The Canadian Council for International Co-operation regrets that Canada was unsuccessful in its bid to secure a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a vote concluded on June 17. Canada was in competition with Ireland and Norway to win one of the two available seats in the Western European and Others Group of states (WEOG). Ireland and Norway were successful in winning the UNSC seats.

Regardless of this outcome, Canada’s campaign tagline that we are “stronger together” remains equally valid today and there is much more for Canada to do to stand in solidarity with international partners in a time of great uncertainty and challenge to global progress. Even without a UN Security Council seat, Canada can lead global momentum on the key priorities outlined in its campaign: sustaining peace; addressing climate change; advancing gender equality; promoting economic security; and strengthening multilateralism. This is in both Canada’s interest and the interest of all our global partners. To make contributions that match its ambitions, Canada will be required to deploy and expand the many foreign policy tools at its disposal to tackle ever growing international threats to human rights, democracy and inclusive economic growth. Such efforts will also need to be accompanied by ambitious global investments, including in international development assistance.

“We are disappointed by today’s results but are unshaken in the belief that Canada must play a leading role in the world,” said Nicolas Moyer, CEO of CCIC. “This is a moment to take stock and commit to our global partners that we will work with them in the long term. With increased ambitions and investments, Canada can play a critical role in the global efforts to recover better from the COVID pandemic.”

Often judged a key consideration in UN votes for the UNSC, Canada’s international development assistance as a share of our economy consistently lags the average commitment to development of OECD members (0.31% of GNI). Canada’s two competitor countries, Ireland and Norwayhave both either surpassed or committed to reaching the globally agreed ODA target of 0.7% of GNI.    

Particularly in the context of global crises and rapid global change, there is a need now more than ever, for Canada to play an active role in shaping an inclusive and successful global recovery from the COVID pandemic. Canada’s defeat is no reason for Canada to turn away from its role on the global stage. Quite the contrary, it is time for it to show the leadership – in words and deed – that our global partners need.

“Global needs have grown exponentially in the context of COVID-19, with the gendered impacts of the pandemic and the economic downturn it has caused, there is a need more than ever for Canada to invest in improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable around the world,” said Moyer.