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UN debate hears calls for greater voice for poorer and smaller nations

UN debate hears calls for greater voice for poorer and smaller nations

Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington of Belize
Poorer and smaller countries should have a greater role in the affairs of the United Nations to make the Organization even more representative of the world and its peoples, the General Assembly’s high-level debate heard today.

“We need a United Nations that reflects a more equitable North-South representation and that can effectively deliver,” Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elkington told the debate’s final day, saying key UN organs should be reformed to reflect this.

“The process of decision-making must ensure coherence and be inclusive. And, above all, equity and justice must inform our mechanisms for delivery. The reform we seek goes much deeper than the changing of the guards. It is a reform that would rebuild trust amongst each other and confidence in the system.”

Mr. Elkington said too often the relationship between North and South is a “donor-driven dialectic” rather than one of true partnership, with poorer countries lacking sufficient input in key decisions.

Bhutan’s Foreign Secretary’s Dasho Daw Penjo noted in his address that the vast majority of the UN’s 192 Member States are small countries and that the UN Charter stresses that all States must be given equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to the work of the UN.

“How can we members of the UN credibly espouse equity among nations and peoples if we fail to practice it among ourselves?” he asked. “After 39 years of membership, Bhutan continues to believe that the UN still has room and role for smaller States, as equal partners in global affairs, including the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Speaking yesterday, the Chairman of the Delegation from Cape Verde said the international community had a responsibility to support smaller and more vulnerable countries by helping them to minimize risks, particularly regarding climate change.

“Let us not offer up the weakest as sacrificial lambs, for tomorrow we might be in their situation,” said Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima.