Ploumen to attend UN General Assembly and Obama’s refugee summit in New York

Foreign trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen will deliver a speech at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, an initiative launched by US President Barack Obama. She will also attend the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants where Foreign minister Bert Koenders will lead the Dutch delegation. The two conferences will take place during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York. Before this, the minister will attend the donor conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the Canadian city of Montreal.

Ms Ploumen will attend the General Assembly from Sunday 18 to Wednesday 21 September. Much of her programme will focus on migration and the current refugee crisis. The aim of all these gatherings is to rapidly improve the humanitarian situation of the millions of refugees. Issues such as tackling the root causes of migration and conflict are also high on the agenda. Additionally, the Netherlands has taken the initiative to organise a number of migration meetings, including one with Italy, with which it will split a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2017-2018. Also worthy of note will be the speech delivered by Ms Ploumen to a US-organised donor gathering which will be attended by President Obama. Only a select group of countries will speak at this summit. The Netherlands has been invited because of the major effort and funding it has contributed to humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and to the reception of refugees by countries in the Syrian region.

Besides migration, Ms Ploumen's agenda will include the UN's Global Goals. To ensure that extreme poverty is abolished worldwide by 2030, UN member states need to make major agreements now on how to achieve this goal. The Netherlands is also organising meetings about land rights, such as the right of women to own land, and the prevention of child marriage. In the margins, the minister will also have talks with various counterparts and UN officials. In addition to Ms Ploumen, the Netherlands will be represented in New York by of foreign minister Bert Koenders and health minister Edith Schippers.

Global Fund

Before the General Assembly, Ms Ploumen will be in Montreal on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 September for the donor conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, at which countries will pledge donations for the next three years. The aim of the Global Fund is to raise $13 billion to eradicate AIDS, TB and malaria. Tackling these three epidemics will directly impact the health of millions of people worldwide, and consequently the economy and security of scores of countries. Between 2014 and 2016 the Netherlands donated a total of €185 million to the Global Fund. On Saturday evening, Ms Ploumen will attend a benefit concert featuring Usher and other artists. Bill Gates and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are also expected to attend.