16 May 2023 Towards a renewed multilateralism

Speech by German Federal Minister For Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze at an event organised by the Atlantic Council and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Washington D.C.

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Ladies and gentlemen – good afternoon!

“Shaping the global future together”: That is the motto of the Atlantic Council. And that could also very well be the guiding principle for Germany’s development policy.

Because it is clear that the global challenges the international community is facing cannot be dealt with by any country on its own. Regardless whether it is halting the effects of climate change, conserving biodiversity, promoting global security or fighting poverty and diseases: these challenges all require us to act together and develop multilateral solutions.

That is why the German government is committed to push for a strong multilateralism. I will present my Ministry’s new strategy for our multilateral development cooperation this autumn. It is aimed at strengthening the capacity to act and the crisis response capacity of multilateral organisations. This will enable them to better meet the challenges of our times and more actively shape our common future.

This will require structural reforms. In times of multiple crises multilateral organisations need to become more effective. One thing they need is reliable funding. And they need structures that are transparent, coherent and effective. Then they also need a clear mandate to not only react to crises but rather act in a preventive way.

I am working to ensure that multilateral organisations – such as the World Bank – are geared more towards the protection and provision of global public goods; ensuring for instance, a stable climate, health, peace and security. The World Bank needs to channel its financing more towards the protection of global goods, provide relevant incentives to borrowers and fully exploit its financing options.

To make multilateral organisations fit for the future, Germany is supporting the goals of the UN Secretary General’s Common Agenda. The High Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism has put forward interesting proposals for implementation. I want to contribute to enabling the United Nations to act in a more integrated and inclusive manner.

Germany is pursuing a global structural policy that advocates a rules-based international order; it is aimed at protecting global goods, making countries more resilient and facilitating sustainable development.

However, global structural policy is nothing we can drive forward alone. That is why Germany is seeking to join forces with like-minded partners, especially the US. I am in close contact with Janet Yellen and Samantha Power to advance issues such as the World Bank reform, international financing of climate protection and adaptation, and the stabilisation of fragile states. The point is to find joint responses to the challenges of today – and of tomorrow. This is where the German government relies on the transatlantic alliance and other international alliances.

The African countries, in particular, are key partners when it comes to addressing global challenges. Africa is growing and changing enormously. This also entails geopolitical, economic and social transformations. That is why I, as the German Development Minister have formulated a new Africa strategy. It puts the development goals that the African Union has set itself centre stage and provides structural support.

It is our goal to support our partners in Africa in their efforts to provide better living conditions and reliable prospects for the future for their people. Through its development policy Germany wants to set the course for more climate action, sustainability and social cohesion. That is in the interests of our partners in Africa and also in Germany’s and the global interest.

I was in Mali recently together with German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius. The Sahel region is currently experiencing one of the fastest growing movements of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world: We are seeing how important it is to take preventive action. That means working through civil engagement, through development policy, to create opportunities that counter insecurity and terrorism. We, the international community, need to show the people in that region that we will not leave them behind. We are working together to develop sustainable, cross-border solutions. That is what I want to work for under the framework of the Sahel Alliance. And that is why I will stand as a candidate for the chair of the Sahel Alliance.

These are key levers the German government wants to pull together with its American partners and partners worldwide, aimed at “shaping the global future together”. I am happy to take your questions and look forward to our discussion!