The 76th session of the UN General Assembly will open in New York on 20 September, under the theme "Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations."
Meryame Kitir, Minister of Development Cooperation, will visit Jordan from September 19 to 21 and Lebanon from September 21 to 24. This working visit will focus on the humanitarian issues face by the two countries, which are of great concern to Belgium. This attention is illustrated by the Belgian humanitarian aid dedicated to the response to the humanitarian needs resulting from the Syrian crisis.
On 4 August, French President Macron and the United Nations will hold a third international donor conference to raise funds for emergency aid for the Lebanese people. The video conference will take place exactly one year after the tragic explosion that ravaged the port of Beirut and caused a lot of casualties. The explosion came on top of institutional and socio-economic crises in Lebanon that have only worsened since then.
At its meeting on May 25, 2021, the European Council supported equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines and welcomed the leadership of the Covax mechanism in this regard. The EU's goal is to donate at least 100 million doses by the end of the year, as well as to help build local production capacity. In this context, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that Belgium's goal is to donate 4 million doses by the end of 2021.
Wouter Poels is the new Deputy Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. He succeeds Karl Lagatie who will take up his new role at the Permanent Representation to the United Nations in New York this summer.
July 30 marks the International Day against Human Trafficking, a global phenomenon that concerns every country in the world, including Belgium. Human trafficking can take many forms, such as sexual or economic exploitation, and even involve the sale of organs. However, it always bereaves victims of their human dignity and places them in unbearable, humiliating and degrading situations.
At the Global Education Summit on July 28 and 29 in London, with the theme "Raise your hand," Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy Meryame Kitir announced a Belgian contribution to the 2021-2025 work plan of Global Partnership for Education. GPE is an international fund that promotes universal access to education for both girls and boys and is currently active in some 90 countries.
Belgium has decided to provide emergency assistance to Tunisia, following a request transmitted by this country through the European Mechanism of Civil Protection, in the context of the fight against COVID-19. Tunisia is currently facing a serious deterioration of its health situation and a sharp increase in hospitalizations. The country has informed its European partners of specific needs to help it cope with this situation, including in terms of vaccines. The vaccination rate remains very low in the country and the authorities are trying to accelerate the vaccination campaign.
We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine, whose countries comprise the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), today mark the seventh anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, resulting in the tragic deaths of 298 passengers and crew members. Our thoughts remain with those who perished on board, their families and loved ones.