Statement by State Minister Niels Annen in the UN Security Council VTC Meeting High-Level Event on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Global governance post COVID-19”, September 24, 2020

24.09.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

Mister President, Your Excellency President Issoufou,

I thank you for convening today’s open debate on “Post Covid-19 Global Governance” and for providing us with an opportunity to build on the discussions in the past months, including during the German Presidency of the Security Council.

I would also like to thank the Secretary General, H.E. Mr. António Guterres, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki, for their insightful briefings.

We are at a critical moment for the rules-based multilateral order. We need to refocus on the positive potential of cooperation instead of on putting our own countries first. If one of us fails, we all fail. We need to cooperate across our regions and continents, if we want to successfully fight today’s problems. In order to mitigate and prevent the heavy impact of global crises such as COVID-19, strong institutions and multilateral cooperation are needed. We need to fill these institutions with life!

Reform is an important aspect of these efforts. The UN’s founding principles need to be upheld – such as the Charter’s call on all Members of the Organization to refrain from the threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. Many of the Charter’s principles are timeless. At the same time, we must not be complacent; we need to be innovative so that our institutions are capable of tackling today’s challenges.

The Security Council has a central role to play in bringing to life the value of international cooperation. The Charter endows the Council, as we all know, with special stature, powers and responsibilities. Its functioning is essential not just for its own, but for the UN’s overall reputation. The Council has lost trust because it could not find clear words on a joint approach to COVID-19 over months. And until today progress has been insufficient in implementing resolution 2532.

Let me be very clear: When the Council is exclusively seen as a gallery for the great powers, we all lose. It is up to all of us, permanent members and elected members alike, to keep the Security Council relevant and functional. It has become glaringly obvious: The Council needs to be reformed. Only then can we ensure the authority and legitimacy of the Council.

The WHO has been mentioned. It is a central coordinating element of the multilateral system. Comprehensive global health protection, including Pandemic Preparedness & Response, is only possible if the WHO is strengthened in a sustainable manner. We should see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to address existing challenges for the WHO in general and in the area of health protection in particular. At the moment, our expectations exceed the WHO´s capacities.

Innovation is also needed when it comes to dealing with emerging threats to international peace and security. We must do more on crisis prevention and on how to address catalysts of conflict such as human rights violations, the effects of climate change and also threats to global health. We need to advance a more preventive agenda.

And of course, for Germany, the future of multilateralism also rests in a strong role of the EU. As the EU, we have taken some important steps in the response to this pandemic: we set up the ACT accelerator together with civil society partners. And we launched the Coronavirus Global Response initiative. Germany has been at the forefront of the global fight against this pandemic, showing solidarity both through practical support and also as a donor. Rest assured that we will continue to do so.

Germany unequivocally supports the United Nations and a joint approach of the international community to global challenges. That is our only chance. In the framework of the “Alliance for Multilateralism” we aim at strengthening the search for joint solutions. It is our objective to support the existing multilateral framework in times when it is challenged. Tomorrow, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, foreign ministers will outline “Our Commitment and Contribution to Building Back Better”. Initiatives in the fields of climate change and health among others will be presented.

Let me conclude by reaffirming that my country is convinced: In this interconnected world, multilateral cooperation is the foundation of peace, security, prosperity, equality and justice. To uphold and strengthen this multilateral order, we have to nurture it and we have to invest in it. We have to invest in its legitimacy. 

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