An Assessment of Germany’s Two Years in the Security Council: Better than Expected
Germany has successfully fulfilled its terms of office in the UN Security Council in 2011 and 2012, so says foreign and security policy expert Richard Gowan in his piece “Germany in the UN Security Council: Neither too Strong, nor too Weak” in issue 1/2013 of the journal VEREINTE NATIONEN. Germany’s abstention concerning the intervention in Libya was an exception, yet apart from that decision, Germany remained a reliable member of the western bloc. Germany also forced the Security Council to deal with new global threats and human rights issues. Despite these successes, Germany’s chances for a permanent seat have not increased. It can only hope for a semi-permanent membership through re-election.
Other candidates for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council such as Brazil, India and South Africa, did not come closer to achieving their goal. To a large extent, they pursued their national agendas. Whether one of these states could succeed in making the Security Council more credible and democratic is an idea that may well be doubted. Read the special issue “The UN Security Council, Issue 1/2013” and see how experts evaluate the terms of office of Brazil, India and South Africa.
The UN and Asia: Support Welcome, not Interference
Since the financial crisis, Asia has become the world’s engine of economic growth, as economic considerations and the equitable distribution of wealth come first on the agenda. What role does the United Nations play in Asia? Asia is welcome as a partner in the fight against poverty and economic development initiatives, but is viewed suspiciously with regards to issues relating to human rights and the fight against climate change. Indeed, interference in Asia’s internal and domestic affairs still remains most unwelcome. Read about it in issue 2/2013, which deals with the topic: “The UN and Asia.” Contributions in this edition will focus upon China’s UN policy, the relationship between ASEAN and the UN, the responsibility of the UN during the civil war in Sri Lanka and the Khmer Rouge tribunal in Cambodia.
About Drones, Sanctions and Special Representatives
Which rules apply for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)? Is it allowed to kill alleged terrorists with them? In Issue 3/2013 of VEREINTE NATIONEN the legal framework for the use of drones is being analyzed, which is clearly defined and limited by international law in the author’s view. Another controversial issue in international law are the so-called terror lists of the UN Security Council that can hardly be legally contested by the affected persons. After strong criticism the Al-Qaida sanctions committee implemented some reforms that already have proven effective, according to the author. Behind the scenes of world politics 70 Special Representatives of the Secretary-General are continuously engaged in the prevention of crises and conflict resolution. Their functions and mandates, and the limits of their work, are being explored in another article. Finally, a closer look is taken on the missing coherence of the UN development activities and what is being done to harmonize them.
An evaluation of the past two decades
In June 1993 participating states of the Second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna adopted a ground-breaking Human Rights agenda. In their Declaration and their Programme of Action they emphasised the indivisibility and equality of all human rights, the acceptance of women’s rights as human rights and the proclaimed will to hold perpetrators better to account. The joint articles in issue 4/2013 of the journal VEREINTE NATIONEN evaluate what has been achieved in the past 20 years in the field of Human Rights protection and what still needs to be done.
Security Council Reform ›revisited‹
Since the attempts of Germany, Brazil, India, and Japan to bring about an expansion of the Security Council within the framework of the 2005 G4-Initiative, no far-reaching achievements towards a reform have been made. Four groups of states negotiated further in the General Assembly, yet considerations concerning power politics and political status left no room for agreement. Due to the increasing influence of developing states such as Brazil and India and the growing push for reform, Eva Mareike Schmitt states that the World Conference in 2015, could serve as a means for a renewed approach. To combat the current standstill, the UN has considered practical improvements to the Security Council’s work for years. Pascale Baeriswyl has led discussions in the reform group known as the “Small Five” (S5), which has worked towards the improvement of the Council's working methods. As the S5 was converted into a larger forum, they have already achieved steps that would enhance transparency and participation, all of which would make the larger reform initiatives more successful. Furthermore, as a result of the latest session, Helmut Volger has reported that work in transparency has also been carried out since 2002 as a result of participation in informal Security Council meetings. Patrick Rosenow has taken a look at the careers and international political thought of the American UN Ambassador Samantha Power and her predecessor Susan Rice, and predicts that Power will further enhance the profile of the US-UN partnership. Sven Simon takes on the question of the Responsibility to Protect, while Ian Williams takes on the wiretapping scandal at the UN official headquarters. Furthermore, Karsten Schubert describes the measures that are being undertaken within the UN system to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI), and outlines some of the major obstacles to their realization.
'Germany in the United Nations'
Since forty years, Germany is a member of the United Nations. How can its UN policy and engagement be evaluated and what does this mean for the future? The special Issue 6/2013 VEREINTE NATIONEN 'Germany in the United Nations' with articles by Georg Nolte, Johannes Varwick, Steffen Bauer and Silke Weinlich, Ulrich Eisele, and Daniel Lange, addresses these issues. The contributions assess the role of Germany in the development of international law, Germany's UN policy since 1990 in general and specifically in the areas of environment and development. In retrospect, the membership of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the United Nations is evaluated. While the they voted in line with the majority of states on several issues such as nuclear disarmament and space politics, in other areas, especially human rights, the East German representatives had a difficult time justifying restrictive civil rights laws. Only once in history, the GDR participated - side by side with the Federal Republic of Germany - in a UN peacekeeping mission; during the independence process in Namibia in 1989/1990. Former long-term goals and different backgrounds of the Federal Republic’s and GDR’s participationare explored.