The Dominican Republic’s Hope for April: Smooth Sailing

6 min readApr 2, 2020

The Dominican Republic has the UNSC presidency this month and intends to preside over it “like a sailboat, we’ll go wherever the wind takes us.”

by Stéphanie Fillion. Read more on PassBlue.

José Singer Weisinger, the special envoy of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, in the Security Council, Sept. 18, 2019, with members of his delegation. His country assumes the presidency in April, after a tumultuous month in which the Council suddenly switched to privately held meetings online amid the coronavirus pandemic. ARIANA LINDQUIST/UN PHOTO

With the incremental transformation the Security Council has gone through in March by transferring the bulk of its meetings online, the Dominican Republic’s special envoy to the United Nations intends to preside over the Council “like a sailboat, we’ll go wherever the wind takes us.”

As the agenda of the Council will be adopted on a daily basis, there is little predictability ahead for the body, but José Singer Weisinger, the envoy, promises more transparency: “The important thing is that the whole world knows the Security Council is engaged, and it is completely transparent.”

To do so, the Dominican Republic plans to live-stream some of the Council’s meetings, which have been held by videoconference (VTC) since mid-March, for the first time in the Council’s history. But Russia is still apparently pushing for the virtual meetings to be called “informal” and thus closed to the public — while the Dominican Republic is trying to change this.

Some of the 10 elected members of the Council are also requesting a meeting on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on peace and security — a topic that China, as president of the Council last month, was unable to do for political reasons and possibly because of its own unwillingness, too.

Still, the Council’s program of work is packed for April: the Dominican Republic’s priorities include an open meeting on youth, peace and security as well as protecting civilians from conflict-induced hunger. The Council will also discuss Yemen, Israel-Palestine, Colombia, Syria and the Great Lakes region in West Africa.

Besides the Council’s sudden changes in how it works in the age of Covid-19, Singer will be leading the world body from Santo Domingo, his country’s capital. It’s the Dominican Republic’s last year on the Council until probably 2050, the next time it could get a seat as a member of the Latin American and Caribbean regional group in the UN.

So Singer is leaning on a Caribbean style metaphor, going where the wind takes him, he…


Independent Coverage the United Nations. A project of The New School’s Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs, supported by the Carnegie Corporation.