A global forum to tackle joint challenges

The G20 Foreign Minister in Nagoya, Japan, 23 November 2019

The G20 Foreign Minister in Nagoya, Japan, 23 November 2019, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net

22.11.2019 - Article

The G20 Foreign Ministers gathered this weekend in Nagoya, Japan. Rules‑based trade, fair development and cooperation with Africa were on the agenda.

For 20 years, representatives of the 20 leading industrialised countries and emerging economies have gathered to find joint solutions to global challenges. Germany supported the establishment of the G20 and thereby the inclusion of important emerging economies in Asia and Latin America in multilateral coordination from the outset. Foreign Minister Maas therefore also participated in the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Nagoya on 22 and 23 November. The focus was on efforts to strengthen the rules‑based international order. Germany believes there are three important issues here:

International trade and global order

A central pillar of the rules‑based international order is open global trade founded on common principles. For more than 20 years the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been the guardian of an open global trade system. Recently, however, the organisation and its guiding principles have been under pressure, trade conflicts are now having a tangibly negative impact on the global economic climate and multilateralism is also being called into question in a trade context. In Nagoya the G20 Foreign Ministers therefore discussed how to protect free trade and global governance. Regular exchange on digital policy, in which multilateral rules are growing increasingly important, is also to be anchored in the G20 agenda.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community has presented itself with a forward‑looking framework for a peaceful, stable and just international order. It is a prime example of how multilateralism can function. At the heart of the 2030 Agenda is a catalogue of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which apply equally to the areas of social, environmental and economic affairs. Although the 2030 Agenda was designed as a development agenda, its scope is significantly greater. As a result of the nexus between peace, stability and sustainable development, it covers a much broader spectrum of UN activities. This nexus is particularly evident in the area of climate and security, which is one of the priorities of Germany’s membership of the UN Security Council during the 2019-2020 term. In the context of the 2030 Agenda, Germany is therefore also working to promote forward‑looking and comprehensive conflict management, small arms control and the rule of law. The G20 has a key role to play in implementing the 2030 Agenda.


Africa is the regional focus of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting this year. Sustainable economic growth in Africa requires not least better framework conditions for economic activities and an improved infrastructure. An African free trade zone, on which impressive progress has been made this year, could provide important impetus in this area. Germany is therefore engaged in the Compact with Africa Initiative (CwA), through which the G20, in cooperation with other partners, desires to help participating African countries to improve the framework conditions for private investors.


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