On Monday 24 October 2016, CIFAL Flanders|UNITAR hosted -in collaboration with VVN and UNRIC- the UN Day Flanders in the Flemish Parliament, celebrating the 71st anniversary of the United Nations.
The 200 participants were welcomed at the United Nations Agencies Marketplace where UN organisations, parlementary organisations, Voka and VVSG informed the guests about their initiatives.
The opening speech of Geert Bourgeois, Minister-president of the Flemish Government, explained the cooperation initiatives between the United Nations and Flanders.
During the High Level Panel Ambassador Bénédicte Frankinet, Director of the ILO Claire Courteille-Mulder, Head of UNIDO Christophe Yvetot and Chief of Mission of the IOM–UN Migration Agency Laura Palatini were invited to reflect on the mandates of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the challenges for the coming years. The speakers shared their expertise and recommendations on the future of the UN both in terms of important issues that require international cooperation and the United Nations as a system. The session was chaired by Neri Sybesma-Knol, Honorary Chair, United Nations Association Flanders Belgium (VVN) who complimented the UN Directors on their positive outlooks and willingness to address common issues together.
Christophe Verhellen, Desk Officer Benelux at UNRIC then introduced Ozark Henry, National Goodwill Ambassador against human trafficking and the Blue Heart Campaign.
The plenary session was closed by Jan Peumans, Chairman of the Flemish Parliament who encouraged the active implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Flanders.
In the seven Breakout Sessions distinguished speakers elaborated their topics of expertise related to the Agenda 2030 and an active implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The interesting sessions were followed by a networking reception which gave all participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and set up new inspirational partnerships while enjoying vegetarian sandwiches by the Broers van Julienne, an Affligem beer and UTZ-certified cholocolates from ColruytGroup.
UN Day Flanders was an initiative of CIFAL Flanders, in collaboration with the United Nations Association Flanders Belgium (VVN) and the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC), and with the support of the Flemish Government, the UN-EU Liaison Agencies in Brussels, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the partners of CIFAL Flanders.
UN DAY Flanders programme
Laura Palatini, International Organization for Migration
CCI Flanders Charter Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Ilse Dries, Team Sustainable Development Flemish Government
Gert Van Eeckhout, Flemish Department of Work and Social Economy (MVO Vlaanderen)
Liliana Lizarazo-Rodriguez, University of Antwerp
Lieselotte Callebaut, UNICEF Belgium
Marésa Le Roux, ACLVB/CGSLB