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Partners for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges: Foreign Minister Maas travels to Canada Canada

Sea ice off the coast of Iqalit in Nunavut Territory, Northern Canada

Sea ice off the coast of Iqalit in Nunavut Territory, Northern Canada, © The Canadian Press

13.08.2019 - Article

The focus of the trip to Toronto and Nunavut Territory, on the edge of the Arctic, is on two issues of equal concern to both Germany and Canada: multilateralism and climate change.

Team players for a rules-based world order

In Toronto, Foreign Minister Maas will meet Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Germany and Canada are united in their engagement for a rules-based international order and for the preservation of multilateral approaches and structures. This stems from the realisation that global developments such as climate change, terrorism and digital transformation cannot be shaped by individual countries single-handedly. That is why Canada has joined the “alliance of multilateralists” established by Foreign Minister Maas. Within the context of a panel discussion, Maas and Freeland will debate how like-minded countries can tackle future challenges together through diplomacy and strong networking.

These include digital transformation and technological advancement. During a visit to the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a think-tank, the foreign ministers will learn about the current state of research and commercial application opportunities in the area of artificial intelligence and about German-Canadian cooperation in this field.

Tangible effects of climate change

The trip will take Foreign Minister Maas to the edge of the Arctic, to Nunavut Territory in Northern Canada. Here, the impact of climate change can be felt particularly drastically: temperatures in the Arctic are rising around twice as rapidly as elsewhere in the world. In Northern Canada, temperatures have already increased by 2.3°C compared to pre-industrial levels. That is seriously affecting the living conditions of the inhabitants there, most of whom belong to the indigenous group of the Inuit. In the territory’s capital, Iqaluit, Foreign Minister Maas will discuss the impact of climate change in Nunavut Territory with representatives of government, civil society and researchers from the Nunavut Research Institute.

Climate change as a security policy challenge

Climate change is also generating new security policy challenges in the Arctic. Retreating sea ice and technological advancement are generating new business interests, sparking territorial claims by the coastal states and resulting in an increasing military presence. In future, Germany intends to work more actively to extend international and rules-based cooperation and to promote a consistent climate and environmental protection policy in the Arctic. The Federal Government will shortly present its new Arctic guidelines.

Climate and security is one of the priorities of the German Security Council Presidency 2019/2020. In August 2018, Germany, together with Nauru, formed the Group of Friends on Climate and Security in the United Nations. Canada is one of the 48 members.

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