Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates and Friends,
It is an honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. At the outset, I thank you all for your constructive engagement throughout this discussion thus far, and look forward to your continued support for the duration of our Presidency.
COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities throughout the world. Inequalities, both within and between countries, which remain largely unaddressed by the multilateral system have been further deepened and widened, as our global conditions of life, living and production are profoundly altered and rearranged by this pandemic. At the same time, we also bear witness to the continued rise of hate speech and disinformation, erosion of trust in public institutions and democratic norms, escalation of ethnic and intercommunal tensions, disruptions to humanitarian delivery, increase of sexual and gender based violence, and other human security concerns.
Apart from the implications of COVID-19, states are also distressed by the ever-intensifying hazards of Climate Change and a corresponding rise in zoonotic diseases like dengue fever, increased mass human displacement, the continued spread of cross-border terrorism, escalation of acute food insecurity, and other contemporary challenges which overlap and interlink with each other, and are propagated simultaneously across the social, economic, political and security systems of states.
These synchronous and systemic dislocations cannot be effectively solved in isolation of each other, nor can they be sufficiently addressed by military means only. Our delegation welcomes efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all Security Council mandated operations through forward-looking reforms such as the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative that brings political solutions to the forefront of our efforts to maintain international peace and security. We underscore that these efforts should always be premised on the needs, interests and priorities of affected countries and their populations rather than budgetary compulsions circumscribed by a narrow market calculus. Minimalist approaches that treat peacekeeping and peacebuilding as incremental activities to be completed in a linear fashion will not suffice. Instead, a holistic and coherent approach that mobilizes the entire multilateral system to address the root causes of insecurity is needed. In this regard, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines emphasizes that peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding must all be pursued concurrently as part of a peace and security, development, and humanitarian continuum. Adequate resources must therefore be made available to improve lives and livelihoods while bolstering national ownership over political and peace processes. The importance of social inclusion and national ownership cannot be overstated. These are the vital ingredients on which the collective identities and stable relationships required for lasting peace are built.
The moral purpose of our United Nations is to ensure freedom for all nations and peoples. Amidst the vast and continually expanding health, economic, social, humanitarian and security challenges experienced by people globally, we must move quickly in a new direction. We must take bold steps to alleviate human suffering, especially in conflict-affected areas. We cannot cross a chasm with baby steps, otherwise, we will fall into the widening gorge beneath us.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a firm believer in the whole-of-system approach and we encourage the enhanced cooperation between the UN Security Council and other main organs such as the Economic and Social Council as exemplified by the work of the ECOSOC Advisory Group on Haiti. We must work more closely with ECOSOC and the General Assembly to ensure sustained attention on Haiti.
We welcome the crucial role played by the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in convening a range of partners from the international community, including International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and regional and sub-regional organizations, to assist Member States in advancing their peacebuilding priorities.
The PBC’s continued efforts to host regular interactive dialogues with the African Union Peace and Security Council despite the logistical challenges of COVID-19 stands as testament to the value of the PBC. We laud the critical financial support offered by the Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund, but we do lament that this essential tool remains significantly underfunded. We therefore urge donor countries and the international private sector to provide greater financial support to this mechanism. We also encourage developed countries to honour their overseas development assistance (ODA) commitments; to provide scaled up assistance to conflict-affected areas through concessionary loans and quick impact projects; to set and meet ambitious targets for curbing emissions and to provide greater support for climate adaptation and mitigation to alleviate climate-driven security risks in fragile contexts. Lastly, we urge all states to withdraw their unilateral coercive measures and prejudicial constraints on weaker nations. These actions are illegal and inhumane, and they undermine global cooperation and national ownership – the most basic tenets of sustaining peace.
The urgent challenges of our times will not be solved overnight – we need safe hands, creative minds and we have to apply our hearts to wisdom. But through a renewed multilateralism that places people at its center; a multilateralism that considers the needs and perspectives of all member states equally; and respects the timeless principles of international law, a better future is possible. As we embark on this important decade of action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, let us work to ensure peace, security, and prosperity for all of humanity. Let us work together, in unity and solidarity, to lift humanity higher!
I Thank You.