In May Poland holds a month-long rotating presidency in the United Nations Security Council during its two-year tenure as an elected non-permanent member. The received support of 190 states – including Romania – in the last year’s elections is a confirmation of Poland’s involvement in maintaining international peace and security, dating back to the very emergence of the United Nations. Poland was one of 51 founding members of the organization. In September 1941, amidst the turmoil of the Second World War, Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile, Władysław Sikorski, decided on the accession to the Atlantic Charter, along with other countries opposing the Axis powers. In January 1942 the government in exile signed the Declaration of the United Nations, which determined establishment of the United Nations. Today, Poland can enjoy peace and stability and has the ability to contribute to the security environment.
Poland’s main priorities during its UN Security Council term include 1) promoting and strengthening principles of international law, with a special regard to sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders; 2) new threats to international peace and security, including threats caused by non-state actors, hybrid threats, security issues related to climate change. Poland takes special interest in the climate change-related threats, as the host and chair of the December 24th session of the Conference of the Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland; 3) conflict prevention. In the end of April 2018 Minister Czaputowicz participated in New York in a high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, where it was stressed that peacebuilding strategies must be coherent and take into account specific local needs. A concrete example of this approach is the upcoming visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar by a group of Permanent Representatives to the UN, including the Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, to develop strategies based on real needs on the ground.
The main task of the Polish presidency is to ensure proper conditions for the Security Council’s work. Yet, apart from being an efficient manager it also aims at addressing its priorities. Polish high officials will travel to New York a number of times this month to chair several meetings personally. On 17th May President Andrzej Duda will preside over the key event of the Polish presidency – the high-level open debate on “The role of the UN Security Council in upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security”. On 22nd May Poland will organize an open debate – presided over by Minister Czaputowicz – on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, with particular focus on compliance with international humanitarian law. Another briefing – on reform of peacekeeping operations, aiming at improving safety of peacekeepers on the ground – will be organized on 9th of May. On 7th of May Poland will co-organize an informal ‘Arria’ formula meeting on children in armed conflicts. Minister Czaputowicz recently visited an Institute for Blind Children in Kibeho in Rwanda, funded by the Polish Foreign Ministry, led by the Polish Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross. The Institute is the only educational facility that provides both, basic education, but also protection these children need.
As president, Poland will also be responsible for overseeing the regular Council’s agenda. High on the Council’s agenda remain Syria, Middle East Peace Process, Iraq and UNAMI mission, Libya, Somalia, Burundi and Guinea Bissau, Sudan/UN mission in Darfur. Polish Ambassador to UN Joanna Wronecka will share her reflections on her visit to Sudan as chair of the sanctions committee. Two meetings on Europe will include a briefing on UN mission in Kosovo and a debate on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Poland’s tenure in the Security Council places its foreign policy in a broader context, where it takes an active part in solving the most pressing global issues. Poland perceives its role of a non-permanent member as a facilitator and a bridge-builder, when the permanent members are sometimes on opposite sides of the barricade – remembering Sallust, a Roman historian and politician that “with concord small things increase, with discord the greatest things go to ruin”.
For more information on the Polish membership in the UN Security Council go to: https://twitter.com/PLinUN