Belgium takes over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council
On February 1, 2020, Belgium will take over the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for one month. Our country has been a member of the Security Council since January 1, 2019 for a period of two years. During its presidency, Belgium will put several topics on the Council's agenda, such as the issue of children in armed conflict, Transitional Justice and the importance of European cooperation within the Council.
The presidency of the UN Security Council is first and foremost a responsibility: our country must ensure the proper functioning of the Council and respond adequately to any urgent development in world affairs that requires the Council's mobilization. Such a presidency is also an opportunity to draw international attention to certain issues that are important for Belgian diplomacy.
A tradition in multilateralism
As a founding member of the United Nations, Belgium has placed multilateralism at the heart of its foreign policy. Our European commitment is part of the same approach aimed at giving precedence to international law and cooperation over the law of the strongest. Belgium also believes that regional cooperation - like the EU - is an important vehicle for defending common and shared positions. Conflict prevention and respect for human rights are the driving forces behind our country's commitment to the Security Council.
The United Nations Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. At a time when nationalism and unilateralism are re-emerging everywhere, this responsibility deserves to be recalled and supported. In that regard, Belgium supports the "Action for Peacekeeping" initiative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and supports United Nations peace missions. On the ground, some 80 Belgian Blue Helmets are participating in these operations, mainly in Mali.
Our specific accents on the international agenda
Belgium has decided to put three specific topics on the agenda of the Security Council:
- Children in armed conflict. Today, more than 420 million children (1 in 5 worldwide) suffer the consequences of conflict situations. On February 12, King Philippe will address the Security Council on the theme "Protecting children through peace processes". This session will provide an opportunity to discuss the guidelines on the protection of children in peace processes developed by the United Nations and to mobilize the members of the Security Council around this theme.
- Transitional Justice. In the aftermath of conflict, countries often still face enormous challenges such as violence or major violations of human rights or international humanitarian law. Communities that were previously opposed must learn to live together again and to build a society based on reconciliation. Increasingly, countries emerging from crisis understand the importance of taking these traumas into account in order to lead to peaceful societies and lasting peace. Transitional Justice plays a key role in this area. On February 13, Foreign Minister Philippe Goffin will preside over an open debate in the Security Council on "Transitional Justice", in the presence of several experts and key witnesses.
- European cooperation within the UN Security Council: Belgium has invited Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to address the Security Council on the role and actions of the European Union in world affairs and on cooperation between the EU and the UN. His speech - the first in his capacity as High Representative - is scheduled for February 25.
The success of Belgium's presidency and mandate in the UN Security Council is the result of long work in New York, Brussels and throughout the Belgian diplomatic network. All of our diplomatic network is mobilized to make this mandate a success, whether it be the services of our headquarters in Brussels or our diplomatic missions. These constitute an essential relay for the positions defended by our country, through their privileged access and analysis on the ground.
Regarding the UN Security Council
Fifteen members have a seat on the Security Council, five of them on a permanent basis: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. The 10 elected members have one seat for a period of two years. They include our country, as well as Estonia, Germany, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Germany and South Africa. In the past, Belgium has been a member of the Security Council in 1947-1948, 1955-1956, 1971-1972, 1991-1992 and 2007-2008.
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