Following the meeting of the UN Security Council on the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (10 April):
As urged by us, the UN Security Council dealt with the topic of Covid-19 for the first time yesterday and with the involvement of the UN Secretary-General. This is an important step and an encouraging sign. We can only overcome this crisis by acting together and in solidarity. To do this, we need strong United Nations and a strong Security Council.
As we know from the situation in Syria and Libya, a pandemic like Covid-19 exacerbates existing conflicts and has the potential to further destabilise already fragile states and regions. It is therefore crucial that we, the international community, respond to this crisis by working together. The Security Council must also fulfil its responsibility in addressing the pandemic and its impacts on the existing crises and conflicts around the world.
For me, one thing is clear: the UN Security Council must finally fully endorse the UN Secretary-General's call for a global cease-fire. We are working hard, alongside the other elected members of the Security Council, to make sure this happens. The major powers in the Security Council must also put aside the differences that have so far prevented the adoption of a resolution.
Drawing on our expertise and experience as one of the largest state donors in the area of global health, we will use Germany's presidency of the Security Council in July to help create conditions for the council to track the potential impacts of health crises on security early and systematically. We owe this to those affected by conflict and the current pandemic.
We currently need more international coordination, not less. The WHO has an indispensable role to play in tackling this pandemic. Our aim now must be to strengthen and support the organisation and ultimately to ensure it is even better equipped to deal with the challenges of the future. Criticism must always be allowed, but it must be constructive.