St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday become the smallest country to be elected to the United Nations Security Council.
Kingstown received 185 of the possible 191 votes after a 10-year campaign. Two nations abstained from the vote.
SVG was the Group for Latin America and Caribbean (GRULAC)-endorsed candidate for the Security Council for the term 2020-2021.
The multi-island nation of 110,000 people had said its bid was “grounded in our respect for sovereignty, diversity of views, dialogue and peace and development”.
The Office of the Prime Minister said:
“We are committed to the bedrock foundations of the UN Charter, namely: sovereign equality, non-interference and non-intervention in domestic affairs, and collective cooperation in solving global problems.
We believe that solidarity, consensus-building, integration and multilateral cooperation are key to solving the world’s problems,” the Ralph Gonsalves government said in a statement ahead of the vote.
The council is composed of 15 members. There are five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
SVG said its“international agenda for corrective action” includes:
1) Tackling terrorism (whether state-sponsored or not)
2) Stemming the spread of weapons of mass destruction
3) Dealing seriously with human trafficking
4) Taking a stand against illegal drugs and small arms
5) Treating appropriately with refugees
6) Doing all it takes to stop violence against women and children
7) Tackling scarcity of food and water and other humanitarian concerns
8) Continuing our war against diseases
9) Addressing Climate Change comprehensively
10) Righting historical wrongs through our decolonization efforts and our quest for reparatory justice for native genocide and African slavery
11) Working towards improving the working methods of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make it a more legitimate, representative and effective body.
SVG first announced its candidacy a decade ago, when it initially withdrew its bid after some member of the 15-member regional bloc, CARICOM, indicated that they had pledged their support to another candidate.
The statement said small size is no impediment to impactful contributions on the world stage.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines has played a leadership role in the UN’s post-Financial Crisis response; in revitalization of the General Assembly; in Security Council Reform; in advancing the Law of the Sea; in Small Arms control; in ambitious measures to combat Climate Change; in the global response to Non-Communicable Diseases; and in pushing the agenda for reparations for native genocide and African slavery, Kingstown said.
Most recently SVG chaired the Administrative and Budgetary Committee of the United Nations, and currently serves as the president of the Economic and Social Council.
The bid also spoke about the “unique perspective of a small island developing state”.
“The perspectives of small states — inclusive of Small Island Developing States — have been historically the least heard in the Security Council. As the threats to international peace and security have evolved in diverse ways, so too, has the need for a diversity of viewpoints on the Security Council increased.
“Small Island States have largely solved — and solved spectacularly — the challenge of forging peaceful, harmonious societies amidst many of the social, ethnic, political, historical and cultural fissures that traditionally lie at the root of many breaches of international peace and security.
“We have confronted these challenges not with a surfeit of weapons or dollars, but with mutual respect, dialogue, and an understanding that unique situations require not static ideological solutions, but flexibility and innovation geared towards the specificities of the issue at hand. We hope to bring this principled pragmatism to bear in the Security Council,” the statement said.