Statement by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the Preparatory Meeting for the Summit of the Future

21.09.2023 - Press release

Over the past three decades, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty.

Child mortality has dropped.

Global literacy rates have risen from 70 percent five decades ago to nearly 90 percent today.

This shows: we can achieve remarkable things – if we join forces.

Since 1945, the United Nations has acted as an engine of progress and peace.

However, it is evident that, in order to continue fulfilling its mission for future generations, the United Nations needs an upgrade.

Today, we have gathered to do just that: to envision the future of our United Nations and of our international community.

I would like to sincerely thank my colleague from Namibia:

Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, I am very grateful for your partnership – not only as co-facilitator.

And I am mindful of the atrocities and traumas my country Germany inflicted on the people of Namibia during colonial times.

We are learning from our past, and we are building our future together. This is the only way – we both believe – we can act in an international, peaceful world.

Because no single country in the world can respond to the major issues of our time alone – from, most importantly, the climate crisis, to inequality, to digital governance, to women’s rights.

At the Summit of the Future next year, we have the chance to move ahead on these issues.

For us as co-facilitators, it was important in this process to listen and to reflect on every voice – no matter how loud or silent – in order to build consensus.

In addition, from my perspective, two things are crucial for the future process:

First, the Summit of the Future will need to boost the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Right now, progress on half of the 169 targets associated with the SDGs is simply not enough.

We – especially the industrialised countries – need to step up our efforts.

Second, we need to reform the UN and our international institutions – as the Secretary-General has pointed out in his remarkable speech at the beginning of this UNGA.

Consider this: over three-quarters of today’s countries were not present when the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created.

But we need institutions that reflect today’s reality – so that we can shape today’s reality.

These are no easy tasks.

But: “It is time to think big.”

That is how Secretary-General Guterres put it.

I agree. And that’s what we are here for.

To think big – not alone, but together.


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