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Speaking at Hamburg City Hall at the invitation of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in the context of the GIGA Distinguished Speaker Lecture Series, Steinmeier emphasised the significance of the UN Security Council:
“We need the United Nations and the Security Council more than ever in our efforts to promote peace in these troubled times. And although the UN Security Council has increasingly been on the receiving end of criticism and is, unfortunately, blocked on occasions, it nonetheless remains the only body capable of adopting conflict prevention and peace keeping measures that are binding in international law. Despite all scepticism, in the last year the Council has unanimously adopted 60 out of 63 resolutions. The Security Council is the central global crisis manager!”
He said that this was particularly important for Germany. For, Steinmeier went on to say, “Germany, as a country which maintains close economic, political and social ties with the global community – some studies even describe it as the most highly connected country in the world – is particularly reliant on a functioning, peaceful and rules‑based international order. And since that is the case, we have to do all the more to preserve and develop this order.”
The breadth of Germany’s engagement in the United Nations can be summed up by the terms “peace, justice, partnership and innovation”. They are the guiding principles of our campaign for election to the Security Council.
In a world that is “out of joint”, the international community is being called on more than ever before to work together to address conventional and new security challenges. Germany is a reliable partner in this endeavour. We have been contributing both personnel and funding to peace missions for almost 30 years now. Conflict prevention, stabilisation, post-conflict peacebuilding and arms control are among the pillars of our foreign policy.
Germany is committed to a functioning, values-based global order. Human rights are the foundation of our global coexistence. Gender equality and the self-determination of all women and girls, social inclusion as well as economic, social and cultural rights are among the fundamental values which we stand up for around the globe each and every day.
One of our main concerns is climate policy. The legally binding climate agreement negotiated in Paris sets important parameters for a genuinely sustainable energy supply worldwide. As a founding member of the United Nations Environment Programme, we share our wide range of experiences and ambitions as a pioneer in the area of renewable energies. Equal and high‑quality education for all children and young people is another of our top priorities. These are issues which, at first glance, may not appear to be relevant to security but which are key to peaceful and free societies. For there can be no security without access to education and water, or without a healthy environment.
Germany is the world’s partner. To us, partnership means working with other nations on an equal footing. We want to learn and we want to make our experience available to serve development. We therefore see development policy as an investment in the future: development policy means creating structures, sharing knowledge and ideas and helping people to help themselves. Germany wants and is able to help to give the world a more humane face. This includes treating refugees justly and humanely. The causes of flight have to be dealt with in the countries of origin. Germany therefore makes a substantial contribution towards relief organisations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme.