Peace and security
The Preamble to the German Basic Law clearly defines the task of German foreign policy: “to promote world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe”. German foreign policy is therefore a policy for peace. This principle is a central part of all the activities of the Federal Foreign Office. Specific examples include Germany’s engagement in the United Nations and the OSCE, in the areas of global disarmament and crisis prevention.
Germany in the General Assembly
The United Nations (UN) was formed following the Second World War to promote and safeguard peace throughout the world. Germany is widely involved in the UN, is now the third‑largest contributor and a potential candidate for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
In 2011 and 2012, Germany was able to play an active role in the work of the Security Council as a non-permanent member. Germany’s priorities included issues such as children and armed conflicts as well as climate change and security. Respect for human rights is a particularly important concern. Germany was elected to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for the period 2013 to 2015, and is seeking immediate re‑election for the period 2016 to 2018.
Germany is also continuing to push for UN reform, so that the organisation embodies a more realistic reflection of today’s global balance of power and can therefore work even more effectively to promote peace.
Crisis prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding
Many severe crises are currently posing major challenges for German foreign policy. The question of how to employ effective prevention measures to avoid crises and conflicts erupting in the first place is therefore becoming increasingly significant. Post-conflict peacebuilding is an important aspect of crisis prevention, since it prevents the renewed outbreak of violent conflicts. As a rule the Federal Foreign Office cooperates with specialist partner organisations in the area of crisis prevention. The main focuses of this engagement are:
- Democracy-building and election observation
- Long-term strengthening of states, for example through police training and promoting the rule of law
- Peace mediation and consolidation in post-conflict states
Disarmament and arms control
Small arms control in Afghanistan
© picture alliance/ dpa
Germany campaigns actively for disarmament, arms control and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and it supports the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. Within the framework of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), Germany is seeking along with nine other states to reduce nuclear risks, for example by means of negotiations on a ban regarding production of fissile material for weapons purposes.
In many countries of the world, Germany promotes projects to control small arms and to implement the ban on landmines and cluster munitions with the aim of seeing it universally applied.
North Atlantic Alliance
The North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) remains a central pillar of German security and defence policy. With 28 members at present, NATO is an important safeguard of security and stability in the Euro‑Atlantic area. Its three core tasks are:
- Collective defence: mutual support in the event of an attack from outside
- Crisis management: operations to prevent and stabilise crises
- Cooperative security: cooperation with non-NATO states to promote international stability
Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe
The OSCE is also a key component of German peace policy. It was formed against the backdrop of the Cold War to promote security and trust in three dimensions: the politico‑military, the economic and environmental and the human dimension. The OSCE still plays an important role for peace in Europe even now that the Cold War is over. Its significance has increased once again as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the OSCE is active in many ways, including with a monitoring mission.
Germany is represented in almost all OSCE long‑term missions and institutions and is the second‑largest contributor after the United States. Germany has been a member of the so‑called OSCE Chairmanship Troika since January 2015 and has assumed the chairmanship of the organisation in 2016.
Last updated 12.01.2016