As the main forum for dealing with global issues the UN with its universal mandate is one of the cornerstones of Danish foreign policy.
© UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, in Copenhagen, 22 October 2013.
Denmark attaches particular importance to the role of the UN in the fields of common security and peacekeeping, promotion of democracy and human rights, economic and social development, and protection of the environment.
Denmark was honoured to serve in the UN Security Council for the period 2005-06. Denmark has also been a member of the Security Council in 1953-54, 1967-68, and 1985-86.
The UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Reform propose in their report a large number of recommendations for common solutions to common threats. In their broad spectret threat assessment they include civil war, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction as well as social and economic threats like poverty, infectious diseases and organized crime. Creating synergies between development, political, and security components will be key to the success of the reform efforts in the UN. In that respect the proposal for a Peace Building Commission was inspired by a workshop in Copenhagen in June 2003 organized by the Danish Government. The idea is to strengthen the coordination of international assistance in post-conflict situations as well as to help states under stress. The panel also suggests reform of the Security Council. Denmark agrees that the present composition of the Council does not reflect the enlargement of the membership at large. Democracy is a question of representation and legitimacy. The Security Council must reflect the realities of the world of today rather than that of 1945. When enlarging the Council, the efficiency of its decision-making process must be safeguarded. Denmark supports the endeavors by the Secretary General and the Member States to turn the valuable recommendations of the High Level Panel into reality.
The Peace Building Commission (PBC) was established as a joint Danish-Tanzanian key issue during the Danish membership of the Security Council. The PBC contains 33 members and the work of the commission is focused on four specific countries; Sierra Leone, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Central African Republic. The first country-specific reports have been released with very promising results. A review of PBC has been undertaken in order to elaborate the new UN-tool and spread the PBC to other countries.
Since the end of the cold war expectations of the UN have risen. At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 the UN manifested its global agenda. The Millennium Declaration defines a set of globally agreed development goals (MDG) to be reached by 2015, which all countries and institutions now strive to achieve.
At a Summit at the level of Heads of State held in September 2005, the General Assembly will, took stock of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and discussed follow-up in order to promote the implementation of the MDG’s by 2015. The Summit dealt with both security and development issues.
At the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development in March 2002 the Millennium Development Goals were reconfirmed. The goals were the important common point of departure for the developing as well as the developed countries. The commitments made at the conference to promote the mobilisation of resources for development - national and international, private and official - were important steps towards fulfilling these goals. Development assistance has returned to the global agenda.
In 2005 a Financing for Development (FfD) High Level meeting was held to discuss follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus and in particular how the means of financing development could work better towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The FfD High Level meeting provided an important input to the Summit in September 2005.
The core strength of the UN rests with its universal membership and comprehensive approach. There are few areas where this comparative advantages come better into play than in the area of climate change. In December 2009 Denmark hosted the international climate conference in Copenhagen, COP15 (Link: www.cop15.dk), with the goal of agreeing on an ambitious international climate change agreement to enter into force in 2012. One of the main tasks was to reduce carbon emissions, thereby mitigating global warming. Denmark has been firmly committed to a successful outcome of these negotiations, which were held under UN auspices through the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As science has eliminated any remaining doubts on the severity of climate change, it has become increasingly clear that all aspects of the UNs work will be affected by global warming - from development to peace and security. Denmark sees the UN system as a pivotal for the international system´s response to climate change - in the normative area, through binding international agreements and in the operational field. It is essential that all relevant UN bodies cooperate effectively to meet the challenge og climate change.
Throughout the 1990's, the UN went through a financial crisis caused by the non-payment of dues by certain member states, in particular the United States. Although an agreement was reached in 2000 on a new scale of assessment on which the contributions are based, the financial situation of the UN remains critical. Denmark and other EU countries maintain that the UN cannot be financially secure unless member states honour their obligations and pay their contributions in full, on time, and without conditions.
In the field of economic and social development, the particular advantages of the UN are its universal membership and comprehensive approach. Approximately 45 per cent of Danish development assistance is channelled through multilateral institutions, including the UN system. Denmark is one of the major contributors to the three main UN funds and programmes in the development field, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNFPA.