Abyei region between Sudan and South Sudan. By the time of publication, our delegation would have also taken part in a high-level meeting on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict where our Foreign Minister, H.E. Sir Louis Straker would deliver a statement on behalf of SVG. The Council also continues to negotiate a resolution to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please visit svg-un.org for the full text of all statements and other updates.