Vivian Balakrishnan hosts 11th Global Governance Group meeting on sidelines of UN General Assembly

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the United Nations in New York on Sept 24, 2018.
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the United Nations in New York on Sept 24, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK - Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan hosted the 11th Global Governance Group (3G) Ministerial Meeting on Friday (Sept 28) in New York, where he is attending the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Global Governance Group is an informal group of smaller and medium-sized countries that aims to provide greater representation to its member countries and collectively channel their views into the G-20 process more effectively.

The group consists of 30 member countries, namely the Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Finland, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Vietnam.

The 3G meeting was attended by several foreign ministers, including the representatives from the Bahamas, Brunei, Barbados, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Monaco, and Panama.

Also present were foreign ministers from the G-20 troika, comprising Germany, Argentina, and Japan, and president of the 73rd UNGA María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés.

A key part of the discussions with the G-20 troika were focused on the key priorities and deliverables of the G-20 under Argentina's G-20 presidency. In particular, the 3G ministers welcomed Argentina's ambitious and forward-looking G-20 agenda of "Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development".

While stressing the importance of sustaining climate change action, the 3G ministers also welcomed the creation of the Climate Sustainability Working Group under Argentina's G-20 presidency, and reiterated their commitment to the Paris Agreement and issues related to its implementation in view of the upcoming 24th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

 
 

In this context, they expressed their readiness to work closely with the G-20 to jointly address this urgent and global challenge.

Another focus area of the deliberations were rising global trade tensions, given that the 3G countries are open economies that are heavily reliant on trade. The 3G ministers emphasised the importance of maintaining an open, rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and lauded efforts by Argentina's G-20 presidency to uphold the WTO rules.

The 3G members further expressed appreciation for Argentina's active engagement with the group. They also stated their desire to continue the partnership with the G-20 under Japan's presidency in 2019. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono briefed the meeting on Japan's priorities for its presidency of the G-20 as well.

Separately, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas briefed the 3G on the outcomes of the German presidency of the G-20 in 2017.

In a separate engagement, Dr Balakrishnan chaired the Informal Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting (IAMM) on the sidelines of the UNGA. He also chaired the meeting of the Asean Foreign Ministers with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the president of the General Assembly, which took stock of Asean-UN cooperation.

On his trip to the UN, Dr Balakrishnan has also held separate bilateral meetings with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Safadi, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, Grenadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Labour Peter David, and Germany's Mr Maas.

Dr Balakrishnan also attended a high-level event on counter-terrorism convened by Kazakhstan.