Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, mentioned in his remarks at General Assembly Ceremony marking the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations on 21st September 2020 that “Climate calamity looms, Biodiversity is collapsing, Poverty is again rising, Hatred is spreading, Geopolitical tensions are escalating, Nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, Transformative technologies have opened up new opportunities but also exposed new threats, The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities”.
Human being has been facing the most formidable challenges since the end of World War II and the foundation of the United Nations, in particular, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, society, politics and, most of all, human life. The pandemic has recorded nearly 300 million cases worldwide and caused nearly 5.45 million lives.
Early estimates predicated that, should the virus become a global pandemic, most major economies will lose at least 2.9 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) over 2020. This forecast was already restated to a GDP loss of 3.4 percent. To put this number in perspective, global GDP was estimated at around 84.54 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 – meaning that a 4.5 percent drop in economic growth results in almost 2.96 trillion U.S. dollars of lost economic output.
From seven priorities …
Viet Nam continues to implement its longstanding foreign policy doctrine of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development and of being a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, actively taking part in international and regional cooperation processes.
Through more than four decades that Viet Nam has been part of the United Nations family, the country has always been committed to the noble goal of the Organization in building a better place for our next generations, a world of peace, security and development.
Considering that being able to serve on the Security Council is a serious undertaking, Viet Nam set its seven priorities in order to make the most of the two-year term on the Council to contribute to improving the effectiveness of the Council, to foster dialogue to help seeking peaceful solutions to conflicts and to bring voices of the small and the weak to the work of the UNSC, namely: (i) conflict prevention, preventive diplomacy, peaceful settlement of disputes and strengthen implementation of Chapter VI of the UN Charter; (ii) improving the method of work of the Security Council, enhancing engagement with regional arrangements in the maintenance of international peace and security, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter; (iii) protection of civilians and critical infrastructures in armed conflict; (iv) women, peace and security, children and armed conflict; (v) addressing the aftermaths of armed conflicts, including threads to civilian populations posed by landmines and explosive remnants of wars; (vi) UN Peacekeeping Operations; and (vii) impacts of climate change on global peace and security.
… to a partnership for sustainable peace and development
From January 1st, 2020, just few months before these extraordinary circumstances, Viet Nam officially assumed the role of a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2020-2021 tenure after being the unanimous choice of the UN's Asia group for non-permanent membership at the UNSC, and Viet Nam was elected by a commanding majority of votes in the UN General Assembly (192/193 votes).
By alphabetical order, Viet Nam coincidently took over the role as President of the UNSC for the month of January, the first month of the new decade of the 21st century of the 75th year of the UN Charter. And the Southeast Asian country picked the priority theme as “Upholding the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security” amid time when global fault-lines risk exploding with turbulence on the rise and trust within and among nations is on the decline. The initiative was at the right time for all Member States of the UN to review the decades, reaffirm their commitment and outline ways to make the Charter more effective in upholding global peace and security.
As a truth partner for sustainable peace, Viet Nam is strongly committed to upholding the UN Charter and spares no efforts to contribute to endeavors of the UN and the international community to ensure effective adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in promoting dialogue, cooperation and mutual respect, for the ultimate aim of global peace, security, prosperity and sustainable development.
Global issue requires global solutions
The year 2020 saw Viet Nam celebrating a multitude of major events including for the first time the country be entrusted with a dual responsibility: ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 and UNSC non-permanent membership for 2020-2021. This was a great opportunity for Viet Nam to improve the effectiveness of collaboration and the Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the UN for the common interest of both ASEAN member states and the international community as the country chair the first meeting of the UNSC on “the role of ASEAN to the cooperation between the UN and regional organizations” with presence of Secretaries General of the UN and ASEAN.
The role of regional organizations in promoting trust building and dialogue in conflict prevention” is the most important and inclusive theme of the UNSC which is the UN’s main body in the prevention of wars and conflicts and maintenance of international peace and security. In April 2021, as a key initiative during Presidency of the Council, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired a High-level Open Debate of the UNSC on "Cooperation between the UN and regional organizations in enhancing confidence-building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution" in which he underscored proposals for the cooperation including an early warning mechanism for volatilities.
By convening this debate, Viet Nam wanted regional organizations to further promote their roles, improve their images and share responsibility with the UN in preventing and solving regional conflicts, for the stability and prosperity of the region and the world. As a member of ASEAN, Viet Nam hoped ASEAN would have an increasing voice, position and role in matters directly related to the region.
One of the most complex and challenging issues is maritime security, which Viet Nam considers as a global issue and therefore requires global solutions. In line with the High-level Open Debate on "Cooperation between the UN and regional organizations”, Viet Nam proposed a cooperation between regional organization and the UN by developing a network of arrangements and initiatives for regional maritime security with the UN working as the coordinator, to bolster information and experience sharing, coordinate actions, and address common challenges in a timely manner.
Faithful to the tagline “Partnership for sustainable peace”, Viet Nam views that sustaining peace is hard, and even harder when one works alone. Viet Nam gave priority to this regard by convening a ministerial debate on Mine action and sustaining peace with aim to draw a stronger partnership for better delivery chaired by Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son. The UNSC approved the first presidential statement proposed by Viet Nam on overcoming the consequences of bombs and mines.
On April 27th, following the Open Debate on the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, the UNSC adopted Resolution No. S/RES/2573 (2021), the first resolution spearheaded by Viet Nam as the current non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2020-2021 tenure, urged all parties to armed conflict to protect civilian infrastructure which is critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid including for the provision of essential services concerning vaccinations and related medical care and other essential services to the civilian population in armed conflict and to ensuring the proper functioning of food systems and markets in situations of armed conflict.
During the two-year term served as UNSC non-permanent member, Viet Nam has contributed to ensuring the rule of law in issues relating to global peace and security, promoting the protection of civilians particularly women and children, and responding to non-traditional challenges including climate change and sea level rise. The country has also promoted cooperation among regional and sub-regional organizations as well as with the UN in safeguarding global peace and stability./.
By Nguyen Minh