Germany: Member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-20
Logo – 50 Years Germany in the United Nations, © Federal Foreign Office
On 8 June 2018, Germany was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 term. This is the sixth time that the country has assumed major responsibility for peace and security in this function.
Germany has been a non permanent member of the Security Council for a two year term since 1 January 2019. Germany will help to manage and prevent conflicts around the world in this role. In addition, Germany’s priorities will include climate and security, women, peace and security, humanitarian aid workers and international disarmament .
With its five permanent members and ten non permanent members elected for two year terms, the UN Security Council is the only body whose decisions are binding under international law. Germany last held a non permanent seat on the Security Council in 2011 12. Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia and South Africa were also elected to non permanent seats on the Security Council.
Germany’s priorities in the Security Council
The Security Council is the most important organ of the United Nations for guaranteeing peace and security worldwide. Germany’s membership will therefore also focus on conflict resolution. Moreover, Germany will work to ensure that the Security Council is even more active in the area of conflict prevention than was the case in the past.
Germany also intends to include selected issues on the agenda of the Security Council that go beyond the crises of today. This includes, firstly, links between climate change and security policy as climate change is becoming a security issue for an increasing number of countries, for example for small island states that are exposed to rising sea levels. In August 2018, Germany established the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security together with Nauru. Germany will build on this in the Security Council.
Secondly, Germany will advance the women, peace and security agenda, which aims not only to help women play a stronger role in preventing and managing conflicts, but also to better protect them against sexualised violence in conflicts. Both of these are core elements of German foreign, security, defence and development policy. It is in this context that Germany is assuming the co chairmanship, together with Peru, of the Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security in 2019.
Thirdly, Germany will work to strengthen the humanitarian system. The focus here will be on improving the application of international humanitarian law, protecting humanitarian aid workers, ensuring humanitarian access and improving the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts. As the second-largest state donor, Germany is already one of the most important stakeholders in the humanitarian field.
Fourthly, Germany intends to inject fresh impetus into the issue of disarmament and arms control and is committed to a new international arms control regime, one that is not just limited to nuclear, but also includes autonomous arms systems, for example.
Finally, the joint consideration of human rights and security remains another key priority for Germany in the Security Council. Massive human rights violations, which are often the cause of conflicts, must also be discussed in the Security Council.
The timeframe for Germany’s membership of the Security Council
Germany has attended all meetings of the Security Council as an observer since 1 October 2018, becoming a full member on 1 January 2019 .
France will assume the Presidency in March, followed by Germany in April. Both presidencies will be linked for the first time in the history of the Security Council and will focus on the overarching issue of how the humanitarian system can be strengthened. Priorities on the agenda will include how to strengthen international humanitarian law and principles, protect humanitarian workers in crisis regions and enhance access to them.
Germany’s work in the United Nations
Germany is already heavily involved in the United Nations politically, financially and in terms of personnel in addition to its humanitarian commitment as the fourth largest contributor to the regular and peacekeeping budgets and as the second largest donor of official development assistance. In addition, Germany has become one of the largest Western troop contributing nations to UN peacekeeping missions.