How can the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development be implemented? How can global crises be prevented before they erupt? And how can cooperation with Africa be improved? In Bonn the G20 Foreign Ministers discussed the most urgent international issues of our times. Foreign Minister Gabriel considered this meeting to be a positive signal.
A positive picture: G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting under the German Presidency
“I think everyone felt it was really good to meet in this format,” Foreign Minister Gabriel said at the final press conference in Bonn. The participating Foreign Ministers and diplomats at the G20 Summit converged on Bonn from all directions – from Japan to Mexico, and from Russia to Canada. “This is an affirmation of what foreign policy calls multilateralism – i.e. cooperation by everyone with everyone else,” Foreign Minister Gabriel said before the first working session. It was not without reason that Gabriel had invited his counterparts to Bonn. As he stressed, holding the meeting in one of the cities where the United Nations is based was a mark of support for international cooperation. The UN Secretary‑General, António Guterres, also attended the meeting.
“Only if we work together will the world be stable”
Terrorism, water scarcity, climate change, migration, displacement, humanitarian emergencies: in an interconnected world, even local crises often have a huge impact around the globe. “These problems can only be successfully resolved through cooperation,” said Gabriel, “and certainly not by isolation.” The G20 Meeting was therefore an important symbol. Together, the G20 nations account for almost two-thirds of the global population, more than four-fifths of gross world product and three-quarters of global trade. The world’s largest economies that are represented in the G20 bear special responsibility and must jointly address the root causes of conflicts, as well as the options for peaceful crisis prevention and conflict resolution.
Focal points: The 2030 Agenda, peace, better opportunities for Africa
One focus of the meeting was the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – according to Gabriel, “the most important instrument for global justice”. The 2030 Agenda was adopted at a UN summit in September 2015 by all UN member states. Civil society, too, played a role in drawing up the Agenda. With its17 goals, the Agenda aims to ensure greater sustainability in the social, environmental and economic spheres. The G20 wants to become a crucial player in implementing this global project. The meeting also focused on the question of how to secure peace and stability in the long term: a joined‑up, forward‑looking foreign policy can prevent global crises before they emerge.
A third focal point for the meeting was cooperation with Africa. What framework conditions are needed so that the African continent’s economic potential can develop fully? How can state and civil-society institutions in African countries be strengthened? The G20 Foreign Ministers had an intense discussion on these questions with representatives of the African Union.
Group of Friends of Syria: strengthen negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations
A meeting of Foreign Ministers of states belonging to the so-called Group of Friends of Syria was held on the fringes of the G20 conference. The humanitarian situation in large parts of Syria is still very critical. The participants agreed that only negotiations under UN auspices can improve the situation. “The regime in Damascus will not hold any serious negotiations of its own accord. That is why it is important to convince Russia to support these negotiations,” Gabriel said after the meeting.
Shaping an interconnected world
The meeting of Foreign Ministers is being organised by Germany as part of its G20 Presidency. The major event of this year’s Presidency will be the summit meeting of G20 Heads of State and Government in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July.
The motto of Germany’s G20 Presidency is “shaping an interconnected world”, and discussions centre around “building resilience”, “improving sustainability” and “assuming responsibility”.