Kuwait at the United Nations General Assembly
The Security Council, at its 1034th meeting, held on the 7th of May 1963 unanimously decided to recommend to the General Assembly that Kuwait be admitted to membership to the United Nations. Following this recommendation, the General Assembly, at its Fourth Special Session, in its 1203rd plenary meeting on 14th May 1963, adopted resolution 1872 admitting the State of Kuwait to membership in the United Nations. As a result, the State of Kuwait became the 111th member state of the United Nations. His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, serving as Foreign Minister at that time, addressed the General Assembly at its Fourth Special Session. The flag raising ceremony of the State of Kuwait at United Nations Headquarters took place on the 15th of May 1963.
Since its membership to the United Nations, the State of Kuwait has made significant contributions to the work of the United Nations, and has been an active partner, working closely to promoting the noble principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter. The Permanent Mission of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations has been responsible for carrying out the State of Kuwait’s participation at the United Nations.
Committed to Multilateralism:
1– An effective partner in the maintenance of international peace and security:
Although a small country, the State of Kuwait has multilateral depth, knowledge and experience stemming from its memberships in various regional and international organizations, most notably: the Gulf Cooperation Council of Arab States, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Group of 77 + China, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Its multilateral diplomacy dealings via these numerous, diverse organizations have given the State of Kuwait experience in mediating between parties as well as fostering partnerships in the midst of multifaceted regional and international challenges that have threatened regional and international peace and security.
Furthermore, the State of Kuwait held a non-permanent seat in the main United Nations organ primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security, that being the Security Council, during the period 1978 – 1979 (one of two seats allocated to the Asian group). It held the presidency of the Security Council for the first time in February 1979, during the tenure of H.E. Ambassador Abdallah Yaqoub Bishara. At that time, Ambassador Bishara played a pivotal role in representing the Arab point of view in the Security Council vis-à-vis the crisis in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The State of Kuwait has put forth its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for the period 2018-2019, with a focus on conflict prevention by investing in the capabilities of the United Nations in the field of preventive diplomacy; as well as dealing with crises that threaten international peace and security in an orderly, prompt and efficient manner via mediation efforts to resolve them through peaceful means.
2- A committed partner in sustainable development:
Just a few months after its independence in 1961, the State of Kuwait established the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, becoming the first developing country to establish a fund to provide economic assistance to fellow developing countries. Robert McNamara, the president of the World Bank from 1968 - 1981, wrote of the fund: “When first established in 1961 the Kuwait Fund was without precedent. Here was Kuwait, a tiny country, until recently among the poorest places on earth, establishing a development fund in the year of its political independence. While welcoming its new found prosperity, it was declaring a willingness to share its future wealth with its Arab neighbors.” Since its establishment in 1961, the Kuwait Fund has provided over 900 development assistance loans to over 100 nations totaling over $19 billion USD, making it one of the most active players in the field of development.
The 70th United Nations General Assembly session was a milestone in the organization’s history, especially following the adoption of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. In the State of Kuwait, the international community can be rest assured of a committed partner in development that will play an important role in the international efforts towards helping developing nations achieve these sustainable development goals. The State of Kuwait has announced that it will continue to provide development assistance loans within the program of the Kuwait Fund’s operations over the coming 15 years in the amount of $15 billion USD to achieve the noble and ambitious Sustainable Development Agenda.
3- A leader in humanitarian action:
The rise in the number of conflicts in the world has also brought with it challenges of a humanitarian nature, most notably: internally displaced persons, refugees, and a lack of basic needs for populations due to ongoing conflicts. Suffering in the world has reached levels not seen since World War II. As of May 2016, the number of people in need of Humanitarian assistance was a staggering 130 million worldwide. Conflicts have driven tens of millions of innocent people to the edge of survival.
The Syrian conflict, which has been going on since 2011, was the most notable of these conflicts, with many labeling it as the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation. In response to the dire humanitarian situation, the State of Kuwait, at the request of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, hosted 3 International Humanitarian Pledging Conferences for Syria in 2013 (Kuwait 1), 2014 (Kuwait 2), and 2015 (Kuwait 3). This was a clear testament to the State of Kuwait’s global commitment to humanitarian action. The State of Kuwait pledged $300 million USD in Kuwait 1, $500 million USD in Kuwait 2, and $500 million USD in Kuwait 3. Over $7 billion USD was raised at these three pledging conference in order to alleviate suffering and provide security and solace to those who have suffered so much as a result of the Syrian conflict. Furthermore, the State of Kuwait co-chaired, along with the United Kingdom, Norway, and Germany, the Supporting Syria & the Region Conference held in London in February 2016. The State of Kuwait, once again, pledged significantly in the sum of $300 million USD. In addition, the State of Kuwait was actively engaged at the First World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in May 2016, in which His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah headed the State of Kuwait’s delegation, and His Excellency the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah co-chaired the High Level Leaders Round Table on Humanitarian Financing: Investing in Humanity.
The State of Kuwait’s exemplary leadership in global humanitarian action was recognized by the United Nations at a ceremony held at the United Nations Headquarters on the 9th of September 2014, whereby His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was presented with a certificate of appreciation by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in recognition of His Highness’ generous contributions, efforts, and continuous support as a “Humanitarian Leader” towards the United Nations humanitarian operations to save lives and alleviate suffering around the world.
Such humanitarian contributions has seen the State of Kuwait ranked by Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2015 as the top donor of international humanitarian assistance as a percentage of its gross national income in 2014 at 0.24%. The State of Kuwait was ranked by IRIN as the most generous humanitarian aid donor (humanitarian funding compared to gross national income) in 2015 at 0.184%. Furthermore, Oxfam reported that the State of Kuwait was the most generous in its funding committed to the Syrian crisis response appeals for 2015 as a percentage fair share contributed, standing at 554%.
Notable agencies & offices of the United Nations hosted by the State of Kuwait at the United Nations House in Kuwait:
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Furthermore, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a regional office in the State of Kuwait that covers the Arabian Gulf States.
Kuwait’s memberships in United Nations bodies:
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Certification of Appreciation given to HH The Amir of the State of Kuwait by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in appreciation for His Highness' generous contributions, efforts, and continuous support as a humanitarian leader.
The State of Kuwait's Candidacy Logo a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for 2018-2019
Flag raising ceremony at United Nations Headquarters
HH The Amir of the State of Kuwait speaking to the United Nations General Assembly following the adoption of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
HH The Amir of the State of Kuwait and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the Second International Pledging Conference for Syria in 2014