UN Security Council: becoming big between great powers

Germany's election to the UN Security Council is safe. Two years is enough time to mediate – in crisis countries, but also within the United Nations.

UN Security Council: becoming big between great powers

The United Nations General Assembly (UN) decides on Friday which countries will receive five of ten temporary seats in Security Council. Six Member States – Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia, Maldives and South Africa – have applied for period from 2019 up to and including 2020. Germany's choice is considered safe. The Federal Republic will have chance to influence highest level of global crisis management. At latest, it should be about becoming a mediator between great powers. And not shrink to take leadership positions in high-profile bodies and initiatives.

Lastly, Germany had received one of temporary seats on Security Council for period 2010 – 2011. It is remembered that German abstention in vote on Libyan mission (17 March 2011) was controversial. Looking back, some see attitude of Germany during vote as a moment of weakness, ors as strength, and yet ors interpret it as a moment of simple indecision.

Peace, justice, innovation and partnership – with se priorities, Germany has made publicity in order to maintain one of seats. This package fits all sorts of issues such as conflict prevention, stabilisation, post-conflict peacebuilding, promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, human rights, women's rights, peace, security and fight against climate change. Of course, not everything will be feasible, this list must be narrowed down after election.

Germany could play a stronger role as a trooper and one of most important financiers, for example, in current New York mandate reviews of peacekeeping operations. Finally, Germany currently has vice-Presidency of Peacebuilding Commission – an advisory body that supports efforts for peace in countries affected by conflict. The Federal Republic of Germany should also make progress in discussions on cooperation between Commission and Security Council. In particular, development of concepts in field of development, peace and security is urgently needed in UN.

Climate change is a security threat

Toger with or candidates, Germany has already stressed that Security Council must again address problem of climate change – as a security threat. But, given resistance of Russia, China, and probably US, it should be weighed how much political capital and energy one is willing to use for this field. Also with regard to security, which was launched by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as a priority, Frauerechte and peace, Germany must find a fresh approach that will pick up partners.

Temporary members are mainly measured by influence y have on certain countries and crises. Germany has expressed interest in issues that are currently at top of Security Council's agenda, such as Syria, Libya and Yemen. With enough political will from Berlin and diplomatic sensitivity, Germany could also contribute as a mediator in Syria or to send a UN mission to end war in Ukraine.

Brexit gives Germany new leeway

Interestingly, Brexit of German role could give a new meaning: To fill gap created by departure of British from EU, Germany could try to focus on communicating EU priorities. Thus, Brexit opens up possibility of enhanced Franco-German cooperation in New York and thus a new centre of gravity in Security Council.

During his last term of office, Germany campaigned actively and in close cooperation with Brazil, India, Japan and South Africa for a permanent seat on Security Council. The hope is not extinguished, but a corresponding reform in near future remains unlikely.

All more, Germany must seize opportunity as a non-permanent member to take lead in promoting values of United Nations and to consolidate its status on world stage. Above all, it should not shy away from high-profile initiatives and dominant crises on Council's agenda. It is best way to increase German influence on world stage and to shape UN agenda.

Date Of Update: 08 June 2018, 12:02

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