For the next two years Guyana, an English-speaking enclave on the North Coast of South America, will serve on the United Nations Security Council.
The Security Council is the principal organ of the United Nations responsible for the governance of the world security order, including the maintenance of international peace and security. Notably, Guyana is the first CARICOM country to have served on the Security Council.
During its two-year tenure on the Council, Guyana says, in a press release, that it intends to contribute to shaping international policies on peace and security, in line with the theme “Partnering for Peace and Prosperity”.
In keeping with its government’s national priorities and our commitment to sustainable development, and without prejudice to other agenda items on the Council, Guyana says it will pursue five priority areas including climate change, food security, peacebuilding and conflict resolution/prevention, women and global security; and youth and children in peace and security.
Having recorded the highest number of votes with 191 UN Member States voting in favour of Guyana in June 2023, reflects the country’s strong diplomatic agenda and the trust bestowed by the international community for our ability to be a constructive and responsible global actor in international peace and security.
According to President Ali, Guyana’s election to the Council, represents an endorsement that could not be more resounding, and is “clear evidence of our success in achieving broad respect for our nation and influential role we can play in the world.”
The President has also stated that the government will live up to the expectations of the international community by “ensuring that Guyana plays the full part in fashioning an international system that is fair and just.” In so doing, Guyana will “seek alliances and embrace friends, but at all times we will remain independent and principled, standing up for values set out in the United Nations Charter and International law.”
Indeed, since joining the United Nations in 1966, shortly after gaining independence, Guyana has long been a responsible and constructive contributor to the purposes of the United Nations and its Charter. In view of this, Guyana’s engagement in the Council will be guided by the consistent and principled approach historically adopted in relation to people’s right to self-determination, adherence to international law, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Merely one month after assuming its seat as an elected member, Guyana will preside over the United Nations Security Council in February 2024. To mark its presidency, Guyana will convene a signature event that will be chaired by President Ali, in the form of a High- Level Open Debate under the theme “The Impact of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security.”
Given the growing concern and acknowledgement of the climate, food and conflict nexus, the Open Debate will promote greater understanding, better coordination of responses, and proactive approaches to addressing the intersection of food insecurity and climate change in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Of note, Guyana’s presence on the Security Council comes amidst the rise in the number of conflicts, increase in democratic backslide, and threat to peace in many regions of the world. The wars in Ukraine and Gaza for instance have upended peace, causing instability with far-reaching consequences for both the human beings who are the casualties, and the international system which is now experiencing severe strain.
Guyana says it will also seek to elevate the voices of developing countries particularly those in states like Haiti, Colombia and in the African region and to ensure the respect for all states’ territorial integrity and sovereignty consistent with international laws. Our practice of diplomacy under the guidance of President Ali will show that small states can be meaningful actors in global governance.
Sources: Guyana Information Service, UN.