Vietnam for the second time assumed the role of rotating President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2020-2021 tenure this month, thus making a new and important imprint in the process of transforming from a participant to an active and proactive UN member.
Vietnam grows up in UN
Thirty years after Vietnam joined the UN on September 20, 1977, the country was elected for the first time as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2008-2009 tenure in the first secret ballot round in October 2017, with 183 votes of approval out of 192 General Assembly members participating in the ballot.
During its first tenure at the UNSC - the UN’s most important body in maintaining international peace and security - Vietnam and other UNSC member states handled a large workload with more than 1,500 meetings, passed 113 Resolutions and 165 Presidential Statements and Press Statements on 50 agenda items, and dealt with complex issues regarding Kosovo, Iran’s nuclear programme, and Middle East peace, as well as those relating to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Myanmar.
Vietnam made active and comprehensive contributions, from delivering speeches, participating in the making of resolutions and documents, assuming the posts of Chair or Vice Chair of several subcommittees, holding the post of UNSC President in July and October 2009, chairing negotiations for the council to approve Resolution No 1889 on women, peace, and security, and providing ideas to build the council’s Annual Report in a more practical and comprehensive manner.
“Vietnam was on the UNSC 10 years ago in the 2008-2009 tenure,” said Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator. “It played an important role, contributing to a resolution on women, peace, and security which I think was a landmark resolution in the UNSC. Vietnam has also been increasing its role in global peacekeeping.”
On June 7, 2019, Vietnam was once again elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2020-2021 tenure, with 192 votes in favour out of 193 UN member nations.
The country’s election as a UNSC non-permanent member twice in just a short period was an important milestone in it transforming from a participant to an active and proactive member.
“This was the second time over the last more than 10 years that Vietnam has been voted as a member of the UN body with a leading role in maintaining global peace and security, proving the international community’s recognition of its improving position as well as trust in its responsible contributions to regional and international peace and security in the coming years,” said then Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Promoting multilateralism, respecting international law
Joining the UNSC for the second time amid complex developments in the world, Vietnam has effectively implemented activities relating to the UNSC, completed the heavy workload in the first year of the tenure, and created its own imprint at the UNSC.
The country has actively proposed initiatives and played a leading role in several important issues.
While holding the UNSC Presidency in January 2020, Vietnam successfully chaired an open debate on upholding the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security, and the first-ever meeting on cooperation between the UN and ASEAN, which combined the country’s dual role as UNSC non-permanent member and ASEAN Chair in 2020, thus helping enhance ASEAN solidarity and role and strengthening connectivity between the regional bloc and the UN and the UNSC.
In that month, the council held about 30 meetings and adopted 13 decisions, including four resolutions and one decision on extending UN missions, forces and mechanisms, one Chairman Statement, five press statements, and two press releases.
Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, told the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s correspondents at the UN that Vietnam had done a good job despite formidable challenges when it took up the presidency of the UNSC at the beginning of its tenure as a non-permanent member of the council.
Vietnam really left an imprint with the open debate on the 75th anniversary of the UN Charter, particularly in the context of mounting tensions in the UN as well as in the world, he added.
As a coordinator of the ten current non-permanent members (E10), in May 2020 Vietnam actively resumed the annual meeting mechanism, disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, between the E10 and the UN Secretary General via videoconference.
It chaired a dialogue between the E10 and the five newly-elected non-permanent members (I5) with the theme “Joining Efforts for an Effective UNSC: Best Practices and Experiences for Elected Members” and an International Conference on Women, Peace and Security.
“Vietnam fulfilled well its duties as a non-permanent UNSC member in the first year of its membership, achieved set targets, and proactively and actively contributed to UNSC operations,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung.
The success gained in the first half of the 2020-2021 tenure is a firm foundation for Vietnam to create more imprints in the second half and complete a successful tenure, practically contributing to maintaining regional and international peace and security, as well as peaceful and stable environment for national development.