In May 2016, WFUNA convened the first-ever United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Election Debates for Member States competing within their regional blocks for a non-Permanent seat on the Council. These debates are designed to open up the UNSC to the larger UN Community, while providing a platform by which elected Member States are then held accountable to stated priorities during their terms on the Council.
Security Council Debates & Briefings
WFUNA is a neutral, non-partisan organization with a wide membership of United Nations Associations across the globe and a mandate to strengthen the effectiveness of the UN.
Building upon these initiatives to strengthen transparency and facilitate dialogue at the UN Security Council, combined with its role as the 16+ Forum Secretariat, WFUNA is a trusted actor in this field.
United Nations Security Council Election Debates
In 2016, 2018 and 2019, WFUNA facilitated a series of open debates across regional groupings with contested seats. The events are webcast and promoted on social media to allow for participation from a global audience and wider stakeholder engagement. For the first time in its over 70-year history, the United Nations’ community of stakeholders can access candidates and engage in the election process.
In 2020, WFUNA again hosted two United Nations Security Council Elections Debates with candidates from regional groups competing for non-permanent seats for the 2021-2022 term.
On May 27th, WFUNA held a debate with the African Group featuring candidates Djibouti and Kenya. The candidate countries were represented by the Permanent Representatives of both Missions to the UN, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh of Djibouti and H.E. Mr. Lazarus Ombai Amayo of Kenya.
On May 29th, WFUNA held the second debate with the Western European and Others Group featuring candidates Canada, Ireland, and Norway. The candidate countries were represented by the Permanent Representatives of all three Missions to the UN, H.E. Mr. Marc-André Blanchard of Canada, H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason of Ireland, and H.E. Ms. Mona Juul of Norway.
The UNSC Election Debates were held online and were attended by over 110 Permanent Missions (Member States and Observer States) and over 60 CSOs. The virtual events were also broadcast on UN Web TV for wider viewing.
The moderators of the debates were WFUNA Secretary-General Mr. Bonian Golmohammadi and WFUNA Peace and Security Officer Mr. Pablo Angulo-Troconis. The two UNSC 2020 Election Debates featured interventions and questions from both Member States and Civil Society Organizations. The debates also received considerable attention online since they were promoted on social media with the hashtag #UNSCElections to allow for participation from a global audience and wider stakeholder engagement.
WFUNA is committed to continuing to host these debates and briefings and will maintain its role as convener and coordinator in this effort to advance openness, dialogue and transparency at the UNSC.
The inclusion of civil society from UNHQ, virtually and around the world further allows WFUNA to uphold its mandate in lessening the gap between the UN to the wider international community.
In May 2019, WFUNA hosted a UN Security Council Elections Briefing with Estonia for the contested seat within the Eastern European Group (EEG), for which Estonia and Romania are competing. Estonia confirmed their participation in an Election Debate; however, Romania declined. As a result, the event became a UN Security Council Elections Briefing on Estonia’s candidature.
The Briefing was attended by over 140 participants from Permanent Missions (Member and Observer States), UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and the media, including representatives from 90 different Permanent Missions, while 1,335 people watched the event live through UN Web TV. Additionally, the event was promoted on social media with the hashtag #UNSCElections to allow for participation from a global audience and wider stakeholder engagement.
Candidates from regional groups running for uncontested seats were also invited to hold a joint briefing on priorities for their term on the Council. The candidates for the uncontested seats this year are: Vietnam from the Asia-Pacific Group, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from the Latin American and Caribbean Group, and Tunisia and Niger from the African Group for which there are two seats.
In addition to hosting the debates and briefings, in 2020 WFUNA also aims to build an online platform where candidate positions, campaigns and promotional materials can be easily accessed through a one-stop-shop, public website; and co-host regional consultations in partnership with UN Associations of candidate countries to the UNSC. Working with governments and civil society, these consultations would serve to inform the general public of the work of the Council and raise awareness of their countries’ priorities.
In May 2018, WFUNA again hosted two UN Security Council Election Debates with candidates from regional groups competing for non-permanent seats for the 2019-2020 term.
On May 4th, WFUNA held a debate with the two candidates from the Western European and Others Group, Belgium and Germany (Israel postponed their candidacy minutes prior to the debate). On May 14th, a debate was held with the two candidates from the Asia-Pacific Group, the Maldives and Indonesia. Candidates from regional groups running for uncontested seats were also invited to hold a joint briefing on priorities for their term on the Council, but this was ultimately not held. WFUNA aims to hold election briefings in 2019 with the four nations assuming uncontested seats for the 2020-2021 term.
For each of the 2018 WEOG and APG Debates, Permanent Missions (Member and Observer States), UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and the media were in attendance. Following a lively Q&A, an informal media stakeout took place for one of the candidates after the WEOG Debate.
Approximately 500 people followed live through UN WebTV, with active engagement on Twitter from Member States, UN Associations, and Civil Society Organizations. Users contributed to the hashtag #UNSCElections with 600 total tweets, receiving an estimated 3.3 million impressions over the course of 10 days.
Western European & Other Group Debate
As no seats were contested for 2017, debates were not held.
In May 2016, WFUNA hosted debates for contested seats within the Asia-Pacific Group (APG), for which Kazakhstan and Thailand were competing, and the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG), which featured the Permanent Representatives of Italy, The Netherlands, and Sweden.
Over 100 Permanent Missions attended these debates held at UN Headquarters in New York, which featured interventions and questions from both Member States and Civil Society Organizations. The events also received considerable attention online, receiving over 20 million impressions on Twitter in 2016.
Five seats were contested in the elections held 28 June 2016. The candidates for the non-permanent seats were (successful candidates in bold):
- Western Europe and Other Group (2): Italy*, Netherlands*, and Sweden
- Asia Pacific Group (1): Kazakhstan and Thailand
- Africa Group (1): Ethiopia
- Latin America and Caribbean Group (1): Bolivia
*Italy and Netherlands agreed to share the seat after a voting deadlock. Italy will sit on the Security Council in 2017, and Netherlands will sit on the Security Council in 2018.
23 May 2016 - Trusteeship Council Chamber, UNHQ, New York (watch full debate).