Germany in the United Nations

21.02.2024 - Article

Germany is a reliable partner to the United Nations. Germany assumes responsibility and works to strengthen the UN and the international order on the basis of international law, the UN Charter and human rights.

50 years of Germany in the United Nations

On 18 September 1973, the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR joined the United Nations (UN). This was a major step for Germany in its return to the international fold. The Federal Government is committed to the principles of the UN Charter and to multilateral engagement in the United Nations. Germany is involved in a large number of UN committees, institutions and peace missions and has been a non-permanent member of the Security Council on five occasions, most recently in 2019–2020. Germany is once again applying for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2027/28 term.

The United Nations in Germany

Over the course of its membership, Germany has steadily expanded and strengthened its engagement in the UN. Many UN institutions are now based in Germany, several of them in Bonn.

Germany’s contribution to the UN system

Germany has been a member of the United Nations since 1973 
Germany has been a member of the United Nations since 1973© dpa/picture alliance

The UN’s budget for 2023 amounts to just under 3.4 billion US dollars. Germany contributes 6.11 percent of this budget, or approximately 208 million US dollars, making it the fourth-largest financial contributor to the regular budget, after the US (22 percent), China (15.25 percent) and Japan (8.03 percent).

The budgets for the individual peace missions are adopted separately. The budget envisaged for the 11 ongoing peace missions for the period from July 2023 to June 2024 is approximately 6.054 billion US dollars. Germany currently contributes 6.11 percent of that amount, making it the fourth-largest financial contribution in this area, too. The permanent members of the Security Council pay a higher share because of their special responsibility for peace missions. The largest financial contributors ahead of Germany are the US (26.95 percent), China (18.69 percent) and Japan (8.033 percent).

In addition, Germany pays assessed contributions to the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (the mechanism mandated to perform a number of functions previously carried out by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda) and to specialised agencies and other UN entities. Germany also makes large voluntary contributions to individual UN programmes and instruments, for example in the field of humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding, and supports the UN in the field of crisis prevention. It is the second-largest voluntary contributor after the US.

In 2022, the Federal Government paid a total of more than 6.8 billion euro (assessed contributions and voluntary contributions) either directly to the UN system or to the UN system in the form of projects, thus making Germany one of the leading donors to the United Nations.

Engagement in United Nations missions

Germany’s engagement in UN missions is an integral part of German foreign and peace policy. Apart from its contributions in the form of financing, personnel and materials, Germany primarily provides support to UN missions through civilian instruments and by promoting stabilisation mechanisms, diplomatic mediation efforts and post-conflict peacebuilding. Across the board Germany provides soldiers, police officers and qualified civilian personnel, as well as valuable capabilities and training measures. Germany also actively supports the reform efforts in the area of peacekeeping. As of January 2024, a total of around 400 Germans are currently deployed to missions of the United Nations.

For example, Germany is part of the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force in Lebanon and of the missions in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Western Sahara (MINURSO) and Kosovo (UNMIK). All of the deployments are conducted within the framework of mutual collective security and in accordance with its rules.

Commitment to reform

Reform of the United Nations Security Council remains a major priority for the German Government. Such reform must ensure that the Council reflects the geopolitical realities of the 21st century. The Security Council’s legitimacy and authority are at risk as long as important regions and major contributors are not adequately represented. Germany therefore actively supports this reform along with its G4 partners Brazil, India and Japan.

Reform endeavours are also underway in other areas. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wants to use a comprehensive reform agenda (Our Common Agenda) to make the UN fit for the challenges of the future. He has defined priorities that Germany supports. In addition to the coherent implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Guterres intends to strengthen conflict prevention and reorganise the UN peace and security architecture.

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