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Peace and security

The Preamble to the German Basic Law 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.

United Nations

Germany in the General Assembly

Germany in the General Assembly
© photothek.net

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Germany in the General Assembly

Germany in the General Assembly

Germany in the General Assembly

The United Nations (UN) was founded following the Second World War to promote and safeguard peace throughout the world. Germany is widely involved in the UN and is now the fourth-largest contributor and a potential candidate for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

Germany is taking a comprehensive approach to advancing the cause of peace and security worldwide. In a world in which great distances can be travelled in a matter of hours, Germany’s neighbourhood has expanded. It is also for this reason that Germany is involved in United Nations peace missions around the globe, contributing policemen and women in Haiti and military forces in Mali, to name but two examples.

In 2011 and 2012, Germany played an active role in the work of the Security Council as a non-permanent member. The country’s priorities included issues such as children and armed conflicts and climate change and security. Germany is currently once again applying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2019/20.

Moreover, Germany is pushing for UN reform, especially of the UN Security Council, in order for the organisation to embody a more realistic reflection of today’s global balance of power and therefore work even more effectively to promote peace and security.

More about the reform of the Security Council

Respect for human rights is a particularly important concern. From 2013 to 2015, Germany was a member of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and also provided the Council Chair in the person of Ambassador Rücker. Germany’s work as a bridge-builder was universally recognised: the country was re‑elected for the period 2016 to 2018.

More about the United Nations

Crisis prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding

Many severe crises are 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. 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

More on crisis prevention and post‑conflict peacebuilding

Disarmament and arms control

Small arms control in Afghanistan

Small arms control in Afghanistan
© picture alliance/ dpa

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Small arms control in Afghanistan

Small arms control in Afghanistan

Small arms control in Afghanistan

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.

More on disarmament and arms control

North Atlantic Alliance

The North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) remains a central pillar of German security and defence policy. With its current 28 members, NATO is an important guarantor 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

More on NATO

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. It has been a member of the OSCE Troika since January 2015 and assumed the chairmanship of the organisation on 1 January 2016.

More on the OSCE


Last updated 22.02.2016

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