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An Enduring Contribution? Australia's Term on the United Nations Security Council (2013-2014)

Published 30 Jun 2021
Michael Bliss & Gary Quinlan AO (Afterword)

An Enduring Contribution? Australia’s Term on the United Nations Security Council (2013-2014)

The Australian Institute of International Affairs is pleased to present the second instalment of the Diplomatic History Series.

As Australia took up its role as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council for 2013-2014, the challenges ahead were all too apparent. Dynamics between the five permanent members were particularly tense. Options for elected members to make a serious contribution appeared more limited than ever. The Council was unable to find consensus on how to address the most pressing threats to international peace and security.

As political coordinator for Australia’s Security Council delegation across the Council’s 2013-2014 term, Michael Bliss had a unique insight into the workings of the Council, into Australia’s contributions, and into the relationships and diplomacy that underpinned the outcomes achieved. This monograph, published six years after Australia’s fifth Council term concluded, seeks to contextualise Australia’s work during its term, and to track how those contributions have endured and resonated in subsequent years.

As a senior officer of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a specialist in multilateral affairs, an experienced diplomat and international lawyer, and an unrelenting optimist, Bliss is well placed to tell this recent story of Australian diplomacy. In doing so, he makes a compelling case that it is in Australia’s interests to seek to again “serve with distinction” as an elected member on the Security Council, in 2029-2030.

Based on Australia’s experience in 2013-2014, Gary Quinlan AO, former Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations (2009-2014) in his afterword asks the question of whether the Council has a future? Australia is a declared candidate for election for the 2029-2030 term but what kind of Council might we face and what are the dynamics that will affect our role?


A PDF version is available for download.

An Enduring Contribution? Australia’s Term on the United Nations Security Council (2013-2014)

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