The election of the United Arab Emirates to the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term was not fortuitous. It was rather a culmination of its active diplomacy in support of security, peace and coexistence at the regional and global levels, in line with the general guidelines of the Security Council and the UN in general.
Undoubtedly, this major diplomatic breakthrough was achieved thanks to unlimited support from the UAE’s wise leadership, led by President and Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which spared no effort so that the Emirates and its people maintain their privileged standing among the world’s nations. This election also reflects the appreciation of the positions taken by the UAE regarding a set of regional and global issues which makes the UAE an active and influential player. In this respect, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said “the election of the UAE to the Security Council for the 2022-2023 term reflects its active diplomacy, its international position and its distinguished development model.” In the same vein, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces said “the UAE’s election today to the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term embodies the world’s confidence in Emirati policies, and the efficiency and effectiveness of its diplomatic system“the UAE will continue to fulfil its commitment to peace, cooperation and development.” These statements mirror in essence the belief and the commitment of the UAE’s forward-looking leadership to promoting regional and global security, peace and development. They are also reflective of hopes pinned on the UAE to add political and diplomatic impetus to the Security Council in a way that is conducive to addressing the challenges currently facing the world at the political, security and development levels.
The election of the UAE to the Security Council“A milestone for the Emirati diplomacy
The election of the UAE by the UN general assembly on 11 June 2021 as a member of the Security Council together with Albania, Brazil, Gabon and Ghana for the 2022-2023 term represents a milestone for the Emirati diplomacy that was preceded by a successful campaign to garner support for such a role.
The UAE managed to convince the international community that its Security Council membership was well-deserved. Indeed, 179 member-countries of the General Assembly voted in favor of the UAE in an expression of their full belief in the UAE’s capacity to effectively lead and contribute to promoting peace and security efforts at the regional and global levels.
The election of the UAE to the Security Council came on the back of a successful diplomatic campaign that started in September 2020 when Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed gave a speech, at the 75th UN General Assembly, that clearly laid out the vision underpinning the priorities and goals of the Emirati foreign policy, which are in harmony with those espoused by the international community. These include supporting efforts to foster international peace and security and addressing shared challenges common to all the world, notably the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues relating to sustainable development goals particularly in developing and poor countries.
This speech has received great acclaim from the members of the UN General Assembly. It served as the best initiation to the announcement of the UAE’s bid for the non-permanent membership of the Security Council for the term 2022-2023, since it offered a comprehensive vision of what the UAE plans to achieve during its mandate. The speech highlighted the priorities of the UAE action, starting with supporting all international efforts to promote international peace and security, particularly the appeal of the UN Secretary General for a global ceasefire at a context that requires joining the efforts of the international community to address pressing challenges such as Covid-19. It also attached paramount importance to settling crises in the region including in Yemen, Libya and Syria in order to safeguard regional peace and stability. Besides, the speech reaffirmed the need for human solidarity and promoting international cooperation in the face of challenges that face people throughout the world, with a focus on developing and making vaccines and medical treatments available to all people. It also stressed on the imperative of alleviating the suffering caused to millions across the globe due to wars and natural disasters, which require sustained humanitarian effort to help innocent people.
Following this speech, the UAE diplomacy was actively deployed rolling out a series of virtual meetings with regional groups within the Unto reiterate the commitment of the Emirates to listen to the concerns of all UN member states and take their views into account while working together towards serving the causes of peace, security and development as part of its membership of the Security Council.
Stronger in Union
The UAE’s election campaign to win Security Council membership was themed “stronger in union” This was a successful moto for multiple reasons. First, it expressed the value of “union” in which the UAE believes in and considers the best path to face any challenges. The union ideal offered the basis for the foundation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 which has grown to become one of the best countries in the world. The “Union” as a value is also capable of bringing together global efforts to address shared challenges and risks. From another perspective, this theme clearly shows that the world at this stage needs to achieve union and spare itself disputes and divisions that are to blame for the continuing crises and conflicts across the globe. Therefore, this theme came to affirm that the world will be stronger if all countries came together to cooperate with each other. This is the message the UAE is seeking to spread and entrench during its membership of the Security Council. In addition to this, the nature of crises and challenges facing the world currently can only be tackled through united global efforts. Whatever the capacities of each state or a group of states, they remain impotent in the face of shared challenges.
Factors explaining the UAE election to the Security Council
The election of the UAE to the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term serves as an expression of global consensus regarding the Emirates balanced and wise policies as well as its capacity to add fresh impetus to the action of the Security Council in line with the ambitions of all countries of the globe, notably developing nations that are looking forward to benefiting from the actions led by the UAE, which has a clear understanding of their needs.
This well-deserved membership of the Security Council came as a result of a combination of an array of factors that we can list as follows:
Large appreciation of the UAE’s foreign policy and its wise and balanced stands towards regional and international issues. The UAE departs from firm principles that stress in general the importance of friendship and assisting the world’s people at large in addition to the belief in the need for cooperation and avoiding the policy of isolation. The UAE has also been distinguished by its balanced positions in international relations as it has shunned alignments and the policy of axes, while abstaining from interfering in the domestic issues of other countries whatever the reasons or excuses. These principles are highly appreciated by the international community.
Trust in the UAE’s ability to make a change. The country has proven this through its peace and security promotion initiatives as well as its actions to promote coexistence, tolerance and human fraternity in congruence with UN initiatives such as the proclamation of an international Fraternity Day on February 4 after an unanimous approval by the General Assembly in December 2020. This proclamation was inspired by the Document on Human Fraternity, signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019 signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. This evidences the capacity of the UAE to achieve similar initiatives during its Security Council membership.
Positive image of the UAE in the world, as a key player in promoting peace, security and development at the regional and global levels. This image was not only entrenched through active Emirati participation at all regional and international efforts and initiatives aiming to foster peace, security and development but also through its previous and fruitful experience as a Security Council member for the 1986-1987 term during which it offered an example of a responsible country that spares no effort to achieve the goals of the UN to the best interest of all the world’s people. Therefore, the election of the UAE to the Security Council for a new term reflects the trust it enjoys and the confidence it projects as to its capacity to continue playing its key role in support of international security and peace and the UN development goals.
The world counts on the UAE to boost Security Council’s role
The world is largely expecting the UAE to help reactivate the role of the Security Council and end the state of lethargy which has rendered the UN body unable to fulfil its duties in keeping global peace and security. There is a growing belief among UN member states that the UAE is well-equipped to help reactive such a mission during its mandate from 2022 to 2023. This confidence in the UAE hinges on an array of considerations and facts such as:
The UAE has strong ties with the five permanent members of the Security Council. The country also enjoys great respect and appreciations amid the UN General Assembly members. This would serve as a basis to strengthen its capacity to bring views closer and settle disputes around controversial issues while contributing to putting an end to crises and conflicts that threaten regional and global peace and security.
The UAE has left its footprint at the international level. This is manifested in its vast network of excellent ties with regional and global main political and economic heavyweights. The country has forged strategic partnerships with many countries from across the globe. This will undoubtedly serve as an asset for the UAE to bolster its role within the Security Council and endow it with greater influence and impact. Besides, the UAE can also build on its global ties to gain political support needed to boost its initiatives, position and viewpoints concerning an array of issues relating to global peace and security.
The UAE’s foreign policy is driven by priorities that are shared with the Security Council and the UN in General. The UAE believes in the importance of resolving international disputes peacefully and in the non-interference in the domestic issues of other countries while advocating arbitration and the implementation of the international law. It also advocates creating a proper environment for international relations based on good neighborliness, moderation, tolerance and the rejection of violence in tandem with the implementation of the international law and the UN Charter as a bulwark to avert the collapse of the international order and tensions between states.
The UAE believes in the importance of joint action as a the most appropriate means to address global challenges and threats. These can only be tackled through collective and coordinated responses that addresses all the ramifications of such threats. In this respect, the UAE reaffirms its commitment to working together with its regional and international partners to counter such threats and challenges.
The UAE successfully managed to deal with emerging issues that caught the attention of the international community in recent years. The country has shown through action that it endeavors for the sake of all people on earth by spearheading efforts in the field of the environment, sustainability, renewable energy and coexistence between cultures and religions, because these issues have become influential in international relations and intertwined with efforts to promote security, peace and development regionally and internationally. This success will unquestionably bolster trust in the UAE as it is poised to lead at the Security Council towards more action benefiting these issues.
The UAE’s leadership role in supporting the achievement of the UN’s sustainable development goals. The UAE is at the forefront of countries that are contributing to achieve such goals across the world. Foreign aid granted by the Emirates to several countries focus on issues that are at the core of the 2030 sustainable development goals, including the eradication of poverty, support for children and other sector-based programs such as transport, infrastructure, efficient governance and women empowerment. Official data show that the UAE since its establishment in 1971 until 2020 has offered foreign aid totaling 318.49 billion emirati dirhams (86.71 billion US Dollars). This aid was offered by over 45 UAE donating bodies and has been sent to 204 countries from across the world, including 45 least developed countries. Most of the aid (80%) helped support development projects, whereas humanitarian aid represented 6%. This aid had a positive impact in achieving sustainable development in a number of countries and contributed to the efforts of some developing countries to improve their living standards as well as their economic and social development by moving from medium to high income countries, according to the OECD lists.
The UAE has a proven track record of leadership in an array of issues, such as its successful experience in countering extremism and terrorism by addressing all the dimensions of these two issues including the legislative, cultural, media and educational sides. The UAE is credited for launching a series of qualitative initiatives to counter extremism regionally and internationally as part of its efforts to promote cooperation in the region and the world. It also enacted a batch of laws that criminalize terrorism and laid the legal basis to counter the forces that incite, perpetrate or finance terrorist acts. The UAE has also created the Hidaya and Sawab centers as well as the Muslim Wise Men Council. Similarly, it stepped up its cooperation with regional and global powers to counter terrorism and extremism and has taken part in the global coalition against ISIS.
The UAE has also been distinguished by its outstanding energy diversification policy through leadership in renewable energy. It plays a vital role in supporting developing countries achieve renewable energy goals in order to protect the environment and create job opportunities. This has left a beneficial impact on promoting the standing of the UAE in the international community as a leading country in clean energy and in supporting innovation. It thus has become a unique model in such a vital field that makes the global agenda.
The UAE has also developed a leading experience in the field of women empowerment at all levels. It opened the civil service to women competencies in political, diplomatic, judicial and economic job, besides the army and the police. It contributed to make women issues on top of the global agenda and spearheaded efforts and programs to support women empowerment across throughout the world.
The global acclaim received by the UAE after its election as a member in the UN Security Council for the 2022-2023 term stands as an international vote attesting to the successful Emirati development model and wise leadership. It is also an irrefutable proof of its efficient and influential diplomacy which spared no effort to serve the cause of peace across the globe as well as development, welfare and prosperity for all people on earth.