The United Nations was founded in the wake of two world wars and at the precipice of the Cold War. Its design, organs, and daily operation reflect the balance of power and the international structures of that time. However, since the UN was founded in 1945, the number of political actors –both states and international organizations – has increased exponentially. The original UN charter was signed by only 51 countries. Now, there are 193 members of the UN and more than two dozen organizations with observer status.
The founders of the UN could not have envisioned the types of international challenges the UN and its member states face today. Because of this, Germany believes that the credibility, legitimacy and the ability of the UN to act rest largely on its ability to adapt to the realities of the 21st century. This responsibility rests largely on the will of the member states to bring about change.
Only if we manage to reform the Security Council will we stop it from becoming obsolete. Broader membership of the Security Council – especially with increased and enhanced representation of Africa – will allow it to preserve its credibility and create the political backing needed for the peaceful resolution of today’s international crises.
- Ambassador Heusgen on November 25, 2019
The reform of the UN Security Council remains of the utmost concern for the German Government. As it currently stands, the UN Security Council is made up of five permanent member states and 10 non-permanent members - a constellation that reflects the 1945 creation and 1966 expansion. Many of today’s major world players and most populous regions are not represented, nor are nations which make some of the largest contributions to the UN System. This lack of representation leads the Security Council to run the risk of losing its authority.
Germany is a member of the G4 Group along with Brazil, India and Japan, which is a group dedicated to Security Council Reform. Germany stands ready to assume greater responsibility in a reformed Security Council. Germany and the G4 also support the Common African Position and the Ezulwini Consensus in its endeavor to bring Africa permanently to the table.
Germany welcomes steps undertaken in recent years to reform the United Nations and make the organization more effective. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also made reforming the UN a central pillar of his secretaryship and has focused his efforts on reforming development, management of the secretariat, and peacebuilding policies.
In other organs of the UN, Germany also hopes to play an active role in UN reform. As a newly elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, Germany aims to make the organization more efficient and to improve the overall human rights architecture of the UN.