Rounding out his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted a meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism on 23 September, thereby advocating a strong, inclusive and effective multilateral system. The event was held in hybrid format.
Participants discussed three key questions: Against the background of the pandemic that has claimed more than five million lives, how can we continue to close gaps in the international health architecture? What kind of cooperation is needed to achieve greater equality for women and girls on a global scale – and what can the international community do to stop climate change?
Resolving these issues will at the same time, Minister Maas emphasised during his speech, support implementation of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ current plan, which is titled “Our Common Agenda”.
The crisis in Afghanistan and the COVID‑19 pandemic show clearly once again that we are still a long way from achieving true gender equality. The status quo is politically wrong, economically unwise and simply not acceptable.
Foreign Minister Maas emphasised the advantages of joint action versus nations going it alone, citing the fight against the pandemic, the run-up to COP26 and the evacuation of vulnerable individuals from Afghanistan. He underscored the need to bolster and reform the international health architecture, with the WHO at its centre. To ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, Foreign Minister Maas called for continued international support of the ACT Accelerator and the COVAX vaccine initiative, which Germany has already done by providing 2.2 billion euro and 100 million doses of vaccine.
Looking back, Minister Maas also took stock of the Alliance on its two-year anniversary, saying that he remembers well the words of a former US President who called on everyone to look after their own country first, saying that then the entire world would be better off.
Luckily, this dangerous view did not prevail. Instead, we have clearly shown that multilateralism matters. International cooperation is service for the common good.
For more information, visit multilateralism.org