Queen Mathilde of the Belgians spent two days at the United Nations in New York. Her working visit was in her capacity as Special Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. The queen also lobbyed with Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders for a non-permament seat for Belgium in the UN Security Council in 2019-2020. For this she attended a reception held at the UN Monday evening.
The queen on Monday also spoke at an UN High Level Event dedicated to the 'Rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by armed conflict'. "If there is one cause we must strive for in these unsettled times, it is the future of our children. Their future is our responsibility and our societies will benefit from their development. That is exactly why the harm caused by war and conflict is of major concern", the queen said in her speech.
"The protection of children’s rights is a cause that is particularly dear to me personally. So I consider it a privilege to be able to take an active part in raising awareness and advocacy on their behalf, both in my own country and at the level of the UN organisations. As Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium, I closely follow the impact and consequences of armed conflict and emergencies on children."
"The impact on children of our collective failure to prevent and end conflict is devastating. In fact, conflict prevention should be our common goal. Increased efforts should be made to identify long-term solutions that will reduce and mitigate the root causes of conflict, such as poverty", Queen Mathilde said.
"Research shows that effective reintegration programmes for children are not only crucial for their own well-being, but are also a critical factor for durable peace and security. In a sense, such programmes are a preventive measure and a tool for breaking the vicious circle of violence", she added.
On Tuesday the queen addressed the participants in the UN High Level Debate 'UN@70 Human Rights'. Queen Mathilde stressed how protection of human rights is interlinked with sustainable development,
CROWN PRINCESS VICTORIA
Earlier this year the Queen was asked by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to join the Advocacy Group for the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Other group members are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Shekha Moza of Qatar, along with football star Lionel Messi and singer Shakira. The members shall assist the United Nations in the mobilization of the international community for achieving the SDG's by 2030. The SDG's were adopted by the Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.
In previous years Mathilde repeatedly worked to promote the so-called Millennium Development Goals, such as children rights, the right to good health and the right to quality education. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the next step forward as an universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN members will use to frame their policies over the next 15 years.
The objectives are to be achieved by 2030 and include, for example, agreements on ending child marriage, improving access to financial services, climate control, reducing child mortality and poverty. In total there are seventeen so-called SDG's.
© RB Hans Jacobs