The last several years have seen multiple crises engulf global affairs, and we are in the midst of the most daunting one yet: the Covid-19 pandemic. What is at stake around the world are not just lives and livelihoods, but also our international world order.

Indeed, this crisis is both the biggest test to our modern multilateral architecture and the most significant opportunity to demonstrate that only through organized global collaboration can we defeat this common threat and build back better.

The effects of this disease have exposed the inherent inequalities that inhabit all of our societies. 

Against this backdrop, the United Nations plans to hold elections in New York, United States, in June to fill the rotational seats on the UN Security Council for 2021–2022. Canada, Ireland and Norway are vying for a seat.

Canada is the only candidate to have put economic security as the central pillar of its Security Council platform. Indeed, for four years, Canada has pushed for more inclusive growth through the Group of Friends on innovative financing it co-founded with Jamaica. All this time, Canada has been striving to bridge the gap between private sector investors and finance ministries around the world by leveraging the economic potential of developing nations.

Canada understands that peace requires economic opportunities both to prevent conflict and to maintain fragile truces. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this one of the cornerstones of Canada’s presidency of the G7 in 2018. Now, in the face of this pandemic, Canada is redoubling efforts to address debt relief, supply chains and food security.

Voting for Canada for a seat on the Security Council is endorsing this innovative, holistic and effective approach to security.

The UN, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, cannot rely on past accomplishments. It must continue to adapt and innovate. Canada is a young multicultural nation, very much the mirror of the world. It has the humility to listen and to represent a broad range of views at the Security Council table.

Canada commends the strong measures that Bhutan has taken to protect its citizens, safeguard its economy, and cooperate with international partners during this crisis. Canada will continue to work with Bhutan, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to ensure the health and safety of our citizens and to support our mutual economic recoveries in a sustainable manner.

As an immediate measure, Canada is moving forward with a collaborative project with Bhutan’s Ministry of Health to strengthen Covid-19 surveillance and expand screening of populations in remote areas. The project will provide testing equipment in underserved areas to ensure equitable access to services with a special emphasis on women, children, elderly and other vulnerable groups. As part of this project, the Ministry of Health will also work with partners to run media campaigns to increase awareness of Covid-19.

More broadly in response to the pandemic, Canada has announced a contribution of Can$850 million (approximately US$600 million) in support of global efforts to combat Covid-19 and another contribution of Can$600 million for vaccine research through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Further, Canada has not forgotten about ongoing global challenges. It has also contributed Can$47.5 million to efforts to eradicate polio and Can$306 million to assist UN agencies and civil society organizations in delivering humanitarian assistance to address the needs of the world’s most vulnerable.

Canada has a proven track record in bringing diverse countries together to promote progress and achieve effective cooperation on global issues. It is accessible and nimble and can play a positive and constructive role on the Security Council. Canada will continue to leverage its membership in many international institutions and will unite forces, leaving no one behind, to support a post-Covid-19 global system that is better prepared to serve all countries.

Canada is a close friend and ally of Bhutan, and our countries will continue to work together to build a better and more inclusive world. Following the UN Security Council vote on June 17, 2020, Canada very much hopes to continue this collaborative relationship as a non-permanent member of the UNSC.

Contributed by

Nadir Patel, 

Canada’s Ambassador to Bhutan