Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement prior to the Security Council debate on pandemics and security today (2 July):
The men and women who signed the Charter of the United Nations 75 years ago charged the Security Council with maintaining international peace and security. Today we know that a virus can be deadlier than a firearm, that a cyber attack can cause more harm than a soldier, and that climate change threatens more people than most conventional weapons. Our programme for the Presidency of the Security Council builds on this broad understanding of peace and security. The Security Council must be in a position to act rapidly and to act preventively.
Today we have placed the nexus between pandemics and security on the agenda. Global health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate the humanitarian situation in crisis areas worldwide and add more fuel to socio-economic conflicts. Pandemics increase poverty, unemployment and distrust in public institutions – all of which are root causes of armed conflict. This is a highly topical issue for the Security Council.
Just yesterday, the Security Council finally sent a key message of political unity by endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. This was long overdue, and was something I personally feel strongly about. The parties to conflicts around the world are now called upon to silence their guns for 90 days in order to give the people in crisis areas the pause for breath that they so desperately need. They should also grant humanitarian aid workers access so that they can carry out their vital work. The Security Council remains crucial to the implementation of this appeal.