United Nations General Assembly: Strengthening of the United Nations system – Item 124

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger

New Zealand welcomes the adoption of the resolution “Standing mandate for a General Assembly debate when a veto is cast in the Security Council”.

New Zealand actively supported this initiative from its inception and we are a proud member of the core group. We did so steadfast in our belief that the General Assembly has a legitimate interest in, and political responsibility to address situations where the use of the veto has resulted in paralysis in the Security Council’s decision-making responsibilities.

As has been noted by so many others this morning, the use of the veto is a privilege which comes with profound responsibility. Its arbitrary use in the pursuit of national interest, rather than in the advancement of international peace and security, contributes to poor decision making.

The casting of the veto by a single member, or small number of members, stymies the majority of the Council from carrying out its functions on behalf of the wider UN membership.

As a result of Security Council inaction, responsible states (often the neighbouring states) have frequently been left with a heavy burden that should have been shared more evenly by the wider international community.

The veto is the most undemocratic element of the UN. It is arguably the single greatest source of criticism of the UN by the communities we serve. New Zealand has been a vocal opponent of the use of the veto since its inception in 1945. This remains unchanged.

We have witnessed amazing support from across the UN membership this morning. This demonstrates the timeliness and necessity of this initiative. We too commend Liechtenstein and the core group for their thought leadership and their active outreach on this initiative.

The resolution adopted this morning provides a mechanism to ensure accountability between UN organs in accordance with the Charter. Ultimately it is about strengthening inclusive multilateralism and the effectiveness of the UN.

In future if (and as others have said we hope it is only if) this resolution is activated, it will be important that we, the members of the General Assembly, take advantage of the opportunity afforded by this resolution to exercise our collective political responsibility under the UN Charter to address matters of international peace and security.

Thank you.


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