The UN provides the foundation for an orderly, rules-based international system. Such a system is important for a small and globally-trading country such as Ireland. Small states depend on this system, which helps to regulate interactions between nations. In an increasingly interconnected world, it is in our national interest to support the UN and to strengthen its role. Ireland is, therefore, seeking election to a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020 for the 2021-2022 term. We have a responsibility to participate to the fullest extent possible in the work of the UN.
The Security Council is the UN body with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is difficult to predict what matters may be on the agenda of the Security Council in 2021 should Ireland’s candidature be successful. What is beyond doubt is that the Council's agenda has grown in volume and complexity as the issues fuelling conflict have become more diverse and numerous.
Periodic membership of the Security Council is an important part of Ireland’s foreign policy. It provides us with the opportunity to positively influence Security Council decisions in areas of international and national importance, giving firm practical expression to our principles.
No state by itself can resolve the many international peace and security challenges the world faces. Security Council membership will allow Ireland to make a contribution to the global efforts to tackle these challenges, fulfilling our shared responsibility and ensuring that we have an opportunity to advocate for the core values of our foreign policy at the Council, which are peace and security, justice, equality and sustainability.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The Security Council is the body which mandates peacekeeping missions and sets the policies that UN troops must follow in the field. Over 1,000 Irishmen and Irishwomen serve each year under UN-mandated peace support operations, representing our people and our values. Membership of the Security Council would be a valuable opportunity for Ireland to influence decisions that will affect the conditions and circumstances under which our troops are deployed.
Security Council membership would also give us an avenue to influence initiatives on conflict prevention, a priority area for Ireland, where we have called for increased investment and a stronger role for women in the maintenance of international peace and security. Other policy areas that are having an increased impact on international peace and security include migration, climate change, sustainable development and food security. In addition, the link between youth, peace and security is increasingly recognised as an area of importance and one that the Security Council will need to address in a comprehensive way.
Ireland’s previous terms on the Security Council have provided an opportunity to give firm practical expression to the principles underlying Irish foreign policy, which are widely held across the Oireachtas. A strong and vigorous campaign will be needed to secure election in 2020. Should we succeed, our election will allow us to again play our part, to bring our values of peace, justice and human rights to bear in directing the work of the UN.