A special General Assembly for Germany
From 16 September, Heads of State and Government and Ministers from all over the world will meet for the 78th time at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This General Assembly is a very special one for Germany, as both the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany acceded to the United Nations 50 years ago, on 18 September 1973, thus making the former “enemy states” of 1945 full members of the international community once again. Over the past 50 years, the United Nations has become a firm component of German foreign policy.
This week, however, Team Deutschland will primarily focus on the future, as the challenges facing the world have not diminished in the 50 years since German accession to the UN.
Ahead of the start of General Assembly week, Foreign Minister Baerbock said:
The United Nations is not perfect, but it is simply the best forum available to the international community. In order to succeed in a world in transition, we need to revitalise the United Nations. This means putting the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of the United Nations. It means showing more ambition in efforts to curb the climate crisis, the greatest threat of our time. It means finally organising the United Nations, the international financial institutions and the health agencies in such a way that our partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia have the voice they deserve there.
Tomorrow’s world ‒ Sustainable Development Goals, the climate and global health
The motto of this year’s General Assembly debate is as complex as the challenges facing the world: “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”
In a nutshell, this means ensuring that the world can provide a decent livelihood for everyone in the future. There are no simple answers to this simple question. However, the answers all have one thing in common, namely that they must be global in nature. To this end, one focus of this year’s General Assembly is on achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals via the SDG Summit. Germany is increasing its support for the 57 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as the countries least responsible for global warming are often those most harshly affected by it. Federal Chancellor Scholz and Foreign Minister Baerbock will discuss with these countries how they can prepare better for the coming changes.
Certainly since the Covid‑19 pandemic, we have also known that the world must improve its response to pandemics and global health crises. Foreign Minister Baerbock will represent Germany at a high-level meeting on pandemic prevention aimed at concluding a global agreement on this issue.
No impunity for violations of international law ‒ Rome Statute reform and the Ukraine Tribunal
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has shown us how vulnerable our international peaceful order is. Germany will underline once again in New York that it stands unwaveringly with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom. At the same time, we are working to ensure that international criminal law can respond to such crimes of aggression in a tougher and more effective way ‒ in the medium term through reform of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and in the short term by creating the means via an internationalised tribunal to hold Putin and the Russian leadership accountable for the suffering they have caused millions of people.
Strengthening the rights of all ‒ focus on women’s rights in Afghanistan and feminist foreign policy
763 days since seizing power in Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to systematically trample human rights, in particular those of women and girls, underfoot every single day. Germany, along with Luxembourg, Albania, Belgium, Costa Rica and Croatia, has put Afghan women’s and girls’ rights on the agenda to discuss how they can be supported. In March 2023, Germany adopted its guidelines on a feminist foreign policy. Along with several other partners, Germany will host a discussion on implementing feminist foreign policy.
Many other topics are also on the agenda. General Assembly week provides a unique opportunity for Heads of State and Government and Ministers to meet their counterparts easily in person in a very wide range of formats and sessions. For example, informal meetings of the EU and G7 Foreign Ministers in attendance, as well as numerous bilateral talks, are planned.