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Engagement for multilateralism: Germany assumes the Presidency of the UN Security Council

Germany holds the UN Security Council Presidency in July 2020. (Archive)

Germany holds the UN Security Council Presidency in July 2020. (Archive), © dpa

01.07.2020 - Article

Germany holds the UN Security Council Presidency in July. In addition to addressing ongoing crises in Syria, Yemen and Libya, Germany will set its own priorities for its Presidency: global health, climate and security, human rights and sexual violence in conflicts will be focal points.

COVID-19: A threat to global security

What impact is COVID-19 having on global security? What effect is the pandemic having on fragile states, crises and conflicts, and what help can be provided in these contexts? How can the Security Council respond appropriately to health risks? The Security Council will be discussing these questions right at the start of the German Presidency, on 2 July, with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in the chair – though, given the current situation, it will be a virtual meeting.

Climate and security – setting new accents

Climate change, too, is endangering global security: new conflicts are triggered and existing ones exacerbated, for example in the Lake Chad region, the Sudan or Afghanistan. The effects of climate change are thus central in the work of the Security Council. During its Presidency, Germany wants to set new accents in this area and to get the subject firmly onto the Security Council’s agenda.

Human rights and the fight against sexual violence

The fight against sexual violence in conflicts was a focal point of Germany’s Security Council Presidency in April 2019. A new Security Council resolution put survivors’ rights to the fore and laid the foundations for calling perpetrators to account more swiftly and more effectively. Germany will be taking this issue up again now: sexual violence in conflicts will be the subject of an open debate.

Germany will also be putting human rights on the agenda, particularly with reference to United Nations peace missions. These can only function in the long term if fundamental human rights are safeguarded.

Current crises: Syria, Yemen, Libya

The Security Council’s core task is to maintain international peace and security. It therefore looks daily at the numerous crises and conflicts around the world. In July the Security Council will be addressing Syria and Yemen, with a major focus on humanitarian assistance for the people suffering as a result of the conflict.

The conflict in Libya will also play an important role: following the Berlin Libya Conference in January, Germany continues to advocate  and work towards a political solution. 

Special international responsibility

Germany is assuming the Security Council Presidency at a special juncture: its Presidency of the Council of the European Union commences on 1 July as well. So Germany is assuming special responsibility for the multilateral world order and issuing a clear signal in two central international bodies: the priority now is to strengthen the rules-based order and work together to tackle global challenges.

2019 and 2020 see Germany’s sixth term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. In July, Germany is once again assuming the Presidency of the most important UN body, having previously held it in April 2019.

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