Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Queen Mathilde at the United Nations

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians during one of several speeches she has given during her two days at the United Nations in New York this week
(photo Belgium Mission NY Twitter)

Belgium is beginning its push for a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2019 - 2020 and it has high profile royal support on hand. Queen Mathilde of the Belgians has spent the past two days in New York as the campaign unfolds and as she highlights some huge and sometimes difficult issues. This has been a big visit for Mathilde and she'll leave with plenty of plaudits.

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, in New York
(photo Belgian Monarchy Facebook)

The Queen of the Belgians travelled to New York with her country's Deputy Prime Minister, Didier Reynders, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister. They had a packed schedule for their 48 hour visit and the beginning of the trip was very much focused on the bid for Belgium to take a non permanent seat on the Security Council.

The Queen of the Belgians with the UN Secretary General at a reception in New York, July 2016
(photo Belgian Monarchy Facebook)

But there was soon a spotlight on other issues as that campaign unfolded. Mathilde's first big focus was the emotional and psychological impact of conflict on young people. She gave a speech which included discussion on how psychosocial support must be made available to young people who have been exposed to war and division. There was also a meeting for Mathilde with UN Special Representative, Leila Zerrougui, on the effects of armed conflict on children.

Young people were also at the heart of another mission embraced by Mathilde while in New York. Earlier this year, Mathilde was named as one of 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals Ambassadors who are working towards implementing targets on sustainable development. Her time in New York also took in work in that area with Mathilde putting an emphasis on how children should be at the centre of the goals.  Her visit also included discussions about ending violence against children and young people.

Queen Mathilde's other high profile speech was about human rights which she said were at the heart of peace and security, And reflecting her UN Ambassador role, the Belgian queen added that human rights and sustainable development reinforce one another.

There were also high profile events linked to the campaign to win a non permanent seat on the Security Council with Mathilde attending a reception on her first night in New York. And she also had several meetings with Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, who she has met many times and who she last welcomed to Belgium just under a month ago.

This has been a high profile and successful visit for Mathilde who has had a packed agenda in recent days. The Queen of the Belgians returns home to more engagements and big celebrations for her country's national day on July 21st - it will also mark the third anniversary of her husband's accession to the throne. After that, it's expected that she and her family will take their holidays with a photo call to get things under way. But for now her thoughts are on the campaign and the issues that she has raised as she headed to the United Nations.

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