Responsibility, reliability and commitment - Germany in the UN Security Council 2011-2012
At the start of Germany’s two-year term as a member of the United Nations Security Council, Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle yesterday (2 January) issued the following statement:
“Yesterday the Federal Republic of Germany began its fifth term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This means our country will shoulder a special responsibility for international affairs over the next two years. We embark on this new task well prepared and with clear ideas about what we want to achieve.
In the Security Council Germany will be a reliable, responsible and committed partner.
We will play our part in enabling the Security Council to fulfil its role effectively as the key authority on matters of world peace and security. We will strive hard to bring about political solutions to international and regional conflicts. One thing must be clear here: Germany will live up to its international responsibilities - but it also stands for a culture of military restraint. Right at the start of the year the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the future of the Sudan will be on our agenda. In both countries the United Nations not only has major peace missions in place but also politically will need to play an active role in brokering peaceful solutions to the crises there.
Where Afghanistan is concerned, this will be a very important year that will launch the process of handing over responsibility to the Afghans. The United Nations and its mission in the country will have a crucial role to play in seeking the political solution that must complement the progressive transfer of responsibility. Our aim is already this year to make significant headway on the handover of responsibility and by the end of 2011 for the first time to reduce the size of our Bundeswehr contingent there. We will therefore strongly support the efforts under way to bring about a political solution.”
Provided no emergency meetings are convened during the holiday period (3 January is an official UN holiday), the Security Council will hold initial consultations on 4 January at the level of the 1/2 so-called coordinators. On 5 January it will deliberate at ambassador level on the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).
Other topics on which consultations are scheduled for January are the Sudan, Somalia, the Middle East, Haiti and UNRCCA (United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia). The Presidency of the Security Council in January is held by Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Items currently on the agenda are the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the United Nations operation there (UNOCI) as well as the situation in the Sudan, where the referendum on the issue of independence for the south is due to begin on 9 January and likely to end on 15 January. The results are expected to be announced in early February. The Sudan will probably remain high on the Security Council’s agenda throughout the coming six months.
On the subject of Afghanistan, the extension of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) is due in March and the UN mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is due for renewal in October 2011. Germany will make an active contribution in this connection.
Another thematic priority of Germany’s membership of the Security Council will be peace building in the sense of post-conflict peace consolidation and conflict prevention. From the start Germany was a staunch supporter of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and in 2010 served as chair of the Organizing Committee. The PBC Review carried out over this period found there was above all a need for the work of the PBC and the work of the Security Council to be more closely linked. Germany would also like to see the mandates of UN peace missions give greater consideration to the peace building dimension already during the peacekeeping phase. There is a need for a holistic approach that incorporates relevant political, economic, social and environmental aspects into efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Another cross-cutting issue Germany hopes to advance is the protection of children in situations of armed conflict. The Security Council has set up a special working group to address this problem. The most important Security Council resolutions on the subject (1612 and 1882) established a mechanism enabling the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to draw up a list of state and non-state conflict parties that employ child soldiers or kill, maim or sexually abuse children. Her most recent report listed 58 such parties in 13 countries. Germany will use its membership of the Security Council to press for further improvements in the international system for the protection of children affected by war and conflict