What’s important as 2024 gets underway

In front of the Federal Foreign Office

In front of the Federal Foreign Office, © picture alliance

30.12.2023 - Article

2023 was a challenging year, and many of the challenges are still facing us this year. But 2024 will also bring new ones. Read on to find out what’s at the top of our agenda as 2024 gets underway.

The second winter of the war and the continuing Russian aggression in Ukraine, the acts of terror by Hamas and the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the climate crisis and our global partnerships, not only for more climate justice – these will remain major areas of foreign policy in 2024, that much we know. However, foreign and security policy is often affected predominantly by the unexpected. Foreseeing developments and developing anticipatory approaches to tackling global challenges will continue to be one of the key tasks for our colleagues both at the Federal Foreign Office and at our missions around the world. Other issues that will certainly be important in 2024 are outlined below.

Standing with Ukraine: Resolutely continuing support along with our partners

This winter again, Russia is specifically targeting civilian infrastructure with its bombing campaigns and is thereby seeking to deny Ukrainians the basic necessities of daily life during the winter season. The German Government is therefore assisting Ukraine with a winter package and is planning to double military assistance to eight billion euro in 2024.

Ukraine is showing huge courage in countering Russia’s aggression and is defending our freedom, too. Since April 2022, the country has liberated over half of the territory originally occupied by Russia. Gradually the Ukrainian armed forces have also succeeded in pushing the Russian navy back across the Black Sea and in opening up a safe corridor for shipping, which has already allowed more than 200 ships to export grain and other goods to the global markets. Although the battle to defend itself against Russia is making incredible demands on Ukraine, the country has launched an impressive number of internal reforms allowing negotiations to begin on EU accession.

The German Government will pick up on this in 2024. In June, Germany will be hosting this year’s Ukraine Recovery Conference, where the aim will be to dovetail reconstruction, reform and the EU accession process even more closely together.

Israel and the Palestinian territories: Lasting peace only with a two-state solution

The terrorist attack by Hamas on 7 October brought unbelievable suffering to Israel and was a watershed moment for the entire Middle East region. Currently the headlines are dominated by the fate of the hostages still in the hands of Hamas and also by the terrible suffering of the people in Gaza, because Hamas is hiding behind the civilian population in Gaza. This year, too, crisis diplomacy will be needed to prevent a conflagration taking hold in the region. Germany is energetically lobbying for new humanitarian pauses to relieve the disastrous suffering of the people in Gaza and allow water, food and medicaments to be delivered to them. At the same time, we are seeking close dialogue with our Arab partners. Qatar and Egypt have proved to be indispensable mediators; Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are also playing a major role. Other countries, too, are ready to provide support. The key to peace is to be found on the ground. Only a negotiated two-state solution can enable Israelis and Palestinians to live in durable peace and security. We must not lose sight of this in 2024.

NATO at 75: Working together to preserve our freedom and security

NATO is a central pillar of Germany’s security and defence policy. With 31 members at present, it guarantees our security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. The Alliance’s newest member is Finland, which joined in April 2023. Following ratification by Hungary and Turkey, Sweden will follow in 2024.

The highlight in 2024 is NATO’s 75th anniversary. The Alliance was founded in Washington in 1949, and the anniversary summit of the heads of state and government is taking place there in July.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has fundamentally changed the security environment in Europe. Germany’s security is indivisible from that of its allies. That is why in 2024 Germany will, for example, continue to work hard to deploy a brigade permanently in Lithuania.

COP29 in Baku in November 2024: Developing climate finance and making it fairer

Rising sea levels, dramatic species loss, record temperatures – the climate crisis is making itself felt worldwide. Even today more than three billion people live in regions that are hugely impacted or threatened by climate change. There is not much time left if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Implementing the decisions taken at COP28 – the main one being the agreement reached for the first time on the transition away from fossil fuels – will dominate the run-up to COP29 in Azerbaijan in November 2024. The focus will be on fair climate finance. Agreement was also reached in Dubai on tripling the use of renewables and doubling energy efficiency by 2030. As part of its new Strategy on Climate Foreign Policy, Germany is planning to further develop its bilateral partnerships. There are important milestones ahead at EU level, too, such as the elaboration of the climate target for 2040. In 2024, the member states will be working on new rules and measures to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

Strengthening humanitarian assistance – including in crises not in the spotlight

Humanitarian assistance remains an integral and formative component of German foreign policy. We are committed to proactive civilian crisis prevention and we continue to be a donor that is committed to humanitarian principles and actively helps shape the humanitarian system. Because the global humanitarian need is constantly on the increase: more people than ever before are dependent upon humanitarian assistance – in Syria, the Sudan, the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere. At the same time, the environment in which assistance must be provided is constantly deteriorating. Time and time again, parties to conflicts ignore the rules of international humanitarian law: aid workers are granted only limited access, or are themselves the target of attacks. That is why humanitarian diplomacy will remain of special importance. In many discussions and negotiations, our colleagues around the world urge conflict parties, decision-makers and stakeholders to act at all times in the interests of the civilian population and in accordance with humanitarian principles.

Our ambition: Germany to remain a shaping force in foreign policy in 2024

We will push forward with the implementation of the Federal Government’s National Security Strategy and the Strategy on China and, on that basis, will lay the foundations for Germany’s role at a time of global power shifts and systemic rivalry. In addition, we will work to shape a fair global order on the basis of the law. In our cooperation with our partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which is based on joint action, we can bring considerable influence to bear: Germany is not only the world’s third-largest economy, but also a world leader in research. It is the world’s second-biggest humanitarian donor, a major supporter of the UN system and a driving force in international climate policy. Our policies are embedded in strong partnerships within the EU, NATO, the G7 and the G20.


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