Singapore joined the UN upon its independence in 1965. As a small nation-state, Singapore has benefited significantly from UN membership. Small states like Singapore now comprise more than half of the UN membership. We believe that small states can, collectively and through closer cooperation, play a greater and more meaningful role in the United Nations.
The UN Charter represents a major advance in the international relations of nation-states. Its principles of sovereign equality, the peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in the internal affairs of states are especially precious to small states. The principle of "one state, one vote" in the General Assembly has also helped to give small states a voice in international affairs. It ensures that the views, interests and concerns of small states are taken into consideration in world affairs. The UN has made the world a safer and better place for smaller states.
Singapore believes in the need to develop a strong, cohesive and effective UN that is responsive to the needs of its members. The UN needs to be constantly revitalised to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Singapore firmly supports and participates actively in the continuing process of UN Reform. Singapore also believes that as the UN is the only global body with universal participation and unquestioned legitimacy, other global processes like the G20 should recognise and reflect this reality. In this regard, groups like the Global Governance Group (3G), comprising 30 small and medium-sized states, which Singapore has helped to form at the UN, can help to strengthen the framework of engagement between the G20 and non-G20 members so that the actions and decisions of processes like the G20, complement and strengthen the UN.
Singapore has worked closely with UN agencies such as the UN Department for Political Affairs, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in support of their work in the region. For instance, Singapore supported the efforts of then-UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, to promote national reconciliation and a political solution in Myanmar following internal unrest in the country in September 2007. As ASEAN Chair from November 2007 to July 2008, Singapore also helped to organise the ASEAN-UN Pledging Conference in May 2008 following Cyclone Nargis. Together with the UNDP, we have also established in Singapore the Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, which will be dedicated to policy research and the global exchange of knowledge and information on public service policies, strategies and institutions.