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What will be important in New York 

UN headquarters in New York

UN headquarters in New York, © Michael Gottschalk/photothek.net

24.09.2018 - Article

The three big topics at the UN General Assembly 

Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers from almost every country in the world will meet in New York this week, where crucial decisions for the future will be made at the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations. Diplomats, ministers and presidents will negotiate day and night. The most important topics this year will be as follows: 

(1) #strongerUNited rather than national selfishness

“America First” is just one example among many. Support for populist movements is a worldwide trend. We can no longer take it for granted that countries will focus on cooperation, adhere to international law and defend fair trade – and that has been the case for a long time already. Populist foreign policy poses a threat to institutions such as the United Nations.  Their endeavours on behalf of peace and humanitarian assistance are often disparaged by populists as “a waste of money”. However, problems such as the global refugee crisis make cooperation among the international community more vital than ever. Germany is thus doing its utmost to ensure that the United Nations remains strong and capable of acting. To this end, it is important to form alliances with partners that share values with Germany such as cooperation and free trade.

(2) Situation in Syria oscillating between escalation and hope

The war in Syria, which has been raging for years, is continuing to cause suffering to millions of people. The situation remains extremely dangerous for the entire region. The fact that so many regional powers are involved in the conflict leads to unpredictable risks. There have recently been some hopeful signs. It proved possible to prevent a new escalation in Idlib for now through diplomatic agreements. Germany will work in all available channels to breathe new life into the political talks process.

(3) Climate change creates conflicts

The first effects of man‑made global warming can already be seen today. Essential resources such as water and fertile ground will be dramatically reduced in many regions because of global warming. Experts are certain that this will result in current conflicts becoming worse and new conflicts breaking out. Germany firmly believes it is high time that the international community draws up measures to address these security risks. As a result, one of the messages Germany wants to convey at the General Assembly is that the fight against climate change requires more joint efforts.

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