In Germany and Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, COVID‑19 has already claimed thousands of lives. Hundreds of thousands are infected. A remedy is not in sight in the short term. The challenges this crisis presents are huge.
We, the Foreign Ministers of the Latin American and Caribbean states and of Germany exchanged views on measures aimed at overcoming the pandemic in a video conference on 3 June 2020. Furthermore, we analysed in particular the economic and social impact of the pandemic and discussed ways out of the crisis.
Most states have responded swiftly and resolutely to the spread of the virus, thus making it possible to save many lives. Nevertheless, the healthcare systems of many states are stretched to the limit. At the same time, many people are confronted with immediate and grave consequences of the pandemic, both for themselves and their families, such as unemployment and impoverishment. We have to tackle this challenge, too – swiftly, jointly and in a spirt of solidarity.
We do not know today when this crisis will end. Across the globe, many different paths have been taken to fight the pandemic. From today’s perspective, none of them can be regarded as the only right way. However, it is crucial that human rights are complied with also during the pandemic and in the course of the efforts to tackle it. In all of this, we must not forget particularly vulnerable groups. We are agreed that we must now stand together in a spirit of solidarity, engage in a close exchange and work together on internationally coordinated solutions. Cooperation to address this pandemic must involve the various public and private actors in order to optimize the use of public resources and ensure that all human beings in the world have access to prevention and response measures to COVID-19. Fighting COVID‑19 is a crucial part of the multilateral agenda.
Coronavirus knows no borders – it is raging in all countries. In the fight against COVID‑19, we have to work together more closely and comprehensively across the world than hitherto. The corona crisis shows how important strong, multilateral institutions are for health, prosperity and security in the world. We therefore fully support the United Nations – and we wholeheartedly back the appeal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for an immediate global ceasefire.
In Berlin one year ago, on 28 May 2019, we already affirmed our commitment to multilateral cooperation with the adoption of the Latin America and Caribbean initiative. In our Berlin Declaration, we expressed our joint aim of comprehensively strengthening and intensifying relations between the region and Germany. We remain committed to this goal. Today we declare joint efforts to combat the pandemic to be the top priority of our joint initiative.
The crisis has highlighted in a dramatic fashion the need for free and international cooperation in the research field. Effective, fact‑based policies are based on scientific expertise and advice. In the context of the pandemic, it is important to us to combat disinformation and to ensure public access to science-based information.
We have already begun to pool our capacities in the fight against the pandemic. In an unprecedented pandemic dialogue, experts from both sides have come together to exchange their findings and to identify best practices together. Cooperation to confront this pandemic must ensure that all human beings in the world have measures to prevent and respond to COVID-19, encouraging the various public and private actors to act jointly. Today, we want to express our commitment to ensuring that everyone has access to a COVID‑19 treatment and vaccine when they become available, and likewise expect all our partners to ensure that – wherever and by whomever discovered – any identified effective medicines or vaccines are distributed fairly around the world as a common global good as soon as they are developed. Immunisation against COVID‑19 should be regarded as a common global good as well. In this connection, we are interested in initiatives to develop vaccines and test medicaments. We support in particular the ACT Platform (Access to COVID 19 Tools Accelerator).
The economic and social consequences of the COVID‑19 crisis will have a lasting impact on Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Germany and Europe. Yet we firmly believe that in the long term we can emerge strengthened from the crisis if we send the right messages now. We must, for example, encourage the business community, academia and civil society to take collective action.
We are united in our commitment to finding an answer to the corona crisis which advances the sustainable development goals in line with our international commitments in the environmental, social and economic fields, laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the global biodiversity goals. We are determined to strengthen rules-based free trade and to boost the openness, sustainability, resilience and diversification of supply chains as the basis for promoting economic recovery, overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and improving our national and collective preparedness for other similar health emergencies. Regional integration as well as the conclusion of comprehensive, modern agreements between the EU and Latin American countries will make key contributions towards this.
In international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), we will work on sustainable solutions. Debt rescheduling measures should also be discussed, as appropriate. If on top of this, we step up exchange and cooperation in the main issues key to our future such as the energy transition, the digital transformation and bio economy, we can make our economic systems better able to withstand crises, more diversified and more modern than they were before the crisis. During its upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 July, Germany will work to achieve these goals within the context of strengthened relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.
We are determined to join forces to fight the pandemic together, one of the greatest common challenges of our lifetimes, and to mitigate its impacts, including the socio-economic ones. And we are convinced that our partnership can and will emerge stronger than ever before from this joint struggle.
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Germany, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Uruguay.
Berlin, 3 June 2020