Kim P. Butler: Mauritius finds a good friend in Canada

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The last several years have seen multiple crises engulf global affairs, and we are in the midst of one of the most daunting ones 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 a 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. 

Against this backdrop, the United Nations will 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. 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. 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 shares strong bonds with Mauritius, dating back to the independence of Mauritius in 1968. Today, the Canada-Mauritius relationship is anchored in shared priorities of climate action, inclusive economic growth and gender equality, among others.  As members of both the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, we also share languages, and over the years, Canada has welcomed many Mauritians to settle and study in Canada. Mauritians have and continue to make an invaluable contribution to Canada’s economy and Canadian society.  And as the number of Mauritians choosing to study in Canada continues to grow, so too do the connections between Canadian and Mauritian educational institutions.

More broadly in response to the pandemic, Canada has announced a contribution of approximately US$600 million in support of global efforts to combat COVID-19 and over US$440 million for vaccine research through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Canada is also providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with a contribution of 400,000 “N95” masks to support continental efforts. And the High Commission of Canada to Mauritius in South Africa is allocating $150,000 USD to the World Health Organization office in Mauritius to address urgent needs. 

Further, Canada has not forgotten about ongoing global challenges. It has contributed US$35 million to efforts to eradicate polio and US$226 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. It is accessible and nimble and will play a positive and constructive role on the Security Council, as it has done in the past. Canada is committed to ensuring that the views and interests of all players are represented. 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. 

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