St. Vincent and the Grenadines still plans to bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council for the 2020-2021 period, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said this week.
Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party government first signalled its intention in 2010 but then decided not to pursue a possible candidacy at that time because of a lack of unanimous support within CARICOM.
Back then, the government said an SVG bid against Colombia “could only succeed if it enjoyed the unanimous endorsement” of all CARICOM nations, two of which had committed to supporting the Latin American nation.
Speaking to Vincentian diplomats this week, Gonsalves said that his government still intends to pursue the Security Council seat for the 2020-2010 period.
“I am hopeful that we will get the endorsement of GRULAC — that all the countries of Latin America, including the large countries, will understand what we did with Colombia and allow St. Vincent and the Grenadines to go forward so that we will not have any challenge out of GRULAC. We have received commitments from a large number of countries across the world, including in GRULAC,” Gonsalves said.
If it enters a bid, SVG will become the smallest country ever to attempt to sit on the UN Security Council.
“It doesn’t mean that because we are a small country we will be defeated, you know. Portugal, a population of 10 million people, very small in relation to Canada, but Portugal defeated Canada to a seat when they had Western Europe and the others…” Gonsalves said.
“And I am hoping that what we have signalled — long signalled that GRULAC, the group of countries of Latin America and the Caribbean would respect this because we gave way to Colombia years earlier.”
He said that any country from Latin America that decides to challenge SVG for the Security Council seat is likely to have far more resources than SVG.
“But, I am hopeful that they would give respect to a small island developing state from the Caribbean in the light of the sustainable development goals and the centrality of small island developing states in this era.”
Gonsalves noted that there are more than 50 small island developing states (SIDS) that are members of the United Nation.
“… and we are at the frontline of the matter dealing with climate change. It is important that we have somebody at the table always to be reminding the Security Council that they keep to the pledges, because this is also a matter of war and peace, living and death. It is an existential question.”
He noted that in 2015 in Paris, the world agreed that it will seek to ensure that by 2030, global temperature rise is limited to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
SIDS have said that temperature increase should be constrained 1.5 degrees and have been using the mantra “1.5 to stay alive” because they believe that with anything higher, several low-lying areas in SIDS will be under water and some countries will disappear altogether.
In 2010, leader of the opposition Arnhim Eustace said his New Democratic Party is not opposed, in principle, to SVG holding a Security Council seat.
However, although he did not give any evidence to support his claim, he suggested that the country was being used as a satellite of Venezuela to undermine Colombia’s bid.