Statement by Foreign Minister Gabriel today (15 February) on the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting
“Foreign policy is, and must be, more than crisis management. We are well advised not to constantly run from one fire to the next, putting out the flames. That is why it is so important that the 20 largest countries in the world are meeting to address the causes of conflicts and the options for peaceful crisis prevention and conflict resolution.
No country in the world can tackle the major international problems of our time alone. Terrorism, water scarcity, forced migration and humanitarian emergencies cannot be resolved by isolation. Climate change cannot be tackled by barbed wire.
As the coincidences of international diplomacy would have it, I am not the only one for whom this meeting is a première as Foreign Minister.
Germany will be a forum for global politics in the coming days. We want to use this opportunity, first in Bonn and then in Munich, to address the major issues on the agenda.”
Beyond the daily challenges of crisis diplomacy, we must also focus on the deeper causes of violent conflicts. Humanitarian emergencies, forced migration, armed conflicts and terrorism are often the product of fundamental negative economic and social developments. While we are addressing the symptoms with humanitarian assistance and diplomatic peace missions, we must not lose sight of the factors which cause these crises.
The aim of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting is to make possible a discussion within an informal framework on the role of foreign policy in tackling global challenges. It should provide impetus for strengthening crisis prevention, addressing global imbalances and poverty and helping to build a peaceful, fair and sustainable world order.
One focus is the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agenda 2030 could become the main reference point for a more just and more peaceful world order. With the resources available to it, the G20 can become a crucial player in implementing this global project to create greater fairness.
Another focus is maintaining long-term peace in a world characterised by a new disorder. This is about a forward-looking policy and prevention instead of crisis management. Identifying crises at an early stage has to be part of this foreign policy. For example, climate change and water scarcity will present us with completely new challenges for which we have to be as well prepared as possible.
A third focus of the meeting is cooperation with Africa. Together with African Union representative Anthony Mothae Maruping, we will discuss what general conditions are needed to combat poverty, strengthen state institutions and ensure that more is done to unlock the potential of many African states.
The G20’s considerable economic clout brings with it great responsibility. Only if we succeed in offering those both within and outside the G20 states who feel left behind fair prospects of security, prosperity and peace will we be able to create a sustainable global order.
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting cannot solve all international problems at once. Nevertheless, the exchange is important. The meeting should create key impetus for a sustainable international order. The great interest in the G20 member states in this meeting in Bonn is a good sign: it shows our will to reject isolationism and nationalism and to embrace international dialogue and cooperation.