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Germany’s commitment to the UN

Germany does its duty through the UN in many different ways, from providing humanitarian aid to participating in peacekeeping missions.

Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock addresses the UN General Assembly
Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock addresses the UN General Assembly © picture alliance/dpa

Germany is not only the world’s second-largest contributor to the UN. It is also the home of many UN institutions and contributes to UN peacekeeping missions. Germany’s commitment to the United Nations is a pillar of German foreign policy. Ever since the two Germanies first joined the UN in September 1973, the Federal Republic of Germany has taken on more and more responsibility every year.

50 years of Germany in the United Nations

On 18 September 1973 West Germany and the former German Democratic Republic joined the United Nations, achieving membership which had initially been unthinkable in the aftermath of the Second World War. Today Germany is not only one of the world’s largest supporters of the UN, but a campaigner to strengthen the institution. According to Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, “the only way to take effective action to meet the great challenges of our age – the climate crisis, preserving world peace, addressing socio-economic inequality and continuous food insecurity – is through the community of nations working together.”

Second-largest contributor to the UN system as a whole

Germany’s support for the United Nations is also reflected in the level of its financial contributions. Germany contributed 6.1 billion dollars in 2021, making it the second-largest contributor to the UN system as a whole. Germany is also the second-largest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid, providing aid work amounting to 3.5 billion dollars in 2022.

Around the world, the Federal Government is actively committed to combating hunger. In 2022 Germany provided around 5 billion euros for food security, around 1.7 billion euros of which went to the UN World Food Programme.

Trusted partner for peacekeeping missions

Germany has participated in UN peacekeeping missions for many years. At the beginning of 2023, Germany was providing 1,250 armed forces personnel for various missions such as UNFIL, one of the UN’s oldest peacekeeping missions which is tasked with keeping the peace between Lebanon and Israel. Germany is Europe’s third-largest provider of military personnel and the fourth-largest contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping budget.

German sailors set off on a UN mission.
German sailors set off on a UN mission. © picture alliance/dpa

Over 30 UN institutions in Germany

In addition to its contributions to many UN missions, Germany also provides a home to 33 UN institutions and around 1,000 staff. The majority are located in Bonn, which was capital of West Germany prior to reunification. Twenty-six organisations have their headquarters on the UN campus there. Bonn has also established itself as a venue for international conferences, and hosted the 23rd UN Climate Conference in 2017.

German membership of the UN Security Council

One of the most important bodies in the United Nations is the Security Council, which consists of five permanent and ten non-permanent members. Germany has played its part as a non-permanent member six times, most recently from 2019 to 2020, and is standing again as a candidate for a seat in 2027 and 2028. The Federal Government is also campaigning for reforms of the Security Council, including achieving appropriate representation of African states and key contributors.