Kim P. Butler
The last several years have seen multiple crises engulf global affairs, and we are in the midst of one of the most daunting ones yet: the Covid-19 pandemic. What is at stake around the world are not just lives and livelihoods, but also our international world order.
Indeed, this crisis is both a test to our modern multilateral architecture and the most significant opportunity to demonstrate that only through organised global collaboration can we defeat this common threat.
Against this backdrop, the United Nations will hold elections in New York, United States, in June to fill the rotational seats on the UN Security Council for 2021–2022. Canada, Ireland and Norway are vying for a seat.
Canada is the only candidate to have put economic security as the central pillar of its Security Council platform. For four years, Canada has pushed for more inclusive growth through the Group of Friends on innovative financing it co-founded with Jamaica. All this time, Canada has been striving to bridge the gap between private sector investors and finance ministries around the world by leveraging the economic potential of developing nations. Now, in the face of this pandemic, Canada is redoubling efforts to address debt relief, supply chains and food security.
Voting for Canada for a seat on the Security Council is endorsing this innovative, holistic and effective approach to security.
The UN, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, cannot rely on past accomplishments. It must continue to adapt and innovate. Canada is a young multicultural nation, very much the mirror of the world. It has the humility to listen and to represent a broad range of views at the Security Council table.
Canada has a long history of friendship with Namibia, beginning with Canada’s strong support of Namibia’s independence through the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), to which Canada contributed military peacekeepers, police monitors, election supervisors and technical experts. In the year 2000, Canada and Namibia, both non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, worked closely together to champion the adoption of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which continues to be a priority for our two countries today to ensure the substantive inclusion of women in peacekeeping and peace processes. The Canada-Namibia relationship has continued to strengthen, and today is also focussed on the pressing issues of the time: inclusive economic growth, action against climate change and desertification, and gender equality.
Canada has also been a reliable partner in supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area through technical expertise including to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, as well as support to climate resilience and renewable energy programs. Canada is also proud of the important work being done by Canadian companies investing in Namibia, creating jobs and supporting local communities with strong corporate social responsibility practices, in particular now in this time of need with the global Covid-19 pandemic.
More broadly in response to the pandemic, Canada has announced a contribution of approximately US$600 million in support of global efforts to combat Covid-19 and over US$440 million for vaccine research through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Canada is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with a contribution of 400 000 “N95” masks to support continental efforts. And the High Commission of Canada is also allocating over N$2 million to local organisations in Namibia to address the most pressing needs arising from the pandemic.
Prime Minister Trudeau spoke on 2 June 2020 with President Hage Geingob, where they discussed the importance of a coordinated global approach to ensure the health and safety of all people around the world, especially the most vulnerable. They discussed measures to build economic resilience and ensure a sustainable recovery for African countries, strengthening supply chains and ensuring equitable access to vaccines once they are developed.
Further, Canada has not forgotten about ongoing global challenges. It has contributed US$35 million to efforts to eradicate polio and US$226 million to assist UN agencies and civil society organizations in delivering humanitarian assistance to address the needs of the world’s most vulnerable.
Canada has a proven track record. It is accessible and nimble and will play a positive and constructive role on the Security Council, as it has done in the past. Canada is committed to ensuring that the views and interests of all players are represented. Canada will continue to leverage its membership in many international institutions and will unite forces, leaving no one behind, to support a post-Covid-19 global system that is better prepared to serve all countries.
* Kim P. Butler is the acting High Commissioner of Canada to Namibia
2020-06-17 09:51:11 | 26 days ago