After a tough three year campaign, Ireland has secured a seat on the UN Security Council for a two-year term from 2021-2022. Ireland competed against Canada and Norway to obtain one the of two seats available on the council. The votes were cast in the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, with Norway topping the vote with 130 votes and Ireland receiving 128 votes, the exact amount needed for a two thirds majority and to secure a seat. Alongside Norway and Ireland, Mexico and India secured the remaining vacant seats after running unopposed for the seats allocated to their geographic regions. The General Assembly also elected its president for the 2020-21 session – Turkish diplomat Volkan Bozkir. He was the only candidate in the contest for president.
Ireland officially launched its campaign for the seat 3 years ago and has spent €840,00 on the campaign. Norway and Canada are speculated to have spent double that amount on their campaign. A further €2 million has been budgeted by the Government for the two years Ireland is on the council from the start of 2021. Ireland have previously won rotating terms on the UN Security Council in 1962, 1981 and 2001.
A seat on the Security Council is hugely coveted in international diplomacy. Council members have a prominent voice on issues of peace and security, and it is the only body of the U.N. sanctioned to approve the use of military force and has the power to refer crimes against humanity such as genocide to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. The security council has five permanent members – Russia, China, France, the UK and the USA. Unlike non-permanent members, the permanent members have veto power to defeat resolutions they deem objectionable. As one of only three European Union members on the council, securing the seat will also help Ireland’s standing on a European level. In recent history, the council has been immobilized by deep divisions with Russia and China often in opposition to their Western counterparts, the UK, France and the United States. The council will face critical decisions over the coming years in the face of these deep-rooted political divides between the large powers, climate change, growing humanitarian crises and the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic will have across the globe.