Her Excellency Angela Merkel
ANGELA MERKEL, Chancellor of Germany, recalled that the founding of the United Nations was preceded by the Shoah, the betrayal by Germany of all civilized values, and the Second World War. Its remit has expanded over the decades, and it has played a pivotal role in ensuring that only half as many people today live in extreme poverty compared with 20 years ago and in helping to eradicate smallpox around the world. However, the United Nations has too often been forced to lag behind its ideals as the interests of individual members have prevented this order from functioning as it was intended. Those who believe that they can get along better alone are mistaken, she said, emphasizing that: “We are one world.” Citing the COVID-19 pandemic as one example demonstrating that global problems call for understanding and cooperation beyond national borders and at all levels, she said the United Nations can be only as effective as its members are united. Particularly when it comes to the most intractable security issues, such as the situation in Libya and the tragedy in Syria, it is vital, despite all the setbacks, to do everything possible to find common and thus viable responses. This was particularly important to Germany during its non-permanent membership in the Security Council. However, the Council is too often deadlocked when clear decisions are called for, and reform is needed. The United Nations must continue to develop in order to be in a position to master the global challenges of the twenty-first century.