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The General Debate of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) opens in New York on 19 September. The theme of UNGA78 is " Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all ".
For ten days, almost all the heads of state and government - and their representatives - are meeting at the United Nations in New York to discuss common crises, multilateral challenges and their differences. The conflict in Ukraine, climate change, food insecurity or migration are just some of the complex cross-border issues that require multilateral cooperation and solutions. The discussions will take place partly at public events, but also during more discrete diplomatic meetings.
This year, a Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will precede the start of the High-Level Week. H.M. Queen Mathilde will also be taking part in this event in her capacity as SDG Advocate.
The Belgian delegation to the UNGA, led by Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib and Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Caroline Gennez, will defend Belgian priorities within the UN: respect for the United Nations Charter and a rules-based international order (with a special focus on human rights), a multilateral solution to conflicts and crises (such as in Ukraine, the Sahel, the Great Lakes region and the Middle East) and an emphasis on partnerships and dialogue with other regions to address development issues and multilateral challenges in a spirit of trust and solidarity.
Particular attention is being paid this year to the SDGs, with Belgium and Queen Mathilde focusing on themes such as decent work, mental health, and women's and children's rights within the Sustainable Development Goals.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and the North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne will attend the signing in New York of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction treaty, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Labour Pierre-Yves Dermagne will take part in discussions on Decent Work. This year again, youth representatives are invited to take part in the Belgian delegation's programme at UNGA78.
Prime Minister De Croo will address the General Assembly on Wednesday 20 September. During the many events and contacts in which it will participate - which will be presented in a further press release - the Belgian delegation will promote the priorities of the next Belgian Presidency of the EU in 2024 and present our country as a centre of innovation in the fields of sustainable transition (energy and industry), health, biodiversity and the fight against climate change.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo: "The major challenges of our time, such as climate change, fighting poverty through sustainable growth, the growing number of conflicts, we can only tackle them if we work together as an international community.
This is why Belgium is also going to the UN General Assembly this year to strengthen its partnerships with other countries and with the private sector, including in the areas of green transition and biopharma. Knowing that only by working together will we find concrete solutions to major societal problems".
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib: "My week in New York will focus on 3 priorities for our country: human rights, attention to crises and conflicts, and the promotion of a world order based on the rule of law and justice. To this end, I will put a strong emphasis on partnerships and dialogue with other regions. After all, the multilateral system, with the UN as its core, can only be effective when all stakeholders work together to better understand each other's positions and advance together. Having our country present in New York is an important symbolic gesture. It shows that our country is deeply committed to and confides in the multilateral system so that we can work together towards finding solutions to the problems that affect us all”.
Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez: "Our objective next week is fully in line with our political priorities for development cooperation: contributing to the construction of welfare states in the countries of the South, with a focus on accessible and affordable healthcare and social protection; the fight against the climate crisis; and equal rights for all, with a focus on girls and women. International solidarity and cooperation are crucial if we are to effectively tackle the major problems of our time: climate change, growing inequality, migration".
You can follow the general debate and several events live on the UN website
Follow the Belgian participation in this UN week on our social media:
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