EU at UN General Assembly: Official Opening and a high number of bilaterals
The 72nd UN General Assembly officially opened on Tuesday in New York, with the participation of the high-level EU Delegation, including First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini alongside the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. First Vice-President Timmermans addressed an event co-hosted by the European Union and the United Arab Emirates on Oceans and Climate, where he stressed the need to tackle the challenges of plastics in our oceans and the need for an integrated approach with industry and NGOs to tackle it effectively. He also spoke at the OGP high-level event on Rebuilding Trust in Government, where he focussed in particular on the need to enhance transparency in order to gain the trust of citizens. High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini held a high number of bilateral meetings, including with US Vice-President Pence and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, with whom she discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the latest worrying developments in North Korea and the situation in Syria. She also met with the Colombian President Santos, Foreign Minister of El Salvador and Foreign Minister of Venezuela. Together with Commissioner Hahn, she had meetings with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry and Lebanese Foreign Minister Bassil as well as President of Ukraine Poroshenko and Prime Minister Kvirikashvili of Georgia. She also met with Presidents Vučić of Serbia and Thaçi of Kosovo. Commissioner Avramopoulos held a number of bilateral meetings, including with Egyptian President Al-Sissi; he also discussed common actions on migration with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Grandi and Director General of the International Organisation for Migration Swing. Commissioner Mimica addressed the EU co-hosted event on Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investment where he underlined that quality infrastructure means building roads, ensuring long-term local jobs in maintenance and climate resilience for rainy seasons. He also highlighted the need for ambitious global efforts to ensure clean, green and reliable energy for all at the launch event of the report on Financial Flows for Energy Access and participated in a ministerial-level meeting on the Central African Republic. Furthermore, the EU and UN will jointly launch today their new “Spotlight Initiative” to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. With the EU as its main contributor in the order of half a billion Euro, the initiative will provide large-scale, targeted support to fight and prevent gender-based violence. A press release and Q&A MEMO will be available here as of 20h00 tonight. You can also watch the interventions of High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Mimica on EbS+. Commissioner Stylianides addressed a high-level event on Collective Private Sector Disaster Risk Reduction, Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery, besides a number of bilateral meetings, including with UNHCR Grandi, new Administrator of UNDP Steiner and Director of the International Rescue Committee Miliband. The annual EU event in the margins of UNGA this year gathered Erasmus and Erasmus+ alumni from around the world. Follow the events online under #UNGA, @EUatUN, @eu_eeas and find audio-visual material on EbS.