International peace and security
According to Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, the organisation’s purposes are to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation in solving global problems and encourage respect for human rights. The Charter entered into force on 24 October 1945. Today, 193 countries – almost every country in the world – are members of the UN.
Seventy-five years after its foundation, the UN remains as important as ever.
Be it measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Security Council discussions of ongoing crises, or peace missions around the world – the UN remains the forum where the major questions concerning war and peace are debated. The conflicts in Syria, Libya and Yemen are on the Security Council’s agenda. Meanwhile, people from all over the world work hand in hand in peace missions to safeguard peace and stability on the ground, for example in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Mali. Naturally, the 193 member countries do not always agree with each other, but the UN is still the most important forum for international discussion.
The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell,
then Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld once said.
The UN is the only forum in which almost every country in the world is represented. All countries meet as equals in the General Assembly. This means that the UN is also the only forum where contentious issues can be discussed with almost all countries. For example, the Human Rights Council is the only body where human rights can be discussed with such a large number of nations.
The UN has achieved a great deal through multilateral cooperation, ranging from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the foundation of the World Health Organization to support for refugees. The organisation will remain important in the future. The pressing challenges of our time can only be tackled by working together, be it on climate change, the impact of digital transformation or the further protection of human rights.
Germany on the Security Council and Human Rights Council
Germany is actively committed to multilateral cooperation in the UN and is taking on special responsibility in 2019 and 2020 as a member of the Security Council, where it is working to improve the protection of women against sexual violence in conflicts, to strengthen the humanitarian system, to further the topic of disarmament and to discuss climate and security policy. Germany will also be a member of the Human Rights Council from 2020 to 2022.