The United Nations General Assembly conducted a secret ballot on Friday and elected five countries, including Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the smallest nation ever to secure a seat in the Security Council (UNSC).
The other countries who were elected to the UNSC included Estonia, Niger, Tunisia, and Vietnam.
The UN, in a statement, said that the five states will take up their seats as non-permanent members of the Security Council in January 2020, replacing Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru and Poland.
Every year, five countries are elected to the 15-member Council (10 of whom are non-permanent) for a two-year term, according to a geographical rotation set by the Assembly in 1963, to ensure fair regional representation– five from African, Asian and Pacific States, one from Eastern Europe, two from Latin American States, and two from Western European and other states (WEOG).
While Niger, Tunisia and Vietnam were elected unopposed, two of the five seats were contested. El Salvador competed with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to represent the Latin American and Caribbean group, Romania lost out to Estonia in the East European group.
Speaking to reporters outside the General Assembly Hall, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, described the election of his multi-island nation of around 110,000 people, as a “historic occasion”.
Gonsalves said that his country is committed to the principle of sustainable development. In addition, being a group of small islands in the Caribbean Sea and facing a high risk of inundation, the country is very concerned about the consequences of adverse climate change and intends to work very closely with the other members of the Security Council.
Following a 2014 General Assembly resolution, elections to the non-permanent Security Council seats were moved from October to June, to give incoming countries more time to prepare for their terms, before assuming their responsibilities.