Koenders and Ploumen meet Kofi Annan

Kofi Annan, the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former UN Secretary-General, had a meeting today with foreign minister Bert Koenders and trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen. Their talk focused on today’s international challenges, Dutch foreign policies and the work of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

The Dutch ministers spoke with Mr Annan about problems related to instability, radicalisation and migration in Africa. The Kofi Annan Foundation mobilises political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. Mr Annan praised the Netherlands’ contribution to UN missions, including MINUSMA in Mali. Readiness in Western countries to take part in peace missions has declined significantly over the past 20 years – a regrettable trend, Mr Koenders remarked. ‘Standing on the sidelines and complaining is not an option,’ he said. ‘We’re all responsible for the success of UN missions.’

‘The Netherlands’ importance in the international arena can scarcely be overestimated,’ added the former UN Secretary-General. ‘The Dutch are a key partner for my foundation in the fight against violent extremism, in supporting democracy and in working to eradicate hunger.’

Mr Annan and the ministers also discussed the integrated agenda for aid, trade and investment. Mr Annan originally took the lead in establishing the Global Compact, a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. Twelve years later Ms Ploumen became the first Dutch minister to combine aid, trade and investment in a single portfolio, as a means of achieving economic growth and development for everyone.

‘Aid and trade complement each other,’ said Mr Annan. ‘They’re both essential and they need to go hand in hand so that we can end poverty and hunger and help make the world more just and more peaceful.’ Ms Ploumen added, ‘It was inspiring to exchange ideas with Mr Annan, whose crucial work laid the basis for our current efforts. It’s an honour to carry forward the torch that he lit.’  

Ministers Ploumen en Koenders met de heer Kofi Annan in het midden
Image: BZ
Mister Kofi Annan visits ministers Koenders and Ploumen