Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to the United Nations Security Council

11.02.2011 - Speech

“Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Interdependence between security and development”

Mr. President,


I would like to thank the Brazilian Presidency for preparing today's debate. Also, I would like to thank the Secretary-General and Sarah Cliffe as well as the chairman of the peacebuilding comission for their briefings. They have set the stage for our discussions.

Germany aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the Delegation of the European Union on behalf of the Union.

Almost ten years ago, UNDP's first Arab Human Development Report identified three major obstacles to development in the Arab world. First, a lack of political participation, second, shortcomings in the education system and third, disadvantages for women in society, the economy and politics. These conclusions are still valid today.

We are witnessing turbulent times in the Middle East. The situation south of the Mediterranean Sea perfectly fits the topic of our discussion today.

Egypt is a great country. The proud people of Egypt deserve to enjoy the peaceful transformation of their society. It is up to the Egyptian people to determine who will lead their country. They must be given the chance to do so now.

The people who are demonstrating in the streets of Cairo are not demanding freedom or jobs, they want both at the same time. Both belong together. People want to decide themselves how to live their lives. They want the opportunity to shape a better future.

When people have little economic perspective and cannot participate in the political life of their country, this does not contribute to stability. On the contrary: Repression of political participation, repression of human rights and economic freedom will lead to instability.

What the international community can do is offer its support for democratic transition.

Germany is ready to co-operate. Europe has offered a partnership for transformation. We are ready to fill our offer with life.

Progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals has been especially slow in fragile or conflict-ridden countries. No fragile or conflict-affected country has yet achieved one of the Millennium Development Goals.

Because peace and security and development are inseparable, this discussion constitutes an essential part of our work here in the Security Council.

Human rights are key to human dignity. They are the third element in the equation. Peace and security, development, and human rights together shape a world worth living in.

Almost all conflicts illustrate the extent to which these three are interlinked. Let me give you some examples.

In Afghanistan, it has never been enough to look at the conflict only with an eye on security. In this country that has been devastated by decades of war development is urgent. This is the reason why we invest in developing the local economy and support creating a civilian future for the people.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo the abundance of natural resources should provide an income for the local population and reliable taxes for public tasks. Instead, we are witnessing some of the most abhorrent crimes of our time. Sanctions and peacekeeping alone cannot solve these problems. We need to invest more and we need to invest more intelligently in gaining peace. That is why Germany supports projects for the certification of mineral resources. The economy of the entire region will benefit from our ongoing efforts to rebuild Goma airport.

Through the referendum in Sudan the people have voiced their choice in an impressive manner. I commend the authorities of Sudan for publicly accepting the outcome of the referendum. Now we need to prepare for the post-referendum process and the preparation of Southern Sudan's independence.

Germany stands ready to assist and to counsel both sides, North and South. We need both sides to be stable and to continue on the road to democracy and economic progress.

Germany encourages the Security Council to address the issue of peace-building as early as possible. The idea of peace-building should guide our work when we mandate, extend or downsize peacekeeping operations.

In this regard, the Peacebuilding Commission, which my country had the honour to chair, can provide valuable advice to the Security Council.

Development always has to do with institutional frameworks. Development presupposes a fair and efficient tax system. Respect for the rule of law is decisive. Development requires independent judges and a reliable police force. Development needs a public sector without corruption and as little “red tape” as possible. But in the end, these institutional frameworks alone do not lead to the creation of jobs. Business does. Development depends on an active private sector.

On the one hand, we need to empower private actors so that they can create opportunities for a better future.

On the other hand, business success brings with it a responsibility. Businesses should commit to aligning their operations and strategies with the principles of the UN Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and the fight against corruption.

Every conflict is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all-approach. In some cases, climate change may be a serious obstacle to development and thus may become a major cause of conflict. In other cases, other factors may be more decisive. In all stages of the process of building peace, signing peace agreements and introducing development programmes, we need a stronger role for women and greater protection of children and their rights. The Security Council needs to look at every specific case on its own merits.

Germany is and will continue to be a reliable partner when it comes to safeguarding peace and promoting development. This will not change. We will live up to our responsibilities.

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