Press Statement from the Ministerial Meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism, 23 September

23.09.2021 - Press release

The Alliance for Multilateralism met at ministerial level on 23 September 2021, on the margins of the High-Level Week of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Alliance for Multilateralism, launched in September 2019 at the initiative of France and Germany, aims to bring together all partners who believe in strong and effective multilateralism. Now more than ever we need strengthened international solidarity to tackle the many challenges that the world is facing. In particular, multilateral management of global public goods must be improved.

More than 70 ministers and representatives of international organizations and civil society spoke at this meeting, held in hybrid format, on the topic of “our common agenda”.

On health matters, participants reiterated the importance of enhancing the multilateral health architecture, with the World Health Organization (WHO) at its core, in order to better prevent and respond to future public health crises. In particular, they highlighted the need to improve political governance of the global health system. Participants also stressed the need to increase financing dedicated to public health, from preparation to response. Recalling the efforts made in the framework of ACT-A and the COVAX Facility, participants also underlined that priority should be given to equitable access to vaccines, which must be considered as global public goods, and the financing of ACT-A/COVAX.

Furthermore, the Alliance for Multilateralism meeting provided the opportunity to reiterate the participants’ commitment to the defence and promotion of human rights. Today, human rights are being weakened and challenged at their very core – which is their universal and individual nature, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and undermined by more vague and non-binding concepts, which weaken and subvert them. Participants highlighted in particular the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality. Participants also mentioned the fight against violence against women, which increased in the context of the pandemic. The importance of signing and ratifying the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, was also reiterated.

In terms of the fight against climate change and for the preservation of biodiversity, the need to make a collective step forward ahead of COP26 on climate and COP15 on biodiversity was strongly emphasised. While no region of the world today is spared from the consequences of global warming, as recalled in the recent IPCC report, a path can still be found to respect the commitments made in Paris in 2015. All participating States were encouraged to submit their nationally determined contributions before COP26 and present a long-term strategy aligned with this objective.

Overall, participants also noted the strong correlation between the three issues, for instance the detrimental effects that both the Covid19-pandemic and climate change have on the human rights situation.

Some concrete initiatives that were presented:

As the current health crisis has shown the extent to which human health is inextricably linked to animal and environmental health, the One Health High-Level Expert Panel, initiated during the Alliance for Multilateralism meeting on 12 November 2020, aims to provide a scientific evaluation of the relationship between animal, human and environmental health and to guide public policy in this area.

Participants were also encouraged to support the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality, put forward at the Generation Equality Forum, jointly organized in Paris in late June/early July 2021 by France and Mexico, under the aegis of UN Women. With its six coalitions for action and the mobilization of $40 billion, this plan lays out an ambitious roadmap in support of gender equality for the next five years, with more than 1,000 tangible commitments made so far.

In the field of climate and biodiversity, several tangible initiatives were highlighted, such as the Great Green Wall Accelerator. This platform, which has a budget of almost €16 billion for the next five years, aims to strengthen the resilience of the Sahel region, particularly affected by global warming, the loss of biodiversity and desertification.

The next meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism will take place in November 2021, at the Paris Peace Forum.

A look back at the previous meetings of the Alliance:

The Alliance for Multilateralism was launched during the High-Level Week of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on 26 September 2019.

The Alliance met in 2020 and 2021 to:

- promote the implementation of international humanitarian law, protect the humanitarian space and support accountability and the fight against impunity, at the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva on 24 February 2020;

- support the central role of the WHO in the management of COVID-19 and put forward proposals for reform of the multilateral health architecture at meetings on 16 April 2020 and 26 June 2020;

- help “build back better” after the COVID-19 crisis, through a response focusing on the climate, health, digital technologies and gender equality, on 25 September 2020 on the sidelines of the High-Level Week of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly;

- strengthen the multilateral health architecture (with the launch of the One Health High-Level Expert Panel) and the fight against disinformation, on 12 November 2020 at the Paris Peace Forum;

- protect, preserve and further human rights law and institutions, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued, at the High Level Segment of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 24 February 2021.

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