Opening Statement by Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Event “Alliance for Multilateralism: Shaping our Common Agenda”

23.09.2021 - Speech

Two years ago, we met here in New York to launch the Alliance for Multilateralism.

At the time, the prospects for multilateralism were bleak.

I still remember a former US president telling us that if we put our countries first, the whole world would be better off.

Fortunately, that dangerous concept did not succeed. In fact, we made it clear that multilateralism matters. That international cooperation works for the common good:

  • Despite all of the shortcomings that exist, we have joined forces against the pandemic.
  • We are stepping up cooperation to tackle climate change in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow.
  • And as we evacuate our citizens and other vulnerable people from Afghanistan, we are seeing an incredible degree of international burden sharing.

All this shows that investing in international cooperation pays off. And that multilateralism is back – not least thanks to our efforts.

Two weeks ago, Secretary-General Guterres presented his vision for the future global agenda.

Our meeting today can contribute to making this a reality. By focusing on the three most pressing issues that face the international community:

Firstly – better pandemic preparedness.

With nearly five million dead, it is a matter of urgency for us to close the gaps in our global health infrastructure.

This means

  • Strengthening and reforming the international health architecture with the WHO at its centre,
  • implementing the One Health approach,
  • and continuing our support for the ACT-Accelerator and COVAX –that Germany supports with 2.2 billion Euros and 100 million vaccine doses. For a fair distribution of vaccines as a global public good. This is really important at this moment.

Secondly – we must do more to mitigate climate change. This is the most important task of our time.

COP26 is the place to raise our ambitions, improve our NDCs and boost climate financing.

In all of these endeavors – and this is my third point – we must place women and girls at the center.

The Afghanistan crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have reminded us that we are still far away from achieving gender equality. This is politically wrong, economically stupid, and simply unacceptable.

To tackle the major challenges facing us, we need active, inclusive and effective multilateralism.

Germany remains committed to this, as we underscored in our recent White Paper on Multilateralism.

And I am grateful for the commitment that all of you are showing.

We know that multilateralism is hard work. That it takes time. But we also know that it is worth it.

Thank you.


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