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Statement by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the event of the Alliance for Multilateralism marking the 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter

26.06.2020 - Speech

“Oh, what a great day that can be in history!”, President Truman exclaimed 75 years ago, referring to the day the UN Charter would be signed. And indeed, to this day, the Charter continues to be our most reliable compass for working together as nations.

However, the joy is not unclouded: In the world that the founders of the UN had in mind, this meeting would not have been necessary. Because we could have relied on the rules-based world order.

But multilateral solutions are too often blocked today. This is all the more troubling in a crisis that has dramatically demonstrated the urgency of working together.

And that is where our Alliance comes into play.

Take the World Health Organization: We stood by its side in difficult times. And since our last meeting, Germany has increased its contribution to more than 500 million Euro this year.

Today, we should agree on additional steps to lead us out of this crisis.

First, we will have to deal with invisible enemies such as COVID-19 even more often – take climate change or cyberattacks. This must lead to a more comprehensive approach to security.

We will also highlight this during our Presidency of the Security Council which starts next week.

Second, to “build back better”, actors from different disciplines must share their knowledge and work together.

This is especially important in the worldwide search for a vaccine. Supporting the ACT initiative therefore remains crucial. To this day, almost 10 billion euro have been raised for a global response against COVID-19 - an important sign of global solidarity. Together, we should uphold our pledge that a potential treatment and a future vaccine must be treated as global public goods. 

Third, disinformation has been spreading as much as the virus itself. And some governments have used the crisis to silence critical media.

It is our duty as free and democratic societies to strengthen an open information environment. Simply because trustworthy information can save lives.

Ladies and gentlemen,
75 years ago the peoples of the world pledged to “unite their strengths”, as stated in the preamble of the UN Charter.

In this historic crisis, it is upon us to follow their path.

Thank you for joining us today!


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