This week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Antonio Guterres presented “Our Common Agenda”. According to this ambitious repositioning plan, the UN is to address urgent global problems much more forcefully and advocate for a new social contract based on respect for human rights. Germany’s next federal government should take this proposal – aimed at launching a new phase of global common good promotion after the UN’s 75th anniversary – as an opportunity to increase the strategic value and coherence of German UN policy. It should invest in ideas and alliances that allow Germany to effectively use the UN in addressing global challenges and make the organisation fit for the future.
Germany is in a good position to take off multilaterally, notably because German engagement with the UN has expanded extensively in recent years. In 2016, Germany became the second largest contributor to the UN. This also applies to the financially most relevant areas of UN work, development cooperation and humanitarian aid. For individual entities such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP) or the World Health Organisation (WHO), Germany is currently the most important donor. Unlike other countries that cut their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany significantly increased its assistance and has thus contributed to a more effective multilateral crisis response. Germany’s contributions to WHO almost tripled during the pandemic. Other development organisations such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have received an increase in particularly valuable core funds that are not tied to donor requirements and can thus be used flexibly by UN organisations.
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This publication first appeared on the DIE site.
Authors: Max-Otto Baumann, Sebastian Haug and Silke Weinlich (DIE).
The views are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ETTG.