Heads of Government and Foreign Ministers from almost every country in the world are meeting in New York this week for the 77th UN General Assembly. Complex, interconnected crises, including the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the climate crisis and the growing concerns about the state of the global economy are challenging the international community.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will represent Germany at numerous events in New York
Not a “normal” General Assembly
“A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” is the motto of the 77th General Assembly, which is needed more than ever as a central forum where interlocutors can move closer towards one another, engage in dialogue and listen to one another.
Before leaving for New York, Foreign Minister Baerbock said:
Like many others, I would have liked nothing more than for this summit of the international community to be taking place under different, more peaceful circumstances. These days, we need the United Nations more than ever. And we need it for what it truly stands for: listening to each other with respect and understanding, united in our belief in the fundamental values of the UN Charter, such as the renunciation of violence, the sovereign equality of all states and international cooperation. And we need the United Nations in order to find common solutions to global problems – so that no country must live in fear that a stronger neighbour will attack it.
The brutality of Russia’s war of aggression and its threat to Europe’s peaceful order do not obscure our view of the fact that its dramatic impacts are even more severe in many regions of the world. That’s why I will use the numerous events and discussions in the coming week to focus on the issues and concerns of our partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Arab world – to talk about concrete solutions with those who are most affected by climate change and the food crisis. After all, we have a responsibility not only for Europe, but together for the whole world.
A multidimensional crisis as a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine
With his war, Putin has not only brought immeasurable suffering to the people in Ukraine. The price shock on the grain market means that the food situation for many millions of people who are hit particularly hard by the food crisis has deteriorated. This is exacerbated by uncertainties with regard to energy supply and debt and a precarious global economy. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Russia has a particular obligation to abide by the Charter of the United Nations and maintain peace in the world. Russia is not living up to this responsibility. Instead, it is riding roughshod over the foundations of the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Baerbock will make quite clear in New York that we stand firmly alongside Ukraine and alongside the people throughout the world who are suffering from the impact of Putin’s war. At the same time, Germany is striving to bring about the prosecution of war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine. Foreign Minister Baerbock will co-host a high-level meeting on this issue in New York. The Foreign Minister will also attend a meeting on the situation with regard to Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and on nuclear safety.
Focus on climate and security
The climate crisis is fuelling all other crises in the world. Serious flooding and storms, rising sea levels but also dry spells and droughts are forcing people in already vulnerable states to leave their homes. This gives rise to armed conflicts over land and food.
In New York, Foreign Minister Baerbock will therefore also hold consultations on how to strengthen particularly hard-hit states in the interests of climate justice. She will also join politicians and civil society to discuss effective approaches to overcoming the humanitarian, security-related and geopolitical impacts of the climate crisis. The main speakers will include representatives of countries under particular threat, such as the Pacific island state of Palau.
Strong engagement for feminist foreign policy
The great challenges of our time cannot be tackled without recourse to feminist diplomacy. After all, “women’s rights are a yardstick for freedom and democracy in our societies. For this very reason, women’s rights are not a women’s issue. They are a human rights issue, a democracy issue and a rule of law issue,” as Foreign Minister Baerbock recently declared.
Within the framework of an event on Feminist Foreign Policy, Foreign Minister Baerbock will therefore also consider the issue of global gender equality and equal participation in politics, business and society, and will shed light on perspectives from various world regions together with her counterparts.
A sharp focus on regional challenges
Many other issues are also on the agenda.
Regional conflicts such as those in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East are ongoing and must not be lost sight of or overshadowed by Russia’s war.
Foreign Minister Baerbock will host a meeting with France, Egypt and Jordan in the Munich format on the Middle East peace process. Together with France, she will also place questions concerning international cyber security on the agenda.
Last but not least, the Foreign Minister will meet foreign ministers from various other countries. Moreover, she will convene a G7 meeting in her role as Presidency and exchange views with Brazil, India and Japan in the Group of Four on reform of the UN Security Council.