Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is visiting Italy on 28 and 29 June for a number of multilateral meetings. Ahead of his departure, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised:
Today is the start of a small marathon of multilateralism, with three meetings in two days. Happily, the G20 and the Coalition against Daesh are able to meet in person once again, for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. These meetings are urgent, because the challenges they will address have not disappeared in the face of the pandemic.
Global Coalition against Daesh: Stabilisation and new challenges
The first leg of the Foreign Minister’s trip takes him to Rome, where, at the invitation of Italy and the United States, he will attend the first in-person meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Global Coalition against Daesh since February 2019. The meeting will focus on the further stabilisation of the areas of Syria and Iraq liberated from IS, but also on the growing threat posed by this terrorist organisation in other parts of the world, particularly in countries of Africa.
Germany has been a reliable partner in the Global Coalition against Daesh since 2014 and is the second-biggest donor (after the United States) for stabilisation efforts in Iraq and Syria. The work to stabilise the territories liberated from IS in these countries has not yet been completed. Germany’s support aims to improve the local population’s living conditions in order to prevent (re)radicalisation.
Ministerial on Syria: Humanitarian access and the political process
After this, the representatives of the United States, Italy, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, the EU and the Arab League will meet to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria.
In the north-west of the country in particular, the situation is dramatic: the United Nations estimates that 3.5 million people there are dependent on humanitarian assistance. This aid, often life-saving, comes mainly via the border with Turkey, thanks to the UN Security Council cross-border resolution, which expires on 10 July. Without this cross-border assistance, a humanitarian disaster looms. The Foreign Ministers want to talk about extending the resolution.
Another issue will be support for the work of UN Special Envoy Pedersen, who will be reporting to the Ministers about the situation in Syria. Germany emphatically supports a UN‑led political process to resolve the conflict in Syria.
G20: For multilateralism and global solidarity
In 2021 Italy holds the Presidency of the G20, the group of the 20 leading industrialised and newly industrialising countries. The Presidency motto is “People – Planet – Prosperity”. The Foreign and Development Ministers of the G20 states will be meeting in the southern Italian city of Matera on 29 June. They will be focusing on four issues: multilateralism, cooperation with Africa, food security and development financing.
The pandemic has once again clearly shown that global challenges demand international cooperation. That is why Germany is committed with its partners to strengthening effective multilateralism, a point Foreign Minister Maas stressed prior to his departure for Italy:
At the G20 meeting, we want to lay the groundwork for the next steps in the worldwide fight against the pandemic. Now is the time to ensure that global health structures are equipped for the coming health crisis. We must revive the world economy. If we act together, and act prudently, we will have the opportunity to invest in the future – by supporting sustainable technologies and strengthening transparent international trade structures. In doing so, we will be protecting the climate and making globalisation fairer.
As the second-largest donor, Germany supports the multilateral COVAX Facility to tackle the pandemic worldwide. The G20 Foreign and Development Ministers will be talking about how to build back better, in other words how to work towards global sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.
This applies in particular in the framework of cooperation with the African states, where the social and economic repercussions of the pandemic threaten to overturn the positive developments of the past decade. For this reason, the G20 should intensify its Africa Partnership, for example by expanding local vaccine production capacities, supporting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and strengthening the G20 Compact with Africa.
The Ministers will also adopt a joint declaration designed to give a boost to better multilateral coordination for food security. Factors like the pandemic and climate change are exacerbating the food situation for millions of people.