Germany on the UN Security Council: a look back

Germany's term as a non‑permanent member of the UN Security Council came to an end at the close of 2012. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle presented a review of the two years to the cabinet on 19 December. The 40‑page report “Germany in the UN Security Council in 2011-12”, summarizes the issues the Security Council has dealt with over the past two years. The Council's work was dominated in particular by the radical changes in the Arab world. But the "traditional" focus, the continent of Africa, was also a prime concern.

The report gives an impression of the “remarkable range of issues and problems” handled by the Security Council, Foreign Minister Westerwelle writes in the foreword. The popular image that the Security Council only takes decisions on military interventions and sanctions does not reflect its real role, the Minister goes on: “The focus of its work is on finding political solutions, on reaching consensus on the political processes without which armed conflicts can rarely be permanently solved and without which lasting peace and stability cannot be achieved.”

Focuses of Germany's work

The report also points to the issues highlighted by Germany during its membership of the Security Council, for instance as chair of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and of the Al‑Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, and as a lead on the Afghanistan dossier. With the adoption, in July 2011 and September 2012 respectively, of presidential statements on climate change and security and on the new commendable role assumed by the Arab League, Germany successfully anchored key issues on the Council’s agenda, Foreign Minister Westerwelle goes on.

Germany was one of ten non‑permanent members of the Security Council for the years 2011 - 2012. During this time it twice held the rotating Presidency- in July 2011 and in September 2012. the Security Council is the only body in the United Nations that can take decisions binding under international law. It bears primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

Diverse engagement in the United Nations

Although Germany would lose influence in the United Nations with the end of its Security Council membership, Westerwelle said, “Our efforts have been recognized by other countries.” And Germany’s engagement in the United Nations will remain diverse and intensive in future – as a newly elected member of the UN Human Rights Council from 2013, as one of the biggest contributors in financial terms, or as a troop-contributing country for the UN missions in Lebanon, South Sudan and Darfur.

“German foreign policy will continue to view the United Nations as an indispensable force in the pursuit of a value and rule‑based approach to globalization,” says Foreign Minister Westerwelle.

Last updated 02.01.2013

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