Secretary Cascos reminds Texans early voting for runoff starts May 16

May 14, 2016
Contact: Alicia Pierce or Mari Bergman

AUSTIN, TX – Today, Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos reminded Texans that early voting for the May 24 Primary Runoff Election begins on Monday, May 16, and runs through Friday, May 20.

“The primary runoff is an opportunity for voters to decide who will represent their party in races where no candidate secured a majority of the votes,” said Secretary Cascos. “It’s a time to finalize which Republican and Democrat candidates will be on the ballot in November.”

If voters participated in the primary election for either the Republican or Democrat party, they will be limited to voting in the same party for the runoff. Voters who did not vote in the primary or participate in any third party nominating conventions may still vote in the runoff and may select either party runoff election in which to vote.

Secretary Cascos also reminded voters they will need to bring photo ID if they cast a ballot in person.

“The photo ID requirement is still in effect,” said Cascos. “Voters will need to present one of seven forms of approved photo ID when coming to the polls.”

The forms of approved photo ID are:

  1. Texas Driver License – issued by the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  2. Texas Personal Identification Card – issued by DPS
  3. Texas Concealed Handgun License – issued by DPS
  4. United States Military Identification card containing the person’s photograph
  5. United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph
  6. United States Passport – issued by the U.S. government
  7. Election Identification Certificate – issued free by DPS

Any citizen who does not have an approved ID can apply for a free Election Identification Certificate and should visit or call 1-800-252-VOTE for more information.

Voters can contact their county elections office to locate the most convenient polling place, or they can follow the links at During early voting, polling place times will vary from county to county and voters may vote at any polling location in their county.


Voters in HD120 special runoff election have additional ID options

July 24, 2016
Contact: Alicia Pierce or Mari Bergman

AUSTIN, TX – As a result of a court order issued on Saturday, voters casting a ballot in the special runoff election for Texas House District 120 will have additional options for identifying themselves at the polls.

These provisions are temporary and apply only to this special runoff election.

If a voter does not have one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, a voter may vote provisionally and sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that the voter is the same person who personally appeared at the polling place, the voter is casting a ballot while voting in person, and the voter has a reasonable impediment which keeps the voter from obtaining an acceptable form of photo ID.  Along with the affidavit, voters may present either a valid voter registration certificate or current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name of the voter.

If a voter does not have one of those requested documents, the voter will need to provide their date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number as a part of the affidavit. Absent conclusive evidence of impersonation or an incomplete provisional ballot package, the provisional ballot shall be counted.

Only in-person voters without one of the seven forms of approved ID need to sign the affidavit in order to vote. The seven forms of approved photo ID are:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the identification must be current or have expired no more than 60 days before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

Early voting in person for the HD 120 special runoff election begins on Monday, July 25, and ends on Friday, July 29. Election Day is August 2.

Previous to her resignation, HD 120 was represented by Ruth Jones McClendon. The district includes parts of Bexar County.


Secretary of State Carlos Cascos Kicks Off Vote Texas Campaign

September 14, 2016
Contact: Alicia Pierce or Mari Bergman

AUSTIN, TX – Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos unveiled the state’s voter education campaign today to a University of Texas at Austin undergraduate American history class of future and first-time voters. Vote Texas is a statewide, bilingual effort to engage voters through the Nov. 8 general election about the state’s photo ID requirements and additional options for voters who cannot obtain an approved photo ID, mandated by court order.

“I’m excited to kick off Vote Texas with these first-time and future voters who are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Cascos said. “As the state’s chief election officer, I take very seriously the responsibility of making sure every eligible Texan who wants to vote in the upcoming election has the necessary information to do so.”

Cascos talked with the students about the seven forms of acceptable photo identification voters will be asked to present at the polls in November. He also reminded them that voters who cannot obtain one of the seven approved forms of approved photo ID, and who have a reasonable impediment or difficulty to obtaining one of the approved forms of photo ID,  now have additional options when voting in person. The session was moderated by Dr. H.W. Brands, a noted American history expert and professor at the University of Texas.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to ensure many of these first-time voters are prepared for the polls in November,” Brands said. “I applaud the secretary’s efforts to educate all Texans on what they need to know before voting.”

Kassie Barroquillo of UT Votes, a nonpartisan student organization that organizes voter registration and education activities to increase civic engagement and electoral awareness, provided information on how to register to vote.

As part of Vote Texas, Cascos and members of his team will be traveling the state through Election Day talking to all Texans in both English and Spanish about voting. Efforts include special outreach to first-time voters – both students and new Texans – seniors, members of the military and minority groups. The campaign will include advertisements in English and Spanish, which will run via television, radio, community newspapers and online throughout the state.

Voters with questions about how to cast a ballot in these elections can call 1-800-252-VOTE and visit

Early voting for the Nov. 8 election begins Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 4.


Voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID have additional options at the polls

AUSTIN, TX – The Office of the Texas Secretary of State reminds voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain a form of approved photo ID that they now have additional options when voting in person. These additional options apply to current and upcoming school tax elections and the November General Election.

“My agency is working to make sure Texans know about these changes and that all qualified voters are ready to cast a ballot,” said Secretary Cascos.

Currently, Texas voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID have additional options when casting their ballots. As provided by court order, if a voter does not possess and is not reasonably able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by (1) signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is reasonably unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and (2) providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.

Supporting documentation can be a certified birth certificate (must be an original), a valid voter registration certificate, a copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, although government documents which include a photo must be original and cannot be copies. If a voter meets these requirements and is otherwise eligible to vote, the voter will be able to cast a regular ballot in the election.

  • The seven forms of approved photo ID are:
  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the approved photo ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.

Voters with a disability may continue to apply with the county registrar for a permanent exemption to showing approved photo ID (which now may be expired no more than four years) at the polls. Also, voters who (1) have a consistent religious objections to being photographed or (2) do not present one of the seven forms of approved photo ID because of certain natural disasters as declared by the President of the United States or the Texas Governor, may continue apply for a temporary exemption to showing approved photo ID at the polls.

Voters with questions about how to cast a ballot in these elections can call 1-800-252-VOTE.


Secretary Cascos Reminds Texans Early Voting in Person begins Monday

AUSTIN, TX – Texas Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos reminds Texans early voting at the polls begins Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4.

“In-person early voting is a convenient option for voters,” Secretary Cacscos said. “During early voting you can cast a ballot at any polling place in your county of registration and also avoid lines that may form on Election Day.”

Secretary Cascos also stressed that early voting is a way to ensure voters are able to vote even if they encounter unexpected events on Election Day.

“Sometimes things happen like a flat tire or a sick child,” Secretary Cascos said. “By voting early you don’t have to worry if you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.”

Just like on Election Day, identification requirements will be in effect.

Voters who possess one of the seven forms of approved photo ID must use it at the polls. The seven forms of approved photo ID are:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

(With the exception of the U.S. citizenship certificate, the approved photo ID must be current or have expired no more than four years before being presented for voter qualification at the polling place.)

Currently, Texas voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID have additional options when casting their ballots. As provided by court order, if a voter does not possess and is not reasonably able to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by (1) signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is reasonably unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and (2) providing one of various forms of supporting documentation.

Supporting documentation can be a certified birth certificate (must be an original), a valid voter registration certificate, a copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, although government documents which include a photo must be original and cannot be copies. If a voter meets these requirements and is otherwise eligible to vote, the voter will be able to cast a regular ballot in the election.

Voters with questions about the registration process and how to cast a ballot can visit or call 1-800-252-VOTE. Texans can join the #VoteTexas conversation this election by following Vote Texas’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social platforms.


Secretary Pablos Delivers Keynote Address At Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit At Fort Bliss

“The best place to find qualified workers is right here” 

Secretary Pablos standing at a podium giving an address
Secretary Pablos delivers the keynote address to
the Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit at Fort Bliss
in El Paso.

EL PASO, TX – Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos today delivered the keynote address at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit at Fort Bliss. The Hiring Our Heroes Transition Summit is a two-day event featuring panel discussions, recruiter training, and networking events for employers, military leaders, and job seekers. Secretary Pablos expressed his deep gratitude to the veterans for their service and highlighted Texas’ ongoing commitment to providing ample opportunities for veterans transitioning into the workforce.
“The relationship between Fort Bliss and El Paso is extremely unique, and the relationship our community leaders have built to bring more veterans into the workforce is unique as well,” Secretary Pablos said. “Companies want to know that a community like El Paso has a talent pipeline that can be relied upon in the present, but also in the future. The best place to find qualified workers is right here – you are already qualified, all we need to do is match your skill set with the right employers. My personal goal is that you all stay right here in the State of Texas.”

As of January 1, 2016, new veteran-owned business entities in the State of Texas can qualify for exemptions from certain filing fees through the Secretary of State’s Business Filings Division and the Texas franchise tax for the first five years of operation. Since that time, more than 430 new veteran-owned business entities have been formed in the State of Texas.
Learn more about benefits for veteran-owned businesses in Texas.


DESIGN PUBLIC HEARING TO BE HELD ON PROPOSED PLANS FOR THIRD SEGMENT OF I-64 WIDENING PROJECT – Public invited to learn more about plans to provide congestion relief on I-64 in York County

Public invited to learn more about plans to provide congestion relief on I-64 in York County

SUFFOLK — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will hold a design public hearing on Thursday, May 18, to present the proposed plans for the third segment of widening improvements on Interstate 64 in York County.

Design Public Hearing
Thursday, May 18, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Bruton High School
185 E. Rochambeau Drive
Williamsburg, VA  23188

The purpose of the meeting is to give citizens an opportunity to review the project exhibits on display, meet with VDOT representatives and provide input. This will be an open-house format meeting with no formal presentation. Media are invited to attend.

Citizens may provide oral and written comments at the hearing or submit them by May 28, 2017, to Janet Hedrick, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 1992 South Military Highway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320 or via email to Please reference “I-64 Segment III Capacity Improvements Comment” in the subject line.

For more information on this project, please visit:


Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on the occasion of the G20 Dialogue Forum for the Science and Research Community (S20) in Halle (Saale) on 22 March 2017

begin 2017.03.22

Professor Hacker – I am also including all of your colleagues from the G20 nations or their representatives,
Minister-President, my dear Reiner Haseloff,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the work that you have done. Science depends on curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and the joy of discovery. In science, one person builds on the insights of another. It is precisely this that makes it different from politics. In politics, one can feel comfortable saying the same thing two or three times because the audience is always different. In science, however, there is the expectation that you won’t repeat what a predecessor has already said. In politics, one is sometimes pleased when two people in a party say the same thing. Reiner Haseloff knows what I am talking about.

In science, interaction and cooperation are very important. Openness and interconnectedness are virtually taken for granted as part of life. This is also why science presents itself as a driver of globalisation on the one hand, and benefits from globalisation on the other. The fact that globalisation exists also makes scientific activity simpler and more normal.

Three hundred and sixty five years ago, four doctors laid the foundation for the Leopoldina in order to promote the exchange of ideas in the medical and natural sciences. Back in the era of stagecoaches, it was still somewhat more complex to communicate with each other than it is today in the digital age. But the urge for knowledge and understanding, the urge to learn from and with one another, already existed back then. The same rule that applied in those days still does today: Only those who demonstrate an openness to the world, and engage in cooperation beyond professional and physical boundaries, can fully benefit from it.

This is basically true for science, as it is for the economy. In both areas, we increasingly face the same challenges through the growing interconnectedness worldwide. Developments on one side of the globe have more and more impact on the other side of the globe. This applies in a positive sense, just as it does in a negative sense. One of the most concrete examples was surely the international financial and economic crisis at the end of the last decade.

Globalisation is taking place. Whoever tries to evade it, whoever focuses on isolation and protectionism, may perhaps expect to gain some advantages in the short term. However, it is clear to me that this will cause one’s own innovative capabilities and competitiveness to weaken in the medium and long term. After all, we find a great many examples of this in history.

In a closely networked world, we need – more than ever – answers that are consistent and don’t undermine each other in their effects. Therefore, global questions also require global answers. The G20 at the heads of state and government level – I wish to repeat this – was the result of the financial and economic crisis in the years 2007 and 2008. It was then that the heads of state and government met for the first time at G20 level. Previously, this was a forum for finance ministers. We saw back then that our joint action – concerning bank regulation as well as efforts to stimulate the world economy – actually made it more possible to deal with this global crisis.

At the beginning of July, the heads of state and government of the G20 member nations will meet for a summit in Hamburg. On this occasion, too, we will have guests in attendance. They are the representatives of regional organisations as well as representatives of international organisations, such as the United Nations, the IMF, the OECD, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Labour Organisation. For this reason, too, G20 summits are always global meetings, as it were. We have now included the scientific community, as well as other areas of civil society, in the summit process. Civil-society groups will be present from the very start this time – such as representatives of the business community as well as the trade unions. Also because of the good experiences from the G7 or G8 process, we had decided to expand the group of participants this year at the G20 level as well.

Therefore, this is a world premiere today, so to speak: the first meeting of science academies in the G20 format. I thank you for making the journey, which involved very long distances and travel times in some cases. I would also like to express my gratitude to Professor Hacker and his team, as well as all other participants, for deciding to convene here, for preparing the meeting, for thinking about the topics, for making a note of the conclusions, and all of this – I’ll come back to it later – in sensible language that we, as politicians, can understand.

Apart from business and trade-union representatives, the other groups we will meet with include non governmental organisations, think tanks, women and young people. As a result, this G20 process also has an impact on society.

In reference to science, it is clear that responsible policy depends on scientific recommendation. This is self evident for us in national politics. For this reason, we time and again seek the advice of scientists. This is enriching for policymakers, I would say.

Naturally, I am also pleased that Minister-President Reiner Haseloff is here and has said that his daily work routine is also enriched by this. I also thank the state of Saxony-Anhalt for being such a good host state for the German National Academy of Sciences. If the budget is already secured for the next two years, then that is much more than I can predict for our budgetary commitments. So, congratulations.

I mentioned earlier that you have developed a policy brief. It is important that the language of science is translated in such a way that it can also be comprehended by non scientists. In this sense, as presidents and representatives of your national academies, you are the builders of bridges into society. Because when it comes to the many problems that we have to solve, we can only benefit from scientific knowledge. This applies to the topic of health just as much as it does to other subjects, such as digitalisation, climate and environmental protection, poverty reduction, the empowerment of women, and the G20 partnership with Africa. All of this is crucial for the shaping of sustainable development.

We have adopted the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. A topic that plays a central role in the 2030 Agenda is health. The United Nations says in this sustainability charter that every person in the world is entitled to reasonable health care. Of course, serious illnesses are a bitter stroke of fate for those affected and their relatives, first of all. Many diseases also lead to life threatening situations or even to death. But as Professor Hacker already said: There aren’t just individual repercussions; illnesses can also devastate entire regions economically. They can cause social tensions and they can lead to violent conflicts. Therefore, it’s not for nothing that the 2030 Agenda gives a great deal of recognition to the topic of health.

As I have said, we have already had the scientific academies present in the G7 process and focused on health issues. We know – most notably from the Ebola crisis – that health issues can become a global topic very quickly and unexpectedly. People travel today, in times of globalisation, from one place to another – and the pathogens travel with them. The president of the World Bank, himself a physician, repeatedly points out the following: If we were to get another pandemic like the Spanish flu, as we had at the start of the 20th century, then the world – with the intense interconnectedness that we have today – would very quickly find itself in a very, very difficult state.

For this reason, a topic like health belongs on the G20 agenda. Perhaps the related organisational efforts sometimes can be quite burdensome. But I hope that you have also enjoyed getting to know each other. Of course, I also express my gratitude for the communiqué, in which you deal with the issues that particularly concern us.

Professor Hacker, I agree with you: It is essential to have strong health systems on the ground in order to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. Many epidemics could be confined locally if the health systems were sustainable and stable. This is a problem that affects many poorer countries, in particular. If you take one look at the African continent, you will know what a huge amount of work is ahead of us.

Therefore, German development cooperation has been drawing on exactly this point for years now. In Africa alone, we will make available about 600 million euros by 2020 in order to improve health systems. However, I would also add that good government leadership should always go with it – particularly in the cooperation with Africa – so that the funds don’t get stuck somewhere “unsustainably,” as it were, but rather that sustainable structures emerge out of this financial support.

With the World Health Organization, we have also started the “Healthy Systems – Healthy Lives” initiative, which serves to develop a common understanding of how we can strengthen health systems in a sustainable way. The goal is an action framework with specific agreements, with which we support countries in their efforts to provide better medical care. I promote this project among the G20 partners as well.

Within the G7, we spoke on several occasions – including when Germany held the presidency – about strong health systems. In 2015, when we hosted the summit, the G7 countries committed themselves to providing aid for at least 60 nations, in order to truly implement the international health regulations of the WHO. We have clear guidelines from the World Health Organization, but we haven’t introduced them everywhere. At the summit that followed last year in Japan, we broadened this goal. On the list, there are now 76 countries that we want to support in the development of an efficient health system. The G7 nations are doing this. Of course, we also need the governments concerned to have their own initiatives. Naturally, this process always involves evaluating the implementation of measures. I may say that we have completed such an evaluation in 30 countries. This is also planned for 30 more countries.

Strengthening national health systems is one aspect. The other one is to be prepared for emergencies at an international level as well, if diseases were to spread internationally in spite of preventive measures. In this case, the main issue is speed. A rapid response is critical. Medical staff, materials and mobile laboratories must be on the spot quickly in a crisis. Sufficient money must also be available.

I would like to add one more point because it is very sensitive. The World Health Organization is structured in such a way that it has regional offices. These regional offices have a relatively autonomous status. That means there is no chain of command from the head of the World Health Organization and no clear reporting obligation when something happens in a region. Instead, it is largely at the discretion of the regional offices to report on it.

Naturally, there is then something similar to shame: If I identify a looming pandemic in my region, should I report it and thereby trigger an alarm worldwide, so to speak, with all the consequences that this could involve – a collapse of tourism, economic repercussions? Should I have the courage to make myself heard in order to prevent major damage? There has been much discussion about this at the World Health Organization. The voluntary commitments – shall we say – were reinforced. I am relatively optimistic that it will work better in future. But this is, of course, a very important point. Because in order to trigger an alarm and to start a chain of action, I naturally need someone to tell me that something is going on somewhere – and, if possible, at a point in time when the spread of the disease isn’t that far advanced yet.

We must also ensure effective coordination. Therefore, the World Health Organization is of great importance in two respects. It must be the organisation from which we get the information and the assessment. It can employ the help of specialists for this purpose. There must also be the capability of triggering a chain of action for the international community.

The World Bank also plays an important role in this context. In particular, it has established the basis for poorer countries to be able to insure themselves against pandemic risks. This means it’s no longer necessary to just sit there alone with a huge burden in one’s hour of need because such insurance makes it possible to put to use the chain of action that we are still building up. For example, Japan and Germany are participating in this emergency programme. Naturally, there are huge debates, as there always are in science: Can one be insured against pandemics? Who wants to calculate and assess the risk? How long could it take for me to ever get into such a situation? It can take a very long time for the damaging event to occur. But it can then become very expensive once the damage has been done. These are all wonderful topics and they are all being dealt with.

A broad field of research opens up when it involves developing effective means to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. In relation to potential pandemics in regions that may not have received the full focus of our attention so far, there should also be diagnostic and treatment options. You know how long it took with the Ebola vaccination. If it had involved measles, then perhaps we would have had it a lot sooner. Therefore, it is also important to be fair and to create similar treatment options for the different risks in the world.

In Germany – which I want to mention at this point – we have made great efforts to attend to health research, particularly in the past few years. I recently opened a health-research centre for neurodegenerative illnesses in Bonn. We have created a framework programme for health research in order to be well equipped to deal with the most diverse illnesses and to be a good partner in international collaborative arrangements.

However, we see that the incentive to go into certain fields of research also has to be kindled. In this regard, a global view is of great importance to all of us in order to concentrate not just on the diseases that we deal with in industrialised countries, but also to take into consideration other illnesses. At this point, I would like to mention the so called neglected, often tropical, diseases that were already a topic of interest during our G7 presidency. The research commitment for this doesn’t seem to be paying off at all in some cases. But if you consider that up to 1 billion people could be affected by such illnesses, you realise that it is a huge issue.

Therefore, I also expressly welcome an initiative that was launched at the beginning of this year – it was given the go ahead in Davos – and is called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, abbreviated as CEPI. This will promote the research and development of new vaccines. Various countries, foundations and companies are participating in the initiative. Germany is also joining this public private partnership with a contribution of 10 million euros.

Professor Hacker has already pointed out that the development of new antibiotics and antibiotic resistance are also huge issues. We risk falling behind again in some areas because antibiotics that we had once researched no longer have the desired effect due to antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, the topic is one of the pillars of our health commitment in the G20.

In the G7, we reached agreement that we should rely on the so called One Health approach. That means there is just one health that applies to humans and animals in equal measure. That is to say, we carefully examine the food products that we humans ingest, looking at how the food came about and what types of antibiotics were used on the animals that we consume.

The G20 agriculture ministers have already held a meeting and committed themselves to the goal of allowing the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine exclusively for therapeutic purposes and no longer for the purpose of promoting animal growth. But one must say that the definition of therapeutic purpose is an intriguing matter because the question of how much room hens and chicks have in their coops, for example, plays a part in deciding whether antibiotics must be used in order to prevent diseases, or whether one can forgo antibiotics because there is enough space for the poultry. We should give very good consideration to how high a price we are paying when there is resistance to an antibiotic and we aren’t finding new antibiotics so easily. Achieving success in antibiotic research in the pharmaceutical industry – I am no specialist, of course, but I’ve taken a look at it; indeed, all of you here are experts – is like getting five numbers right, or probably six, in Lotto. You can’t plan this easily. Success doesn’t grow on trees.

This year, not only you from the science academies have met, but we also have a conference of health ministers at the G20 level for the first time in order to once again make a good professional evaluation of what you tell us here. We have also asked the health ministers to carry out the simulation of a pandemic outbreak – a kind of dry run – for the first time and to describe action plans. At a national level, we conduct regular training exercises for anything and everything back in our home country in order to practice how we should act in the event of a catastrophe. But on a global level, we aren’t familiar with such exercises, which led to a situation in which the most efficient helpers in the fight against Ebola were military units because they were able to act with clear chains of command and clear capabilities, while the civilian structures were not prepared for it: Who will do the transporting? Who will procure the medicines? What does the chain of command look like? Who will boost hospital capacity? There were quite different approaches. In this respect, we want to be better prepared for crisis situations.

The state and government heads are supposed to be presented with a short version – so to speak – of the simulation exercise. I’m still not quite sure how theoretical or how clear the thing will be. I always look at my summit Sherpa quite eagerly when something is being presented to me. But it should be the case that we, as state and government heads, are also able to understand what is being presented to us. Because such presentations then lead to action recommendations, which we can prepare in our governments.

I really consider this topic to be extraordinarily important. For this reason, I would like to once again sincerely thank you for facing this joint undertaking. I hope that it was rewarding for you as well. It certainly is for us. Many thanks, Professor Hacker, and to your colleagues as well.

I have forgotten one other thing. We saw how poorly things worked when handling the Ebola crisis. We then considered what lessons were to be learned from Ebola. We thought that was something only the United Nations could carry forward – the World Health Organization indeed belongs to the United Nations system. Then three countries initially – Germany, Ghana and Norway – formulated an appeal to the UN Secretary-General to address the issue. The UN Secretary-General then commissioned three other countries to prepare recommendations for action. That was somewhat strange. I said: I haven’t heard anything more about it because three other countries are now dealing with it. The international community is large, but we were allowed to again bring in our experts in the second panel. The action recommendations were then delivered to the UN Secretary-General. After that, he named a special officer to oversee it further in cooperation with the WHO. It finally found a way, so to speak, into the mechanism of the United Nations. As a result, the issue was formalised and therefore has relevance at the United Nations as well. Now they should just make sure not to lose sight of it.

Ensuring prosperity for all

How can an economically prosperous, ecologically sustainable and socially integrative future be created for the world population? Academics, politicians and business representatives met at the Think20 Dialogue Forum to draw up recommendations for the G20 Summit in July which were then presented to Peter Altmaier.

Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier at the Think20 Dialogue ForumPeter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, accepted the Think20 recommendations on the Chancellor’s behalf Photo: PwC

The global economy is growing ever more connected and is shaped by rapid technical progress. Nevertheless, economic progress no longer seems to go hand in hand with social progress. One of the goals of the G20 should, ultimately, be to shape the global economy in such a way that people’s most pressing needs can be met. But that also means that the G20 should make efforts to promote not just economic growth but also robust, integrative and sustainable prosperity.

Academics, politicians and business representatives spent two days at the Think20 Dialogue Forum in Berlin discussing solutions to these global challenges. They then presented their recommendations to Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery.

Tackling global problems

Peter Altmaier said that innovation was driven by global problems which needed to be solved and by technical developments, not by politics. That was why it was necessary, he said, to create governmental structures so that problems could be discussed globally in a networked world. “We now understand that technical progress will only be possible and the risks associated with climate change, migration, poverty and terrorism can only be tackled in our closely networked world if we act together,” the Head of the Federal Chancellery said.

Migration and flight are huge challenges, Altmaier said. Events in the autumn of 2015 had showed that there was no fully functional international framework in place for dealing with such problems. Many countries in Europe, as well as in Africa, were helping to prevent a humanitarian disaster. The G20, Altmaier said, should focus on more than just economic and financial issues. The G20 countries needed to act together to address social and ecological risks. The problems faced in Africa, in particular, needed to be tackled collaboratively, said Altmaier.

Finding solutions to new challenges

It was of course important to increase military spending; foreign and security policy was on the agenda, but in a different way than in the past. It was not so much rockets and weapons which were important today, Altmaier said, but above all education, vocational training and integrating women into the world of work and the political debate. That could best be achieved in the context of democratic structures and global initiatives.

The experts recommended that the G20 countries develop a joint vision. That vision would need to enable the global population to shape an economically prosperous, ecologically sustainable and socially integrative future which was capable of withstanding any unforeseen shocks. The G20 countries as well as all the other nations of the world needed to each go their own way and at the same time find a common vision for tackling problems which affected them all, they explained.

Three simple ideas

Such a common vision should be based on three simple ideas: Firstly, the future of humanity is dependent on the stabilisation and cultivation of global public goods, including the global economy and the biosphere. These global public goods are the precondition for peace, security and human well-being going forward.

Secondly, cultivating these global public goods requires an overall culture of global cooperation as well as a system of global collective action. Thirdly, top-down global good governance will not work unless globalisation is focused on people.

As regards climate action, the Agenda 2030, which governments adopted in September 2015, already reflects the cornerstones of such an urgently required global vision. Consequently, the main emphasis of the G20 agenda, which is continually evolving, should be ensuring that people’s well-being across the globe is based on prosperity, their ability to actively participate and social integration.

Think20 (T20), a network of international think tanks from the G20 countries, supports the solving of these challenges by delivering recommendations and new perspectives to the G20 heads of state and government which can serve as guides when it comes to shaping policy.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at the “G20 Africa Partnership – investing in a common future” conference on 12 June 2017 in Berlin

begin 2017.06.12

Messrs Presidents,
Prime Minister Gentiloni, my friend Paolo,
Distinguished representatives of international organisations, G20 nations and partner countries,
My honoured fellow Cabinet members Wolfgang Schäuble and Gerd Müller,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Some of you have travelled a very long way to be here today. So let me wish you all a very warm welcome to this partnership conference entitled “investing in a common future”. We hope that this conference will help ensure that these are not just nice words on paper. We really want to work during this conference to put cooperation into practice.

Our economic relations form an ever closer-knit web around the globe. Thanks to the Internet, we now know more about each other than ever before. Distance has lost its import when it comes to making new contacts and maintaining them. Developments like these of course bring tremendous opportunities. However, they also mean that we have to work towards sustainable and inclusive economic development for the entire world. A single country acting alone cannot make much headway on such a project. Yet globalisation is not a destiny to which we must yield without demur. On the contrary, it is something we must forge in partnership with others.

The Agenda 2030 is a great achievement, because all the countries on our planet have agreed on a common pathway for development. In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, which defined targets for the developing countries, this time all countries – developed and developing nations alike – are part of this Agenda 2030.

It is on this basis that we have adopted the motto, “shaping an interconnected world”, for our G20 Presidency. The G20 Summit will take place in Hamburg. We have chosen a maritime image – a reef knot – as the symbol of our Presidency. The harder you pull on it, the better it holds. It symbolises the ties between our countries.

We know that pan-global development can only succeed if all continents share in such development. This also means, first and foremost, that the African continent has to make progress on its development pathway over the next few years. Even today, the economies of some African countries are remarkably dynamic. Some are even growing faster than the industrialised and newly industrialised economies of the G20. Success stories like those should inspire others. They reveal the potential that lies in African countries – for example in the field of renewable energy and digital development. There are many good examples of decentralised energy supply and much more besides. But much still remains to be done.

We in the industrialised countries have to consider whether we have always taken the right path in providing our traditional development aid. I don’t think we have. We have to focus more strongly on each specific country’s own economic development. That’s what gave rise to the idea – proposed first and foremost by our Finance Minister and our Development Minister – of saying we need an initiative through which we don’t speak about Africa, but speak with Africa. The result was the G20 Compact with Africa Initiative. The countries of Africa have also set their own targets in their Agenda 2063 and have clearly stated what they believe development should bring. That’s why it’s called the Compact with Africa, not the Compact for Africa. The idea is for each country to say what development steps it considers necessary and how it thinks we can help and how, together, we can make available suitable instruments, so that the relevant development projects do succeed. You will talk about this in more detail today and tomorrow.

We want to lend support for regional market integration, not least in order to enhance the transfer of technology and know-how. We also want to ensure that trade flows between Europe and African countries really benefit everyone. We still have a lot to do in this regard.

The next European Union-African Union summit will take place in November. Today’s meeting, which we are hosting as part of our G20 Presidency, will also serve to prepare the ground for that summit. We are aware that our achievements of the past years are not yet enough. In many countries, development lags behind what is needed given the speed of population growth. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050.

We also know that development is only possible if security is given. However, in many parts of Africa security is not yet sufficiently guaranteed – be it due to fragile sovereignty, conflicts, terrorism or humanitarian crises. Numerous human tragedies are being played out as we speak. For this reason, boosting the economy does not top the agenda in some African countries. They need to deal with day-to-day survival first.

As a result, the G20 Africa Partnership is concerned on the one hand with economic development, but on the other with fostering peace, stability and security – i.e. in creating the basic conditions for economic activity. There, too, we have to learn to think anew. For many years development policy-makers did not pay sufficient attention to security issues. For many years, we felt virtuous when we were not dealing with military equipment. But some of you have said to me that you are expected to combat terrorism, but are not given any support to do so.

I thus think we have to be more honest and admit that only where security is given can development take root. I consider it very courageous of some countries to take responsibility upon themselves in the fight against terrorism in Mali and its neighbourhood. France now wants a Security Council mandate in this connection. I can only say that Germany will support this.

Special attention will have to be devoted to the youth of Africa – as highlighted in the Agenda 2063. More than half of all Africans are under 25 years old. As I keep saying in Germany, the average age here in Germany is 43 years. The average age in Niger, Mali and other countries is less than 15 years. This just goes to show the very different situations we have to deal with. If we don’t give young people prospects for the future, if we don’t invest in education and skills, if we don’t strengthen the position of girls and young women, the development agenda will not succeed.

In other words, as part of our work in the G20 we will do everything we can, through the compacts with African countries and through special initiatives for women’s education and female entrepreneurship, to improve the prerequisites that should enable Africa to develop and grow as we need it to.

If hopelessness is too widespread in Africa, young people are also more likely to seek a better life elsewhere in the world. Thus, by working together with you for your countries, we are also enhancing our own security and will be able to put a stop to the activities of criminals who are toying with refugees and migrants’ fates and extracting large sums of money from them. Many refugees have terrible tales to tell of human smuggling and trafficking in human beings. States thus have to work together. We have to create legal options for movement and must not permit people to make money from the suffering of others.

Ladies and gentlemen, this conference also serves to draw attention to the differences between your countries, to the diversity of challenges faced in Africa. For this reason, too, let me thank you for coming. Many people in Germany are not yet as well informed about either the good or the difficult aspects of life in your countries as we would wish. Getting to know each other better, learning more about each other, and assuming responsibility together are all also aspects of shaping an interconnected world. I hope that this conference will make a contribution to this end. And so let me ask all of you here today not to mince your words, to talk “tacheles”, as we say in Germany. Simply saying nice things doesn’t achieve anything. We have to learn from one another. And we need results. That’s what we’re here for.

A very warm welcome to you all.