Odds good for UN Security Council Seat
- Posted: 19th July 2012
19 July 2012
Despite being a late starter to the race, Australia stands a 50/50 chance of being elected as a non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council, former New Zealand Ambassador to the UN, Colin Keating, has told a UNSW audience.
“I believe that Australia stands a good chance of being elected and could make a tremendous impact on the Council,” said Keating, the founding Executive Director of Security Council Report in New York.
Australia was last elected to the Council in 1984 when the body was paralysed by the politics of the Cold War. Since then the Security Council has been publicly criticised for significant failures – the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, and in recent months, its inability to manage prolonged conflict in Syria.
The former Ambassador said it is critical for the Council to move with the times in order to deal with international security in a globalised world – something Australia could help it to do.
“The Council is still operating under an institutional framework that was agreed to in 1945. There is a reluctance to recognise the root causes of conflict and address them before it’s too late,” said Keating, who was the Security Council President during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
He urged the Council to engage in prevention and protection, saying Australia has an advantage in this area over its competitors Finland and Luxembourg for Security Council representation.
“Australia is a practical, common-sense country with a strong professional foreign service and a good analytical capacity – it can exercise strong leadership and really improve Council outcomes,” he said.
There has been criticism around the cost of Australia’s campaign for candidature, but Keating said the renewal and interest in foreign policy as a result was priceless.
“Standing for the UN Security Council will require Australia to rethink its relationships with other countries,” he said. “Ministers will be forced to understand the challenges facing other countries and to think outside their own interests.”
Colin Keating spoke at a public event hosted by the United Nations Association of Australia, the International Buddhist Organisation and UNSW’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070