At the beginning of July 2022, the annual high-level political forum on sustainable development was held at the UN in New York, where the Minister of Education and Science, Anita Muizniece, presented to the UN member states the achievements in the implementation of the sustainable development goals. On July 20, 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkevics, met with the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Rebecca Grynspan, who visited Riga to discuss global food security issues. On July 21, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics met with the President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives Abdulla Shahid and discussed Latvia’s active contribution to the UN agenda and the international impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. On July 21, 2022, Latvia submitted a declaration to the UN International Court of Justice, requesting permission to participate as a third party in the case “Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. With its active involvement in the UN agenda and providing support to neighbouring countries, Latvia shows itself as an important and growing player in global politics.
In the 30 years since Latvia has been a full member of the United Nations (UN), it has clearly demonstrated to the international community that it belongs to western democratic values and has stood up for the observance of international legal norms. As one of the member states of the UN, the main goal of Latvia is to protect and strengthen an international environment favourable to national security, in which the principles of democracy and human rights, as well as global rule of law, are observed. Participation in the UN is considered one of the most important directions of Latvia’s foreign policy, in order to defend national interests, strengthen statehood, as well as to participate in international developments, advocating for a rights-based international system, thus preserving and increasing global security and stability. Having been a member of the UN for 30 years, Latvia, implementing the development policy of the European Union and creating its own development cooperation policy, has turned from an aid recipient to an aid provider or donor country. Latvia builds bilateral relations with other countries, participates in peacekeeping missions, as well as works in UN structures and solves humanity’s problems. Read more about the most important recent notable events in this briefing.
On September 17 of this year, it will be 31 years since Latvia became a member of the UN and the flag of the country was ceremoniously raised at the UN headquarters in New York. With the participation in the UN, the regained independence and sovereignty of the Latvian state was strengthened, and Latvia fully returned to the international arena.
The United Nations was the first international organization that Latvia joined shortly after regaining independence in 1991. At the beginning of the 1990s, the representation of the UN Development Program in Latvia made a significant contribution to the strengthening of Latvian state administration and the development of society. For more than 15 years, both within the framework of the European Union’s development policy and in creating its own development cooperation policy, Latvia has turned from a recipient of aid to a donor country.
During thirty years, UN Latvia has clearly demonstrated to the international community its adherence to western democratic values and has advocated compliance with international law. Latvia is actively involved in the UN agenda, providing its experience and expertise. Within the framework of the UN system, Latvia has been elected to such important UN bodies as the Human Rights Council, the Economic and Social Affairs Council, the Commission on the Status of Women, and others. For the next five years, the goal is to become a member state of the UN Security Council in 2026-2027. year. Since 2016, Latvia has also contributed to UN peacekeeping.
Latvia is a promoter of multilateral cooperation or multilateralism. At the UN, Latvia will continue to advance initiatives in line with national interests and expertise, encouraging solutions at the global level. For example, since 2020, Latvia has been promoting the topic of public resistance to disinformation within the UN. The UN format is unique in that it provides an opportunity to build relations with all the countries of the world with which Latvia does not have close cooperation and contacts on a daily basis.
15 countries are represented in the UN Security Council: five permanent members with veto rights and ten non-permanent ones. The UN Charter states that member states entrust the Security Council with the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Decisions of the UN Security Council on matters of procedure are taken by at least nine out of 15 votes. By becoming a member state of the Security Council, Latvia would participate in the approval of the UN agenda.
II Recent events
At the beginning of July, from July 5 to 15, 2022, the annual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development was held at the UN in New York, during which Latvia’s report on the achievements in the implementation of sustainable development goals was presented on July 12. This was the second time that Latvia presented a progress report in this format. The delegation was led by the Minister of Education and Science, Anita Muizniece.
UN member states were introduced to Latvia’s success in implementing sustainable development goals, including emphasizing the achievements of recent years in strengthening Latvia’s development cooperation policy. When sharing Latvia’s experience, examples of good practice that can accelerate the achievement of goals were emphasized, such as the issuance of Latvian sustainable government bonds, the use of the mission approach and “Mission Sea 2030”, building mutual understanding through culture. Latvia’s goal is the development of an innovative and eco-efficient economy that leaves no one behind.
On July 20, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics met with the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebecca Grynspan, who was visiting Riga. E. Rinkevics noted that the role and challenges of UNCTAD are growing, as the differences between countries in social security, education, gender equality and nutrition, especially due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, are getting bigger. Also, the negotiating partners discussed the issue of sanctions related to the export of grain and mineral fertilizers from Ukraine.
On July 21, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevics met with the President of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, and discussed Latvia’s active contribution to the UN agenda and the international impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. When discussing the support of Latvia and UN structures to Ukraine and its people, the need for more active involvement of the UN in stopping Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and holding Russia accountable was emphasized. E. Rinkevics appreciated the attention paid by A. Shahid’s presidency in the UN General Assembly to geopolitical challenges, mitigation of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, issues of sustainable development and gender equality. This was the first visit of the President of the UN General Assembly to Latvia, where the importance of Latvia’s cooperation in the UN agenda was confirmed.
On July 21, 2022, in The Hague, Latvia submitted a declaration to the UN International Court of Justice, requesting permission to participate as a third party in the case “Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. This was the first time in Latvia’s history that Latvia has exercised its right contained in Article 63 of the Statute of the UN International Court of Justice to request permission to participate as a third party in a case based on the interpretation of a convention to which Latvia is a member. With such a declaration, Latvia expresses its readiness to provide an interpretation of several norms of the 1948 UN Convention on the Inadmissibility and Punishment of Genocide, which Ukraine referred to in its February 26, 2022, application against the Russian Federation. Thus, Latvia will be able to aid the UN International Court of Justice in the examination of the case, once again confirming its unwavering support for the rules-based international order.
By joining the UN, our country was recognized at the international level. Membership in the UN has been one of Latvia’s foreign policy instruments for strengthening the irreversibility of statehood, defence of national interests and involvement in global processes. Without participation in the UN, Latvia would have problems with joining the European Union and NATO. Latvia has set the goal of becoming a member of the UN Security Council in 2026 and 2027. The UN Security Council makes legally binding decisions. Its resolutions have the force of law, and if a UN member does not comply with them, sanctions can be applied to that country. Membership in the UN Security Council is essential for Latvia’s security. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself to other countries, develop connections with regions of the world where Latvia is less known, and create a positive image of the country. The geopolitical opposition in the world is very pronounced, so Latvia, as an independent country, must be very active here and use both the provided platform and its own knowledge to help solve global problems and make a positive impact on the world.
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Original Briefing on the China-CEE Institute website – https://china-cee.eu/2022/08/09/latvia-external-relations-briefing-latvia-actively-participates-in-the-un-agenda/
Šo rakstu sagatavoja Latvijas Zinātņu akadēmijas Ekonomikas institūts, tas ir tapis sadarbībā ar China-CEE Institute un ir China-CEE Institute intelektuālais īpašums.
This briefing was written by the Institute of Economics of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with the China-CEE Institute, and is the intellectual property of the China CEE-Institute.