The World This Week

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17.05.2016 - This week’s #PhotoFriday highlights some of the most important UN news stories from around the world.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, President-designate of the General Assembly’s 71st session (March 2010). UN Photo/Evan Schneider

On Monday 13 June the United Nations General Assembly elected Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji, as President of its upcoming 71st session. Mr. Thomson, who will replace current General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, will begin his tenure in September at the commencement of the 71st General Assembly session.

“I am confident that he will seek the views of others to forge consensus. As the new President-elect once said, ‘Progress at the United Nations does not emanate from adversarial corners, but from cooperation by those who meet in the middle,” Mr. Ban said.

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Mr Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General; Mr Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. Photo/Europa

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Brussels this week to participate in the European Development Days (EDD’s) organised by the European Commission.

Whilst in Brussels, the Secretary-General met with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and a number of Commissioners, as well as with other senior officials attending the celebration of the EDD’s Europe's leading forum on development and international cooperation.

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at EDD 2016.

For its tenth anniversary, EDD 2016 focused on the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, making it one of the very first major conferences dedicated to the issue. The event brings the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his wife helping feed refugees at a soup kitchen. Photo/UNRIC

While on his visit to Brussels, Ban Ki-moon met with refugees at a soup kitchen. Ran by the Brussels NGO Flemish Refugee Action (Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen), the Secretary-General had the chance to discuss with the refugees hardships they had encountered on their way to Europe. Speaking to the refugees, Mr Ban told them: “Do not worry, we are with you”.

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UN Secretary-General paying respects at Zaventem Airport. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

On Thursday the 15th, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Zaventem Airport, Brussels. The airport was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack on 22 March 2016 in which 32 people lost their lives with more being injured. During his visit to the airport Ban Ki-moon laid a wreath to commemorate those who died and to celebrate the service of emergency personnel and first responders for their courage.

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Queen Mathilde of Belgium visiting the SDG stand at EDD 2016. Photo/UNRIC

Also making an appearance at the European Development Days was Queen Mathilde of Belgium. The Queen Consort was appointed last year as one of seventeen United Nations Sustainable Development Ambassadors. Addressing the attendees highlighted the importance of gender equality: “It is not enough just to have a school, we need quality teaching and well-trained teachers, she stressed. We must invest in the empowerment of girls. Women have an important role in rural areas.”