UNITED NATIONS—At an open debate today, the United Nations Security Council is discussing the security challenges facing many of the world’s small island states, which increasingly find themselves at the center of illicit global activities, from illegal fishing, to drug and human trafficking, to worsening impacts of climate change that for some could threaten long-term national sovereignty.
Later today, speaking as Chair and on behalf of AOSIS, the Maldives Foreign Secretary, Dr. Ali Naseer Mohamed, will tell the Council, “we live in a time of dramatic change and uncertainty. Our pursuit of international peace and security faces new obstacles that will test our resolve at every turn. But we also have new expertise and resources to make the world more secure—in all countries large and small, on the mainland and in the oceans.”
The particular security challenges faced by small island states has received high profile attention in international media with dramatic stories about high seas piracy, undocumented fishing, human trafficking and climate change. Yet commensurate time and resources have not been allocated to address the complex challenges, neither at the U.N. body nor on the ground where it is needed.
“SIDS have also taken important responsibilities in promoting peace and security at the international stage. We provide a disproportionate number of peacekeepers to missions around the world and host many operations in our own backyards. Yet our voice on this Council is vastly underrepresented: over the past 25 years, only six SIDS have served on the Council, out of the 125 elected members during that period. This must change,” he will say.
Today’s open debate was held by New Zealand, President of the Security Council and follows a series of discussions spearheaded by island nations in the past few years, which led to a UN General Assembly resolution on the link between climate change and international peace and security in 2009 and a President’s statement at the UNSC in 2011.