Ethiopia today (September 1) begins its presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The East African nation takes over from Egypt who chaired the council’s activities in August 2017.
The country in June 2016, won a ‘non permanent’ seat on the UNSC, and officially commenced its two year tenure in January this year.
Ethiopia is one of the 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC and it takes its turn in a revolving presidency. The country has said it will use its tenure to focus on resolution of conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and in the Great Lakes region.
Despite security challenges back home by way of anti-government protests that resulted in the imposition of a state of emergency back in October 2016, Ethiopia plays a big security role in the Horn of Africa region.
It is engaged in the fight against Al-Shabaab insurgents in neighbouring Somalia, it is involved in peace efforts in South Sudan and is Africa’s largest contributor to peacekeeping efforts.
Ethiopia has planned a meeting on September 20 to deliberate on efforts to boost peacekeeping forces in terms of numbers and capability. The non-permanent seat at the UNSC is occupied for a two year period. Ethiopia’s tenure is expected to span 2017- 2018.
It is the third time the country is serving on the global security body. They had previously served from 1968 – 1969 and 1989 – 1990.
The UN Security Council has five permanent members – United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China and France – and 10 non-permanent members. Only the permanent members can veto decisions of the council.