By: Jorge Domecq, Ambassador of Spain to the Federared States of Micronesia
Way too often in international relations the people criticizing power politics are the same that dismiss the United Nations as an ineffective forum to solve controversies and reach consensus on the most urgent challenges affecting us all. Their critiques aim especially at the UN Security Council (UNSC), deeming it out-of-date or inaptly reflecting the world of today. These critics, for the most part coming from academe or big media outlets, tend to overlook the strengths and successes of the UN system -notwithstanding faults and inefficiencies- and forget that the best prescription against realpolitik is precisely the sacred principle of “one country, one vote”, as opposed to, a mere substitution of some old big players for new ones in the UNSC.
. True to its view on the role of nations in contemporary international relations, Spain, whenever a member of the UNSC, has always stood for clear values and course of action. When it comes to international fora, size or population don’t matter as much as prestige based on credibility and commitment with the system as a whole, trying to be not a big, but a reliable team player aiming to help find consensus where necessary. That’s the only way to confront efficiently the biggest challenges ahead, be it international peace and security, sustainable development and promotion of human rights or, last but the not least, climate change.
My country is now running for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for the period 2015-2016. All the goals I just mentioned are on top of our agenda, in the case Spain gets elected. Now, you must be wondering fairly enough what tools do we have at our disposal to help reach these goals. I will try to summarize it for you in two words: soft power. And a great deal of it has been exercised through international solidarity and dialogue as core values.
For one, Spain is the sixth biggest donor to the UN system. A clear demonstration has been the implementation of breakthrough initiatives like the Spain-UNDP MDG Achievement Fund, where over USD 900 million were granted through 130 projects in more that 50 countries to over 20 million people. Furthermore, Spain has also been the major contributor to the Fund for Gender Equality since its inception in 2009, with a contribution of USD 65 million granted to 93 projects in 69 countries, directly benefiting 8.5 million women in every single continent. And, in particular over the last decade, Spain has made a hallmark of fighting poverty and achieving sustainable human development. Thus, Spain is among the top ten donors worldwide in supporting food production, industrial and export crops, and agricultural, livestock and fishing development. And, in relation to this, Spain has launched the Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation, with more than one billion US dollars provided by the Spanish Development Agency.
The Federated States of Micronesia and Spain share not only a common past, but also common concerns about the future and the challenges that it will entail. Both countries, although in different levels, are struggling to temper the effects of climate change which affect us in more ways than one. These effects do not limit to climate instability and exposure to big storms, typhoons and rising sea water levels, or desertification (which is the case of Spain), but also include collateral damages in terms of livelihood, agriculture and fisheries.
That is why, despite the present budgetary constraints due to the economic crisis that is affecting Europe, Spain has actively participated with important financial contributions to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), to the co-financing Fund on Climate Change and Rural Development, to the Adaptation Fund of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The same applies to the response to humanitarian crisis, where we have substantially increased funds targeting relief efforts as well as the disaster risk reduction activities.
I would like to end by stressing that, bearing in mind the long lived historical links and friendship between our countries, and our international priorities in multilateral fora, you can rest assured that our initiatives in the UNSC during the biennium 2015-2016, if we are elected, will take full account of the interests of small island states like the Federated States of Micronesia. This will be the case on issues like climate change and security, the right to water, the displacement of populations and also, the need to take full account of the legitimate aspiration of states like the Pacific Islands in the reform of the UN main bodies, in particular, the Security Council, in order to favor their best possible representation.