Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, paid a working visit to the United Nations (UN) in New York in the United States (US) on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 May 2022.
Minister Asselborn participated in the first International Migration Review Forum, which was established by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in 2018. This first forum concluded with the adoption of a declaration on progress made in the implementation of the UN Global Compact. In this declaration, which is the result of the intergovernmental consultations that Luxembourg has facilitated with Bangladesh at the request of the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Member States reaffirm the Global Compact and its ten guiding principles, take stock of progress made and remaining challenges and commit to taking action to accelerate the implementation of the Global Compact and strengthen international cooperation on migration.
In his address to the UNGA, Minister Asselborn reaffirmed Luxembourg’s resolute commitment to safe, orderly and regular migration at national, European and international level. “Migration is at the heart of our identity”, he noted, recalling that Luxembourg was a country of emigration in the 19th century, before becoming a country of immigration during the following century. “Our experience shows us that migrations are sources of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development”.
As a member of the Human Rights Council, Luxembourg’s commitment to human rights is reflected in the fact that it pays particular attention to the human dimension of migratory flows. In this context, Minister Asselborn emphasised that “migrants must be able to enjoy fundamental freedoms and human rights, regardless of their migratory status”.
Moreover, Minister Asselborn announced that Luxembourg has decided to contribute to the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MMPTF), launched in 2019 to support the implementation of the UN Global Compact.
Subsequently, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister delivered a statement during the public debate of the United Nations Security Council chaired by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and devoted to the link between conflict and food security, with particular emphasis on the war in Ukraine. Minister Asselborn first emphasised the importance of the debate on the issue of food security: “Food insecurity, accentuated by the harmful effects of climate change, constitutes a major threat to peace. It risks further destabilising fragile societies, pushing millions into poverty and thus fueling conflict”.
He added: “We see the illustration of this today in the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression of Russia against Ukraine. This aggression plunged thousands of Ukrainians into misery and despair. By blocking millions of tonnes of Ukrainian cereals intended for export, Russia is accentuating the food crisis which particularly affects countries and populations in fragile situations in Africa and the Middle East, where harvests are already severely affected by the combined effect of climate change, conflict and economic shocks”.
Minister Asselborn insisted on the fact that “it is the war waged by Russia which is the cause of the food crisis. It is not the sanctions, which are the consequence of the war”. He continued: “The crisis we are facing is complex and multidimensional: a global, multi-actor and coordinated response is imperative in order to mitigate the impact of conflicts on food security and ultimately achieve production and more sustainable processing”. Minister Asselborn also mentioned Luxembourg’s commitment to food security.
Moreover, Minister Asselborn took the opportunity of his trip to New York to hold several bilateral meetings, including with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, with whom he had an in-depth exchange of views on the latest developments in the Sahel as well as the war in Ukraine and its impact on food security. The Secretary-General reported on his efforts to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol following his visit to Kyiv and Moscow.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister also met with the President of the UNGA, Abdulla Shahid, to take stock of the work of the 76th session of the General Assembly, and in particular the ongoing efforts towards the adoption by consensus of the Declaration on Progress in the Implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
To conclude the visit, a working lunch with the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino, the coordinator of the UN Network on Migration and representatives of several champion countries of the Global Compact for Migration was organised at the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the United Nations.