EU at UNGA76: building back better

Yesterday, 21 September, after the opening session of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell and Vice-President and Foreign Minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, took EU-Colombia relations a step further by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, in the presence of President von der Leyen, and of the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez. See the press release here. At the High-level Dialogue on the protection of Afghan people, especially of women and girls, in Afghanistan and in the region, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, stressed the importance of preserving the achievements of the Afghan people since 2001, in particular the rights of women and girls. She also held a bilateral meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, delivered an introductory speech during the virtual Kapuscinski Development Lecture. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell participated in a ministerial meeting following up the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership that took place held on 28 August. He then met with members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). See the press release here. In the evening, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell hosted leaders from the Western Balkans for the traditional dinner organised in the margins of the UN General Assembly. See the full press release here. Today, the EU enters the third day of this high-level week. President von der Leyen will represent the EU at the high-level event “Transformative Action for Nature and People” via a video message. The President will use this forum to send a strong signal to world leaders about EU’s ambition to protect and restore nature worldwide. Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, will represent the EU at the virtual High-level Dialogue on Energy, which begins today and runs until Friday. During the morning, High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will participate in the meeting of the Libyan Peace Process, co-organised by Germany, France and Italy. Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, will speak at the virtual high-level side-event on Violence against Children in times of crisis, co-hosted by the EU together with Bulgaria, Jamaica, Luxembourg and the UN. Then, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, will participate in a high-level event on Yemen, co-hosted by the EU, Sweden and Switzerland. The EU has today announced a new aid package for the country. See the press release here. The meeting offers the opportunity to mobilise urgently needed funding for the humanitarian response. Then, in the afternoon, he will co-host a high-level event on International Humanitarian Law, together with France and Germany. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell will then participate in the meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan. Commissioner Sinkevičius will speak at a high-level event on regional perspectives on the circular economy to present the EU’s approach. In the evening, Commissionner Johansson will participate in a Ministerial Working Dinner on UNRWA.