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SVG thrilled to be given UNSC responsibility

SVG thrilled to be given UNSC responsibility
KUWAIT’S PERMANENT Representative to the UN Mansour al-Otaibi (left) presents a plaque to Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves

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ST VINCENT AND THE Grenadines (SVG) is making its first contribution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as part of the Informal Working Group on Documents and Other Procedural Questions.

“When countries are first elected to the Security Council … they are given a hazing of sorts and are assigned to committees that have names so long that you have to read them,” Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves joked at a function at the Prime Minister’s residence last Friday January 17.

The Finance Minister was speaking to international delegates who gathered here over the weekend for a UNSC retreat, co-hosted by SVG and Kuwait.

Minister Gonsalves further joked, “the Informal Working Group on Documents and Other Procedural Questions, that is shorthand for saying keep the new kids away from the nuclear weapons and let them deal with some paperwork until they get their legs under them.”

He however noted that despite the paperwork, as new entrants, SVG is thrilled to be given the responsibility and considers it “an awesome responsibility” to be working on documents and working methods of the UNSC.

“How transparent should the Council be? How much should they interact with the General Assembly? How many reports should they make? How many times should we have open debate to solicit the opinions of other members? How much should we integrate the non-permanent members and their diversity of opinion with those of the permanent members?” Gonsalves said.

He stressed further that for a small country like SVG, the access to transparency and accountability of the Security Council are of crucial importance not only to their role or the council’s role but to our interaction with the Council.

“It took us 40 years to get there and we are only going to be there for two years and thereafter we would like to have a better sense of what’s going on in the council.

“We would like to have a better sense of the interactions between the Council and the membership of the General Assembly. We would like to have a better sense that our views are being heard and respected even though we are no longer members and all of those things fit very nicely into this hazing corner in which the Council has placed us …,” Gonsalves said.

He noted that SVG intends to take very seriously its role in this group.

“We intend to be exemplars, and when you are a first, and when you are tiny, you have to work a little extra hard to make sure that you are respected and we are very much aware of that, very much up to the task.”

The event also heard from Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the UN Mansour al-Otaibi and was attended by this country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Inga Rhonda King.

The retreat ran from January 17 to 19. SVG is one of five new members elected to the UNSC. The other four are Estonia, Niger, Tunisia and Vietnam.

The Security Council Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions (IWG) was established in June 1993 to improve the process by which the Security Council addresses issues concerning its documentation and other procedural questions.

The Working Group meets as agreed by members of the Security Council and makes recommendations, proposals and suggestions concerning the Council’s documentation and other procedural questions.

The 15-member Security Council has five permanent members, China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US). Ten non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.

The Council is charged with maintaining international peace and security.

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