A meeting under the title of “The Role of the Netherlands in the Security Council of the UN in 2018” took place in Utrecht, Netherlands on October 19, 2017.
Prepared by UPF Netherlands
As Netherlands will be seated at the UN Security Council next year, her voice will have more say in the international affairs and world-wide security issues. UPF NL Secretary General, Mr. Wim Koetsier opened the meeting with a few words from the founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon and warmly welcomed the 27 people from diverse organisations and movements. A video introducing the Peace Road project proposal was shown, which set the tone for global thinking.
The meeting was chaired by Colonel Stuit, former submarine captain of the Royal Dutch Navy. He gave a brief explanation of the background of the topic and provided great moderatorship. The first speaker, Prof. Schrijver of the Faculty of Law of Leiden University, gave a concise narrative of the last century and the approaches and roles of the Netherlands in international affairs.
The election of which countries will be seated at the Council have a number of criteria, but in the end, Schrijver argued, the main criterium should be what is best for the UN and her goals of peace-keeping and security, rather than what is convenient for any individual nation. Focusing on what we can do for the sake of peace and security, and how to work together to make that happen.
The second speaker, Mr. van Eekelen, former Minister of Defense & former European diplomate, shared his insight from his rich political and diplomatic carrier. He suggested that the French could take on a broader European position, as it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to ensure EU representation. Ultimately, no country in the EU can do things alone – we have to do things together with others.
Mr. van Eekelen also posited that we shouldn’t let UN mandates limit us. Whenever possible, we should stay in line with the UN goals and interests, yet when the EU is blocked by a veto from one of the permanent council members (particularly Russia or China), we have to find a different ways to be involved. For example, under the international rule of law, to be able to act on the right of self-defense. Another suggestion is to introduce a double-veto right, where a minimum of 2 veto’s instead of merely one is needed to block a decision.
After their talks, the members of the audience joined in the discussion. Some questions posed were concerning the composition and representation of the UN Security Council, as well as the issue of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Though still faced with many challenges and diverse interests of the different countries involved, there is hope and progress, when cooperation and integration are put first for the sake of world peace and security.
At the end, Mr. Koetsier presented Mr. Schrijver with a certificate as Ambassador for Peace, for his continued efforts of promoting the international rule of law and advocating for human rights. With light sandwiches and drinks, the meeting reached the scheduled closing time with warm and loving togetherness. All the guests were looking forward to the next invitation. Mr. Koetsier closed the meeting with the remark to focus on quality of conversation as well as the diversity in voices. In these times of overwhelming negativity in the news and online media, it is important to remain positive and focus on what we can do for each other and for the greater good.