19. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when the United Nations might be reinvigorated with a view to re-establishing its importance as major peace keeper and champion of human rights in all areas throughout the globe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11572/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 20 together.
The United Nations plays a critical role in the resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of international peace and security. It does this primarily through the UN Security Council. The Council has a variety of tools at its disposal to address threats to international peace and to contribute towards the settlement of disputes and conflicts: it has the power to authorise military action, deploy peacekeeping and political missions, and to impose sanctions against non-compliant States.
On the one hand the Member States of the UN undoubtedly have a central role to play in addressing conflict. On the other hand, ongoing crises in various parts of the world serve to underscore the need for the UN to be much more effective. Ireland will continue to support efforts to reform the UN’s structures and systems.
In 2015, the then UN Secretary General initiated three major review exercises which were aimed at improving the overall effectiveness of the UN’s response to conflict. The findings from the high level policy reviews on (1) UN Peace Operations, (2) Peacebuilding Architecture and (3) Women, Peace and Security were published and are in the process of being implemented. Ireland engaged fully with all three reviews, calling for the recommendations to be discussed and implemented as part of our broader calls for UN reform. In 2017 the current Secretary-General moved forward on these reviews and has sought to reform the Organisation’s policies and structures.
Ireland has also called for reform of the UN Security Council and has consistently stated that the Council needs to become more representative, more transparent and more effective. Ireland believes that such reform is critical to ensuring that the UN maintains its efficacy and respected position within the rules based international system architecture.
Every Member State requires a UN that works better – in the field, where Peacekeeping Missions and Development work are ongoing, and at Headquarters, where the management and administrative systems need to be improved. In an era of international uncertainty there is a pressing need for a multilateral system that is strong and that can successfully address the many global challenges facing us.
In addition to participating in the ongoing discussions and reviews, Ireland will continue to advocate for reform of the UN’s structures and systems to ensure it is enabled to fulfil its crucial role in the maintenance of international peace and security, prevention, reduction and resolution of conflict and the upholding of fundamental human rights.