UN Organisations celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in Antwerp

On the 20th of October, in the presence of more than 100 attendees, CIFAL Flanders, United Nations Association Flanders Belgium (VVN) and the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the approval of the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN General Assembly last month. On top of that, the organisations celebrated the fact that CIFAL Flanders has been recognised as an official training centre of UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Luc Luwel, Managing Director Voka-Chamber of Commerce and Industry Antwerp-Waasland, opened the evening by emphasizing the importance of building global partnerships, not only on the level of governments, but also between institutions such as chambers of commerce in different regions and countries.

Then the floor was given to May Persoons, Advisor of Foreign Affairs Cabinet of the Minister-President of the Flemish Government, who presented the relation between Flanders and the UN, and stated that multilateral partnerships are of paramount importance to implement the post-2015 agenda. 

“The Sustainable Development Goals are intended to mark the beginning of a social transition. This requires everyone’s involvement: businesses, knowledge institutions, civil society, as well as the Flemish people.      
– May Persoons –


Furthermore prof. dr. Jan Wouters gave an overview of the achieved successes and challenges the UN has faced over the last 70 years, Luc Arnouts of the Port of Antwerp presented an interesting business case how the private sector can use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for its own sustainability policy, Vice Mayor of the city of Antwerp Ludo Van Campenhout presented the role that local governments such as Antwerp can play in attaining the post-2015 agenda, and John Heller, CEO of Argenta, gave a speech on how bottom-up empowerment is crucial to attain a sustainable business model. May East, Chief Executive of CIFAL Scotland & UNITAR Fellow, explained how the Sustainable Development Goals are to be a real game-changer in the fight against poverty.

“I have been personally working with the UN system for 22 years, and have never witnessed such an extensive concentration of efforts and countless consultations happening around a UN agenda”.
–May East–


The evening was closed by Ari Epstein, Chairman of CIFAL Flanders and CEO of Antwerp World Diamond Centre, who congratulated CIFAL Flanders’ General Manger Peter Wollaert and his team, on the tremendous effort they have done during the past two years leading up to the recognition of Antwerp-ITCCO as a fully-fledged CIFAL centre.

“As a founding partner of Antwerp-ITCCO, I think this is a logical and needed evolution. In fact, I believe that Antwerp-ITCCO was destined to grow into an official CIFAL centre. Although there is still room to do a lot of work, the greatest challenges in terms of sustainability and corporate social responsibility are on the international level. I am confident that we need to continue down this path, and I hope that I will be able to welcome other business as well as non-business partners to CIFAL Flanders in the coming months.”
–Ari Epstein –

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