Latin America and the Caribbean are closely linked to Germany, not just in cultural terms. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean also share many of Germany’s values and interests. Particularly now that pressure on the international system is building, Germany is stepping up its efforts to promote a rules-based international order. Many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are natural allies here. The Latin America-Caribbean Conference wants to build on this. Foreign Minister Maas has travelled to Latin America to invest in the long-standing partnerships. He underscored:
Latin America is one of the world’s most strongly democratic regions. We share an important foundation of common values with many of its countries. This is why we are seizing the initiative to reinvigorate and inject fresh impetus into our relations. The aim is to strengthen our partnerships and make our cooperation more effective. We want to join forces on the world stage in our efforts to promote democracy, human rights and fair rules. We want to help expand our foundation of shared values.
Latin America-Caribbean Conference
Many Foreign Ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean accepted the invitation extended by Foreign Minister Maas. The Latin America-Caribbean Conference in the Federal Foreign Office on 28 May was designed to figure out where we are and map out how to move forward. What challenges are particularly pressing? What can Germany, Latin America and the Caribbean achieve together?
On the morning of 28 May in the Weltsaal of the Federal Foreign Office, the Foreign Ministers and around a thousand other participants came together to discuss economic relations with Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser, culture with Daniel Barenboim and women's rights with Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, about women’s rights. The Foreign Ministers continued their discussions in a smaller group in the afternoon. These talks focused on cooperation between states based on the rule of law, climate change, scientific cooperation and economic relations. Several focus events took place in parallel, for example on the position of Latin America and the Caribbean in global geopolitics. A Global Diplomacy Lab provided an opportunity for young future leaders from a number of countries to come together.
Founding of the UNIDAS women’s network
The new women’s network UNIDAS was officially launched at the Conference. Foreign Minister Maas is to serve as patron of this network which aims to bring people from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany together to promote equal rights for women and men. After all, women’s rights are human rights. Foreign Minister Maas commented on this in Salvador da Bahia on 29 April 2019:
Participation, equal opportunities and equal rights are at the heart of democratic societies. There can be no justice without equality.
Fair representation for women, economic participation based on equality and combating sexualised violence remain the key topics in the region. The founding of UNIDAS coincides with German engagement in the United Nations Security Council for “Women, Peace and Security”.