What Spain can do for Solomon Islands - Solomon Star News

What Spain can do for Solomon Islands

07 March 2014

TEN years after the last time Spain was part of the UN Security Council, my country has decided to launch a new candidacy for a non-permanent seat for the biennium 2015-2016.

Why? Because Spain is a reliable international team player. During the past decade our commitment to the United Nations principles has remained as strong as ever.

In development cooperation, Spain has shown its clear determination to play a very active role within the UN system by allocating an increasing amount of resources to humanitarian assistance and development, to ensuring international security and peacekeeping, and to promoting human rights.

Despite being severely hit by the international financial crisis, my country’s commitment to multilateral development cooperation has proven unyielding – we remain the world’s 6th largest contributor to the UN system and one of the leading EU contributors, the world’s first donor.

In particular, over the last decade, Spain has made a hallmark of fighting poverty and achieving sustainable human development, becoming one of the top ten donors worldwide in supporting food production, industrial and export crops, and agricultural livestock and fishing development.

Our commitment has translated into a range of ambitious initiatives such as the Spain-UNDP MDG (Millennium Development Goals) Achievement Fund, where over US$ 900 M have been granted through 130 projects in more than 50 countries, reaching over 20 million people.

Another great step has been the launching of one billion US$ Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation, fully funded by the Spanish Development Agency.

Spain’s official bilateral development cooperation will soon regain its vigour as the country recovers the path of economic growth.

We are eager to promote the post-2015 development agenda, sustainable development and the fight against poverty.

In regards to the maintenance of peace and security, Spain stands as a dependable ally, supporter of a multidisciplinary approach to combat potential threats that could jeopardize international stability.

Spain is a resolute advocate of preventive diplomacy and supports dialogue and negotiations for peaceful conflict resolution.

Spain has become an important international actor in addressing, both on its own and in cooperation with others, new menaces such as terrorism, piracy and transnational organized crime.

The defence and promotion of human rights has been another constant endeavour of Spain’s activities in the United Nations: besides being a renowned upholder of the human right to water and sanitation, Spain has worked towards the creation and consolidation of gender equality and engaged relentlessly in the promotion of disabled people’s rights.

It has also signed and ratified almost all international treaties on human rights, being the third country in the world to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the III Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Spain's candidature to the Security Council aims to provide an example of a medium-sized country with an open and plural society, modern while respectful of tradition, faithful to its history as a meeting platform between East and West, North and South. Spain’s global presence, including in the Pacific Ocean, stems from its ability to talk and listen, to reconcile divergent views and build bridges between cultures, regions and interests.

Therefore, Spain bids its commitment to the international community to work from its seat in the Security Council towards achieving more international solidarity and a safer and fairer world.

Member States’ trust and support are, however, a crucial first step.

During my official visit to the Solomon Islands I realized the rich common past shared by this country and Spain.

Indeed, Alvaro de Mendaña will always be present in the hearts and minds of the people of our two countries as a symbol of the first encounter between the Solomon Islands and the outer world.

Honiara has already a street and a hotel named after him.

It will be an honour to participate in the next inauguration of his statue, together with representatives from the Spanish cities of Congosto and Guadalcanal, the birth villages of Mendaña and Pedro Ortega Valencia, pilot in Mendaña’s expedition’s who named the island he first sighted, Guadalcanal, after his home village in Spain.

Nevertheless, I also had the opportunity to envisage our common concerns about present and future national and world challenges: water and sanitation, food security, the preservation of fisheries stocks, energy, climate change etc.

That is why Spain has made significant financial contributions to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), to the Fund on Climate Change and Rural Development, to the Adaptation Fund of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), as well as actively participated in the creation and consolidation of IRENA (International Renewable Energies Agency).

Bearing in mind the long lived historical links and friendship between our countries, and our shared international priorities in multilateral fora, the Solomon Islands can rest assured that Spain’s initiatives in the UNSC during the biennium 2015-2106, if we are elected, will take into full account of the interests the Solomon Islands and other island states of the Pacific.

This will be the case on current political issues like the right to water and sanitation or food security, but also, of course, climate change, in as much as it affects the security of many UN member States.

Spain will take on board the need to defend the aspirations of the Pacific Island States in the reform of the UN main bodies, in particular the Security Council, in order to favour their best possible representation.

Spanish Ambassador to Solomon Islands
Canberra, Australia