Turning crises into opportunities: meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism

#MultilateralismMatters: solving global problems together

#MultilateralismMatters: solving global problems together, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

25.09.2020 - Article

Healthcare, climate change, the digital transformation and equality are among the issues that will be in the spotlight when more than 60 foreign ministers convene virtually on 25 September on the margins of the UN General Assembly for a meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism. 

Solving global problems only together

September 2019: the first major meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism takes place on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. More than 50 foreign ministers gather in a packed conference room to demonstrate that global problems can only be solved together, through multilateral cooperation. 

September 2020: this year is very different. Like all other events during the week of the General Assembly, the meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism is being held virtually. But the Alliance’s common conviction remains and brings countries together even at a distance, namely that the great issues of our time can only be resolved together. 

Sixty foreign ministers meet virtually

Sixty foreign ministers and representatives from international and non-governmental organisations are meeting virtually today to demonstrate that international cooperation is more important than ever in a crisis. “The pandemic has upended the world, but that upheaval has created space for something new” – the Alliance intends to take up this sentiment from UN Secretary General António Guterres’ speech at the opening of the 75th General Assembly and to help to fill this space. In this vein, the Alliance for Multilateralism is intent on seeing the crisis as an opportunity. 

Host Heiko Maas emphasised the following: 

Our choice is clear: multilateral cooperation remains the foundation for peace, prosperity and justice.

Focus on climate change, healthcare, the digital transformation and equality

The ministerial meeting on 25 September 2020 will focus on the key issues of the future: climate change, healthcare, the digital transformation and equality. Urgent challenges in these areas are nothing new and were not caused by the pandemic. The need for joint action has increased, however. Concrete initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, the Berlin Principles on One Health, the COVAX vaccine platform and the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace will be presented, which will help to jointly address these challenges in particular. 

A flexible network addressing specific issues

No country can meet today’s challenges alone. This belief lies at the heart of the Alliance for Multilateralism. The Alliance is a flexible network of countries and institutions working together in different configurations on various issues and sending a clear signal of support for the rules-based order and international cooperation. Currently, some 60 countries from all regions of the world are involved in the network on a permanent basis. Current issues addressed by the alliance include a fair worldwide distribution of future COVID-19 vaccines and tackling disinformation, also in connection with the pandemic. 

Further information about the Alliance for Multilateralism, the ministerial meeting and a video of the complete event can be found here.


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