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Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,
I thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this high-level plenary meeting in honor of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was a champion in many ways, and his contributions to overcoming apartheid, discrimination and oppression were legendary. The same is true for his dedication to human rights, development and freedom. From early on, he emphasized the importance of empowering women and youth.
Today, we are challenged by a new wave of populism, discrimination and violence as our multilateral order is increasingly coming under threat. Madiba’s life and values can help guide us through these challenges. This commemoration is therefore a call to apply his values and actions to today’s problems.
Germany wholeheartedly supports the declaration we adopted last week and thanks South Africa and Ireland for their leadership in drafting it. Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Madame President, Excellencies,
It was long overdue that prevention and sustaining peace became an integral part of the UN’s work. For us, prevention is the foundation of building and sustaining peace. Both are key issues in our multilateral work.
At the national level, Germany has spelled out its policy on prevention and stabilization in our guidelines on “preventing crisis, resolving conflict and building peace.” For the first time, Germany defined its peace policy. We are fully committed to the primacy of politics and the priority of prevention. We have tripled our budget for crisis prevention, stabilization and humanitarian assistance and are proud to currently co-chair the Peacebuilding Commission.
2019 will mark the start of “The Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace,” and Germany will serve on the UN Security Council starting in January. Strengthening the Council’s work in conflict prevention and conflict resolution remains a top priority for Germany. Germany will also prioritize human rights and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda during our time on the Council.
Talking about women’s empowerment, I think it’s appropriate to commemorate the struggle of the South African women who fought alongside Tata Mandela. I would like to mention one woman in particular: Albertina Sisulu. Her life reminds us that women play an essential role in the struggle for a more peaceful world. This belief is why Germany will continue promoting women’s empowerment across the UN.
This is how we can pick up the legacy of Nelson Mandela, his dedication to freedom, democracy, human rights and the empowerment of women.
We believe they are the only way to create lasting peace and stability. Decency is not a sign of weakness.