Speech by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace of the UN General Assembly

24.04.2018 - Speech

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Mr President,
Mr Secretary-General,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly for convening today’s meeting, which could not have come at a better time.

The international community faces many conflicts and problems. We all know the main ones – climate change, forced displacement, migration and terrorism, to name just a few.

We are also seeing a growing divide between those who support openness and tolerance and those who preach isolation and a return to nationalism.

There is also a divide between those who believe in the benefits of rules-based international cooperation and those who seek confrontation and firmly refuse to compromise on the world stage.

Seldom has the competition for global order been so intense or the need to work closely together so great.

The inhumane conduct by the Assad regime is an attack on the core values of the international community.

We must not close our eyes to it. The violations of fundamental international humanitarian law cannot go unpunished.

Those responsible must be held accountable. The blockade of the United Nations Security Council poses a dangerous challenge to the international community’s ability to act.

That is why, ladies and gentlemen, we need to rethink our approach for the future.

  • We must seek dialogue instead of confrontation.
  • We must invest in disarmament instead of rearmament.
  • And we must focus on prevention instead of intervention.

The international community must demonstrate the ability to act in all phases of a conflict, from prevention and conflict resolution to stabilisation, post-conflict peacebuilding and sustainable development.

  • We cannot only address conflicts once they are on the front pages of the newspapers.
  • Furthermore, we must not lose our focus too soon, let alone accept frozen conflicts. We need to be resolute in our search for political solutions.
  • Most importantly, however, we need all those involved, but especially the Security Council, to take on political responsibility.

Let me give you just one example. The international community is active in the Sahel region, where it is conducting a wide range of peace and training missions and providing border-management support and humanitarian aid.

However, these measures will only succeed if the necessary peace and reconciliation processes can be brought to a conclusion that is acceptable to all.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We firmly believe that preserving and enhancing our rules-based order, with the United Nations at its heart, is the best way to create peace.

That is why Germany strongly supports the aim of Secretary-General António Guterres to make the United Nations more effective and to put the focus on prevention.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Modern peace policy needs to be funded in the right way.

It is not efficient if peacekeeping missions that cost billions are followed by peacebuilding plans that lack funds.

That is why we have responded to the Secretary-General’s call for a quantum leap.

Germany has more than tripled its budget for crisis prevention, stabilisation and humanitarian aid to 2.5 billion euros in 2017. We were the second-largest donor to the Peacebuilding Fund last year and will make another large contribution this year. We call on others, including those who do not usually contribute, to play their part.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Germany promotes prevention and a far-reaching definition of security.

It is aware of the work needed for the challenging transitions from peacekeeping to peacebuilding. And it actively supports close cooperation between the Security Council, General Assembly, Peacebuilding Commission and Human Rights Council.

Should your votes elect us to the Security Council for the 2019/20 term, we will continue working with you on forward-looking and modern peace policy. That is something we owe to future generations.

Thank you very much.


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