For the second time in its history, the UAE has taken its seat as a member of the United Nations’ powerful body, the Security Council, with clear foreign policy objectives that will underscore the increasingly active leading diplomatic role the nation has been playing regionally and internationally.
The 15-member council is the ultimate decision-maker in the UN structure. It has five permanent members with veto power: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other 10 non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms to represent the different regions.
On Tuesday, five new members joined the Security Council: The UAE, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, and Ghana, following their election in June. Being on the Security Council gives countries a strong voice in important international issues and the right to convene the council meetings on certain issues they have interest in. The UAE will serve on the council until the end of 2023. The country has served on the council once before, from 1986-1987.
UAE's active foreign policy
The current membership in this prestigious body allows the country to use its already active foreign policy to address and push forwards a policy agenda that is close to its heart.
Antonio Guterres, UN Sectary General, addressed the council members in his customary new year message, to remind them about the urgency of what he described as the most pressing issues facing today’s world, Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. “These are not just policy tests. These are moral and real-life tests,” the Secretary General stressed.
In both issues, the UAE scores high. In October 2021, the nation became the first in our region to set a target for net-zero greenhouse emissions, by 2050. In November, the UAE was chosen to host the climate summit, COP28, which is set for November 2023, the first country to host this critical conference in this part of the world.
As for the pandemic, the UAE tops the world in the vaccination rate per capita. Scoring high in the index of the best countries in managing the coronavirus crisis, the UAE has been active since the beginning of the pandemic in sending medical aid, including millions of vaccine doses, to needy countries.
Another issue that UAE will be interested in pushing forward is the Middle East peace. Norway, the current president of the Security Council, has pledged to bring back the Palestinian-Israeli conflict back into focus of the council. The UAE, which signed the Abrahamic Accords last year, enjoys good relations with both sides of the issue. That gives the UAE an advantage in trying to urge the Palestinians and the Israelis to return to the negotiating table.
The UAE will not just be representing the Arab world during its term on the council. Its diplomacy has been active globally in the pursuit of a multilateral, collaborative and peaceful world order. Having the UAE on this power arm of the UN is a gain for the entire world.