Working Visit UN Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland – 14 & 15 November 2023
During the 14th and 15th of November 2023, a working visit to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland took place in honour of the 10th anniversary of CIFAL Flanders, the 20th anniversary of CIFAL Global Network and the 60th anniversary of UNITAR. A delegation of 25 participants including board members, partners, the CIFAL Flanders team and the first four SDG Ambassadors through the Voka VCDO programme held interesting meetings and visited multiple institutions during this 2-day programme.
Programme – 14 november
9:30 – Meeting at United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
Evelyn Avalos Cortez introduced the work of UNITAR and CIFAL Global Network.
Angus Mackay exchanged interesting thoughts on the roles of all actors of society in advancing the SDGs and ecological sustainability for companies.
Closing remarks by Ari Epstein, Chair CIFAL Flanders.
11:30 – Meeting at World Trade Organisation (WTO)
At the headquarters of the WTO, the delegation met with Frank Duhamel, Belgian representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO), UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Centre Européen de Recherché Nucléaire (CERN) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
Frank Duhamel explained the inner working of the organisation and several interesting cases.
15:00 – Introduction to the United Nations
16:00 – XX Annual Meeting CIFAL Global Network at the Palais des Nations
During the twentieth annual meeting of CIFAL Global Network, the delegation was given the honour to represent CIFAL Flanders and their own organisation during several pitches in the presence of Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director UNITAR, Alex Mejia, Director Division for People at UNITAR and Head CIFAL Global Network, and Estrella Merlos, Associate Head CIFAL Global Network.
Introduction speech by Ari Epstein , Chair CIFAL Flanders.
Presentation about CIFAL Flanders’ PCA2030 Trajectory by Peter Wollaert.
Pitch of Blue Gate Antwerp, new SDG Pioneer, by Dimitri Torfs.
Pitch of Brussels Airport Company, new SDG Champion, by Sylvie Van den Eynde and handover of the UNITAR Training Certificate of Completion by Nikhil Seth .
Presentation of the Voka Charter Sustainable Entrepreneurship and the collaboration with CIFAL Flanders by Helen Jacobs.
Pitch of DNS Belgium, new SDG Ambassador, by Arnaud Recko and handover of the UNITAR Training Certificate of Completion by Nikhil Seth.
Pitch of Elep, new SDG Ambassador, by Yves Peiffer and handover of the UNITAR Training Certificate of Completion by Nikhil Seth.
Pitch of Fruit At Work, new SDG Ambassador, Belgium by Yannick Aerts and handover of the UNITAR Training Certificate of Completion by Nikhil Seth.
Pitch of LRM, new SDG Ambassador, by Nathalie Roosen and handover of the UNITAR Training Certificate of Completion by Nikhil Seth .
Closing words by Nikhil Seth.
“Sustainability literacy leading to sustainability action is in the DNA of each and every CIFAL centre.”
18:30 – Meeting and dinner at Vieux-Bois
The diplomatic representation Flanders at the UN in Geneva is at the heart of global action, working hand-in-hand with the WHO, ILO, and UNAIDS. Nowadays Human Rights and humanitarian aid are other crucial topics high on the agenda.
The office is also a vital link between the different Flemish departments and the specialised UN institutions where new international policies are being developed on emerging topics such as artificial intelligence, circular economy, the gig-economy and platform work. They also fosters connections with Flemish knowledge hubs like the universities and research centres. It’s a two-way street: spreading Flemish expertise worldwide and bringing international policy developments straight to Flanders.
“Bringing the SDGs to life is a collective effort extending beyond governments. Therefore, CIFAL Flanders is a key partner for the Government of Flanders, as they are working to encourage action and raise awareness among stakeholders like businesses and private sector, educational institutions and local authorities.”
Katrien de Pauw elaborated upon the importance and tasks of the Flemish representation to the United Nations in Geneva and the role of sustainable development.
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
Programme – 15 november
Map of the Palace of Nations
9:00 – Human Rights Council: Universal Periodic Review of Cuba
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council that calls for each UN Member State to undergo a peer review of its human rights records. The delegation had the opportunity to attend a part of the UPR of Cuba in the famous Room XX of the Palais des Nations.
10:00 – Meeting with the Belgian Ambassador to the UN
The delegation was welcomed by Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations, and Julie Probst, First Secretary (Human Rights), during an interesting meeting about human rights.
12:00 – Visit to the UN Bookshop
13:00 – Lunch at Cuisine Lab
The team of the Cuisine Lab restaurant is a diverse and inclusive community that consists of refugees, former refugees, immigrants and locals from Geneva and Switzerland at large. They integrate their home country cuisine into the restaurant, using local and seasonal products.
14:30 – Visit to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum shows us how humanitarian action affects all of us. The museum promotes the understanding of the history, current events and challenges of humanitarian aid.
XX Annual meeting CGN
The twentieth annual meeting of CIFAL Global Network took place in the week of 13 to 17 November 2023. The directors of all CIFAL centers were present to discuss their progress of the past year.
UNITAR’s 60th anniversary gala concert
In the evening of November 16, at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, the gala concert “Music from all corners of the world for peace and our planet” to mark UNITAR’s 60th anniversary took place. #UNITAR60
Find all the pictures here.
Programme of the evening
19:30 – Welcome remarks
Nikhil Seth, Executive Director UNITAR
Luis Gallegos, Chair UNITAR Board of Trustees
Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN in New York and Member UNITAR Board of Trustees
Benjamin Woodroffe, President Global Foundation for the Performing Arts
19:45 – Musical performances
Grupo Siembra & Danzadina
20:45 – Cocktail reception
We will be back Geneva!
Partners CIFAL Flanders
Paul Bartels, Sales Director Global Goals Community
Jens De Vos, Director Projects Voka
Rob de With, Co-founder Global Goals Community
Helen Jacobs, Coordinator Sustainable Entrepreneurship Voka
Dimitri Torfs, Business Development Manager Bopro and Member of Blue Gate Antwerp Management Committee
Geert Lauwers, Department Head Sustainability Province of Antwerp
Johan Van Damme, Policy Coordinator Sustainability Flemish Government
Christel Vandenhouten, Head Sustainable Development Brussels Airport Company
Nadia Vrancken, Director Bopro
Team CIFAL Flanders
Maya De Deyn, Trainer and Project Manager
Elisabeth Goes d’Huart, Trainee Project Manager
Levi Halewyck, Trainee Project Manager
Marijke Janssens, Trainer and Project Manager
Mathilde Van Caeckenbergh, Operations Manager
Louise Vandekerckhove, Trainee Project Manager
Peter Wollaert, Managing Director
David Bijnens, Journalist ROBtv and TVLimburg