Australia’s chance to make lasting impression

United Nations

Australia has an opportunity to make “an indelible mark” during its two-year term on the United Nations Security Council.

That’s the view of Griffith University’s Professor Alex Bellamy who says Australia is already on the Security Council radar and can now follow through in key policy areas where it has engaged in recent years.
Australia secured 140 votes from 193 United Nations members in a New York ballot on Friday to win a seat on the UN Security Council for the first time in 27 years.

Professor Bellamy,director of Griffith’s Human Protection Hub, highlighted five priority areas where Australia “can make a lasting impression” during its temporary tenure.

These key areas of engagement include Australia’s strong support for the Responsibility to Protect; the promotion and development of the protection of civilians; the empowerment of women and protection of women’s rights; the strengthening of global arms control; and the strengthening of UN peacekeeping.

“Member states that voted for Australia have done so with the expectation that it will be a responsible and innovative member of the Security Council that will work hard to deliver,” Professor Bellamy said.

A Professor of International Security, his areas of expertise include the United Nations, international peace and security, civil war and mass atrocities, and the responsibility to protect.

He described the $25 million invested in the Australian bid for the Council seat since 2007 as money well spent.

“Major issues on the Council’s agenda include the continuing situation in Syria that will be familiar to most Australians.

“The Council is also responsible for mandating and overseeing sixteen UN peacekeeping operations, with around 120,000 uniformed personnel deployed around the world. Australia could use its tenure to encourage the Council to think creatively about persuading members of the Western European and Others group to contribute more military, policing and civilian personnel to UN missions.

“Advancing progress on the arms control treaty was one of the key goals emphasised by Australia as part of its bid. Clearly, Australian advocacy on this issue played a major role in securing votes in conflict affected regions of the world.

“On the Responsibility to Protect, Australia is now in a position to think innovatively about how it might use its position to advance and deepen with Responsibility to Protect. One possibility is to seek inclusion of Responsibility to Protect language in resolutions where possible.”