(L-R) Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs; Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Credit: MAEE

Luxembourg's Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Franz Fayot, attended the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in New York on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 September 2023.

Minister Fayot reaffirmed Luxembourg's commitment to contributing to the implementation of the SDGs by 2030, in particular by granting new support to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

At the SDG Summit, which marks the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Minister Fayot represented Luxembourg at the Leaders' Dialogue on "Game-changers: Applying science, technology, innovation and data for transformative action". In his speech, he called for the introduction of new indicators to measure prosperity and growth, emphasising the importance of including social, environmental and subjective well-being objectives.

On the sidelines of the SDG Summit, Minister Fayot met ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger for a bilateral exchange, which made it possible to sign agreements on two new commitments from Luxembourg's development cooperation programme to the ICRC, one of Luxembourg's main humanitarian partners. They signed a "Bridge Agreement", which aims to support the evolution of the ICRC cyberspace delegation in Luxembourg, which opened its doors in November 2022, towards a "Global Cyber Operational Hub". Luxembourg's support will aim in particular to increase the effectiveness and lasting impact of the delegation's initiatives on a global scale. The two parties also signed an amendment to the current strategic partnership framework (2022-2025) in order to extend humanitarian support to communities in the Sahel affected by armed conflicts until the end of 2025.

In New York, Minister Fayot also had a meeting with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during which the former announced an additional financial contribution of €1 million for 2023, which brings Luxembourg's total financial contribution to the WHO for this year to €8.15 million. Since the global health sector is a priority for Luxembourg's development cooperation programme, the meeting also saw the signing of an extension of the 2020-2023 partnership agreement, by which Luxembourg will extend its support to the WHO until the end of 2024.

Moreover, Minister Fayot had a bilateral meeting with Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In order to strengthen Luxembourg's support for the UN Refugee Agency's mission, the minister announced the allocation of an additional contribution of €500,000 to support UNHCR operations in the context of the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

Minister Fayot also had bilateral discussions with Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Benin's Minister of State for Development and Coordination of Government Action, and Romuald Wadagni, Benin's Minister of Economy and Finance. They discussed the current situation in the Sahel region, as well as the strengthening of the development cooperation partnership between Luxembourg and Benin.

At the United Nations headquarters, Minister Fayot met for an exchange of views with Caroline Gennez, Belgium's Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities. Discussions focused on the current situation in the Sahel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the role of the European "Global Gateway" initiative in facilitating equal development cooperation partnerships.

Minister Fayot also had bilateral meetings with Dr Comfort Ero, President and CEO of International Crisis Group, and Werner Isaac Vargas Torres, Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SICA).

(L-R) Minister Fayot and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Credit: MAEE)