UN DAY 2021: Flemish trainees make impact of the UN visible

  • October 25, 2021

76 years ago, the United Nations were established to ensure peace after two devastating world wars. The current pandemic once again shows that international organizations play an important role in overcoming a global crisis. Nevertheless, the multilateral system is under pressure from changing power relations, pressure on universal values ​​and international law, emerging populism and protectionism.

On the occasion of UN Day, Flemish trainees at UNRIC, the UN Information Center in Brussels, contributed to a film to make the impact of the UN visible. Whether it's about the global vaccination plan, climate change, the fight against hunger or violations of human rights: “Solidarity is not charity; in an interconnected world, it is common sense”, said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The film is a translation of the Common Agenda, a vision on global cooperation for the next 25 years. This vision captures all the ideas that emerged from the conversations and surveys to which more than 1.5 million people from the 193 UN member states have provided input. The result is a clear call for a stronger, networked and inclusive multilateral system.

At the beginning of this year, the European Commission already published a Communication on strengthening the EU's contribution to rules-based multilateralism, building on the Council conclusions of 2019. The EU is clearly committed to leading the way and acting more coherently in the multilateral forum in line with “build-back-better” to strengthen the global recovery after the pandemic, tackle inequalities, promote sustainable development and public health, facilitate digital and green transitions, and defend human rights and the rule of law.

More than ever, Flanders has an interest in well-functioning multilateral institutions, given the current international landscape in which geopolitical, geo-economic and technological developments are increasingly intertwined and the security environment is deteriorating. Flanders has been committed to international cooperation and a rules-based international order for decades. Only in this way can we achieve a more level playing field in which human rights are respected.

Flanders therefore supports the pioneering role that the EU wants to play in strengthening the rules-based multilateral order and the reform of multilateral organizations. In doing so, the Flemish interests are represented and further built on direct contacts with multilateral partners. This is also done through the Flanders Trainee Programme, which has been providing financial support to young people for an internship at multilateral organizations for twenty years.

Illustration © Zaynab Kriouech