King Willem-Alexander (right) and Dutch UN youth delegate Hajar Yagkoubi addressing the United Nations General Assembly from the Huis ten Bosch palace in The Hague on Monday, September 21.
THE HAGUE–King Willem-Alexander had a surprise on Monday during his video message to the General Assembly of the United Nations by also giving the floor to Dutch UN youth delegate Hajar Yagkoubi. She articulated future ideas about the international organisation and broke through the long line of heads of state that had been speaking until then.
The UN deserves a prominent place in the canon of world history “as one of the most positive forces ever,” King Willem-Alexander said in his video message during a special meeting dedicated to the UN’s 75th anniversary.
In his message, the king paid tribute to “the men and women who laid the foundation for the United Nations 75 years ago.” He quoted then-US President Harry S. Truman calling them “builders of a better world.”
“They came together after five years of war and human suffering. The differences between them were great. But they shared one unwavering purpose: ‘We will build a better world,’” the king said.
According to Willem-Alexander, that promise was fulfilled when more and more countries joined.
“My generation and the generation after me are grateful for the opportunities it has given us. The United Nations has not been able to end violence, injustice and poverty, but it has managed to curb and reduce them and, thanks to the International Criminal Court and international tribunals, the chance of impunity will hopefully one day be eliminated. Billions of people will reap the benefits in their daily lives.”
“The world once again faces a major challenge that transcends all borders,” King Willem-Alexander said, referring to the coronavirus crisis in his speech. “Corona cannot be compared to a world war, but the virus affects us all. Young people see their future possibilities shrinking. What answer should we give to that?”
He left the answer to Yagkoubi, who summed up those wishes. “We want to live in a world that offers everyone a fair opportunity to develop themselves to the fullest, no matter who you are. We want to live in a world guided by fundamental human rights. We want to live in a world that protects people and the planet and climate change, actively combats loss of biodiversity and global warming,” Yagkoubi said, asking the world leaders to take courage with the youth.
The Kingdom delegation to the UN General Assembly, which will mainly take place online, also consists of Prime Minister of Aruba Evelyn Wever-Croes, Prime Minister of Curaçao Eugene Rhuggenaath and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Silveria Jacobs. Dutch Ministers of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, and of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag; and Yagkoubi are also present.
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte will emphasise the importance of international cooperation and solidarity in an unstable world in his video message, which will be broadcast in the General Assembly on Friday. On Wednesday, September 30, Rutte will speak via a video message at the virtual Summit on Biodiversity about the commitment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the protection and restoration of biodiversity.
Queen Máxima will deliver a virtual speech at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation digital event “G7 Partnership for Women’s Digital Financial Inclusion in Africa,” together with French Minister of Finance Bruno le Maire and Melinda Gates.
The Caribbean countries of the Kingdom will participate in various side events that will be organised in the coming weeks, including those focused on the sustainable development goals, small island developing states and climate adaptation.
The UN General Assembly continues until September 30.