Public invited to UN Day Flanders


A free event, all in English, is planned at the Flemish parliament to discuss the region’s progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

‘Blueprint for a better future’

Everyone is invited to the Flemish parliament on Monday, 21 October, for UN Day Flanders. The free English-language event looks specifically at the progress made on the region’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Flanders is what is known in the UN as a subnational government, or subnational authority, and is therefore also responsible for taking steps to reach the UN’s SDGs by the 2030 target date. It’s hosting UN Day Flanders during UN Week, which takes place around the world.

“The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone,” explains Peter Wollaert, the director of Cifal Flanders, which is co-ordinating the event. “They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.”

SDG targets were set in 2015. “Next year is the 75th anniversary of the UN, and the end of the first trimester of the development goals,” he says. “So this is a first round-up of where we are, a kind of state of play of the SDGs in Flanders.”

New political era

The event will look at what has been done at the local, provincial and regional level and look toward the challenges of the future. “Because we are of course in a new political era with new mayors at the local level and now new people at the regional level,” says Wollaert.

Early afternoon networking and a “marketplace” of UN agencies and related organisation will give way to break-out sessions. Participants can choose where they want to focus their attention, such as on business’ role in human rights, education for sustainable development or the role of Flanders in nuclear disarmament.

Belgium is also part of the 2019-20 UN Security Council, so a panel debate later in the day will be looking at what Flanders and Belgium are doing to strengthen multilateralism and international Co-operation and solidarity.

Live music and a networking buffet round off the event in the evening. The entire event is free, but participants must register by 15 October.

Photo: Then minister-president Geert Bourgeois speaking at UN Day Flanders in 2016
©Cifal Flanders