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DerriĂšre les murs du Palais de la Paix : permanence et changements de la Cour internationale de Justice

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S.E. M. Philippe Couvreur est arrivĂ© Ă  La Haye en avril 1982, oĂč il a d’abord occupĂ© le poste d’assistant spĂ©cial aux bureaux du greffier et du greffier adjoint de la Cour internationale de Justice.

  Il a ensuite exercĂ© les fonctions de SecrĂ©taire, Premier SecrĂ©taire et SecrĂ©taire juridique principal, avant d’ĂȘtre Ă©lu Greffier de la Cour en 2000, et rĂ©Ă©lu en 2007 et 2014. Pour marquer l’anniversaire de ses dĂ©buts Ă  la Cour, il y a 35 ans, Diplomat Magazine l’a invitĂ© Ă  tĂ©moigner de son expĂ©rience unique au service de cette institution, des Ă©volutions qu’il a pu y observer, et Ă  partager le regard qu’il porte sur les changements qui ont marquĂ© la Cour et La Haye au cours des trois derniĂšres dĂ©cennies.
Philippe Couvreur avec le Pape Jean-Paul II prise le 13 mai 1985.
Je suis arrivĂ© Ă  La Haye en avril 1982 — de façon aussi inattendue que j’avais entamĂ© des Ă©tudes de droit treize ans auparavant (mais c’est lĂ  une autre histoire
) — pour occuper un poste temporaire Ă  la Cour internationale de Justice. La Cour Ă©tait alors la seule institution judiciaire internationale existante au plan universel. Son activitĂ©, particuliĂšrement faible Ă  la fin des annĂ©es 1970, ne pouvait en ce temps-lĂ  guĂšre laisser prĂ©sager du succĂšs que rencontrerait la Cour dans les dĂ©cennies Ă  venir. Mon bienveillant maĂźtre de Louvain, le professeur Paul de Visscher, fils du cĂ©lĂšbre internationaliste Charles de Visscher, unique juge belge Ă  la Cour, m’avait prĂ©dit des jours aussi sereins qu’heureux, Ă©coulĂ©s Ă  lire et Ă  Ă©crire des ouvrages dans la solitude des imposants murs de la bibliothĂšque du Palais de la Paix

Les mĂ©moires ont Ă©tĂ© dĂ»ment dĂ©posĂ©s dans l’affaire El Salvador c. Honduras dans la salle Bol le 1 juin 1988, l’affaire du DiffĂ©rend frontalier terrestre, insulaire et maritime.
En rejoignant la Cour, un frais matin d’avril, dont je garde un souvenir trĂšs prĂ©cis, le jeune juriste que j’étais dĂ©couvrit, non sans Ă©tonnement, une organisation de taille trĂšs modeste, le Greffe, qui en est l’organe administratif, alors composĂ© de moins d’une quarantaine de fonctionnaires. Le fonctionnement de la Cour reposait entiĂšrement sur cette Ă©quipe restreinte de personnel permanent, auquel s’ajoutait, selon que de besoin, un personnel temporaire pour faire face au surcroĂźt de travaux linguistiques et de stĂ©nodactylographie lors des sessions (publiques et privĂ©es) de la Cour. Je me rappelle avoir Ă©tĂ© frappĂ© par la personnalitĂ© haute en couleur de certains de ces traducteurs indĂ©pendants, dont la grande culture littĂ©raire m’émerveillait. Cette structure trĂšs Ă©conomique du Greffe impliquait une grande polyvalence de ses membres, et les SecrĂ©taires de la Cour — ses fonctionnaires supĂ©rieurs — Ă©taient appelĂ©s, en sus de leurs travaux de recherches juridiques, de prĂ©paration des documents de la Cour, et de rĂ©daction de la correspondance diplomatique, Ă  assumer eux-mĂȘmes l’essentiel des tĂąches linguistiques (traduction et interprĂ©tation) et d’information, ainsi que la supervision de nombreuses activitĂ©s administratives et logistiques.
La Grande salle de Justice, l’affaire Relative au Timor Oriental (Portugal c. Australie) ArrĂȘt du 30 juin 1995.
Il n’était nullement rare qu’un nouveau venu comme moi ait Ă  passer week-ends et nuits blanches au Palais de la Paix Ă  effectuer les travaux les plus divers
 allant jusqu’à imprimer et polycopier, sur de vieilles machines Ă  stencils ronĂ©otype, des dĂ©cisions dont la Cour devait donner la lecture en sĂ©ance publique le lendemain ! DĂšs mon arrivĂ©e au Greffe, j’ai eu le bonheur et le privilĂšge d’ĂȘtre initiĂ© et associĂ© Ă  l’ensemble des fonctions de l’institution sous la patiente supervision de personnalitĂ©s d’exception, tels que MM. Torres BernĂĄrdez et Pillepich, alors respectivement Greffier et Greffier adjoint. J’en ai retirĂ© le plus grand bĂ©nĂ©fice, puisque cette immersion sans prĂ©paration dans toutes les facettes de l’activitĂ© du Greffe m’a permis d’acquĂ©rir de ce dernier une connaissance unique — de l’intĂ©rieur — et sous tous ses aspects —, un acquis particuliĂšrement prĂ©cieux au moment oĂč j’ai Ă©tĂ© amenĂ©, bien des annĂ©es plus tard, Ă  assumer la dĂ©licate responsabilitĂ© d’en assurer la gestion au plus haut niveau. Devenir un fonctionnaire du Greffe au dĂ©but des annĂ©es 1980 signifiait accepter de se couler sans discussion dans un moule Ă  tous Ă©gards exigeant, et se donner corps et Ăąme, avec humilitĂ© et discrĂ©tion, Ă  l’institution, sans penser Ă  soi ni parler de soi. Depuis ces annĂ©es d’initiation, j’ai Ă©tĂ© le tĂ©moin de profondes transformations de la Cour, rendues inĂ©vitables Ă  la fois pour rĂ©pondre Ă  l’accroissement considĂ©rable de ses activitĂ©s, avec la disparition du monde bipolaire qui avait relĂ©guĂ© le rĂšglement judiciaire Ă  un rĂŽle quelque peu marginal, et pour saisir les opportunitĂ©s nouvelles offertes, notamment, par le progrĂšs des technologies et de la communication. Entre 1982 et aujourd’hui, le nombre de fonctionnaires a ainsi presque triplĂ© (il a quasiment doublĂ© depuis l’an 2000, annĂ©e de ma premiĂšre Ă©lection en tant que Greffier). L’organisation du travail a Ă©tĂ© progressivement spĂ©cialisĂ©e entre les divers dĂ©partements, juridique, linguistique et chargĂ© de l’information, qui furent crĂ©Ă©s en 1997, et les services techniques. Par ailleurs, les Membres de la Cour ne disposĂšrent pas, pendant longtemps, de « rĂ©fĂ©rendaires » — ils s’y sont d’ailleurs longtemps refusĂ©s—, et l’assistance apportĂ©e aux juges en matiĂšre judiciaire Ă©tait principalement rĂ©partie entre les fonctionnaires du DĂ©partement des affaires juridiques.
H.E. Philippe Couvreur avec la Reine Beatrix photo prise pendant le 50 eme anniversaire de la Cour (18-04-1996).
Les cinq premiers postes de juristes rĂ©fĂ©rendaires ne furent obtenus de l’AssemblĂ©e gĂ©nĂ©rale et crĂ©Ă©s qu’en 2002, Ă  l’issue de difficiles nĂ©gociations que je me souviens avoir menĂ©es avec beaucoup de plaisir et d’intĂ©rĂȘt ; le nombre de ces postes s’est progressivement accru, pour s’élever Ă  quinze aujourd’hui. Les divers dĂ©veloppements qui ont marquĂ© le monde au cours des derniĂšres dĂ©cennies n’ont pas manquĂ© de soulever pour la Cour de nouveaux dĂ©fis. Comme c’est le cas pour toute institution, elle n’a pu les relever en faisant table rase des enseignements de son histoire ni, Ă  l’inverse, en ne saisissant pas toutes les opportunitĂ©s offertes par le temps prĂ©sent. A ces diffĂ©rents Ă©gards, la Cour est certainement parvenue, au fil des ans, Ă  assurer un Ă©quilibre, toujours dĂ©licat, entre changements et continuitĂ©. La continuitĂ© de la Cour est bien sĂ»r inscrite dans son Statut, qui fait partie intĂ©grante de la Charte des Nations Unies, et reflĂ©tĂ©e dans ses mĂ©thodes judiciaires, qui ont Ă©tĂ© trĂšs largement Ă©laborĂ©es par sa devanciĂšre, la Cour permanente de Justice internationale, et hĂ©ritĂ©es d’elle. Cette continuitĂ© historique Ă©tait particuliĂšrement prĂ©sente lorsque j’ai rejoint le Greffe. Ainsi, en maniĂšre d’anecdote, divers hauts fonctionnaires alors en poste avaient eux-mĂȘmes cĂŽtoyĂ©, au dĂ©but de leur carriĂšre, d’anciens fonctionnaires de la Cour permanente. Tous nourrissaient Ă  l’égard de cette derniĂšre le plus grand respect. Il rĂ©gnait d’ailleurs dans les couloirs du Palais de la Paix une atmosphĂšre feutrĂ©e et dĂ©licieusement surannĂ©e, Ă©vocatrice de la dĂ©funte SociĂ©tĂ© des Nations. Je me souviens en avoir encore utilisĂ© maintes fournitures de bureau ! La continuitĂ© jurisprudentielle et procĂ©durale entre les deux Cours constitue pour les Etats une garantie importante de sĂ©curitĂ© et de prĂ©visibilitĂ© juridiques. Cette continuitĂ©, juridique et historique, de mĂȘme que l’expĂ©rience accumulĂ©e en plus de quatre-vingt-dix ans d’exercice de la fonction judiciaire, sont pour la Cour un facteur crucial de lĂ©gitimitĂ©.
H.E. Philippe Couvreur vec le Roi Willem-Alexander photo prise pendant le 70 eme anniversaire de la Cour (20-04-2016).
En mĂȘme temps, la Cour a eu, Ă  l’évidence, Ă  s’adapter aux changements du monde rĂ©el dans lequel elle opĂšre, comme aux nĂ©cessitĂ©s et opportunitĂ©s nouvelles de chaque Ă©poque traversĂ©e. L’une des transformations notoires auxquelles j’ai assistĂ© fut l’ouverture croissante de la Cour sur l’extĂ©rieur : longtemps Ă  l’écart, Ă  dessein, des organes politiques des Nations Unies, la Cour a souhaitĂ© se faire plus et mieux entendre de ces organes et des Etats membres. Elle a ainsi rompu avec ce qui Ă©tait parfois perçu comme un « splendide isolement » au sein des Nations Unies, mĂȘme si elle dĂ©fend toujours jalousement son autonomie. La Cour doit en outre dĂ©sormais Ă©galement tenir compte des nombreuses autres juridictions, internationales ou rĂ©gionales, qui ont Ă©tĂ© crĂ©Ă©es ces derniĂšres annĂ©es, et veiller, autant que possible, Ă  assurer l’harmonie du « concert judiciaire » que permet ce foisonnement de cours et tribunaux sur la scĂšne internationale. Davantage ouverte sur la communautĂ© internationale et ses rĂ©alitĂ©s, la Cour s’est montrĂ©e de plus en plus attentive, non seulement Ă  sa place dans l’Organisation des Nations Unies, mais aussi Ă  la poursuite des objectifs de celle-ci et Ă  sa mission propre au service du rĂšglement pacifique des diffĂ©rends internationaux. Des diffĂ©rends de plus en plus complexes, tant juridiquement que factuellement, en mĂȘme temps que politiquement plus denses, lui ont Ă©tĂ© soumis. En rĂ©visant constamment, selon que de besoin, ses mĂ©thodes de travail, elle a su les rĂ©soudre rapidement et efficacement, Ă  un coĂ»t particuliĂšrement modeste pour la communautĂ© internationale, tout en assurant le dĂ©veloppement du droit. Enfin, pour conclure sur une note plus prosaĂŻque, mais qui est loin d’ĂȘtre nĂ©gligeable, je ne peux taire la chance que j’ai eue de connaĂźtre l’extraordinaire dĂ©veloppement de la ville de La Haye au cours des 35 derniĂšres annĂ©es. Celle-ci offre aujourd’hui Ă  la Cour, comme aux nombreuses institutions internationales qui s’y sont installĂ©es Ă  sa suite, une qualitĂ© de vie et un cadre de travail uniques, qui sont trĂšs loin de ressembler Ă  ce que j’ai trouvĂ© en y arrivant. A l’image de l’imposante stature du Palais de la Paix oĂč elle siĂšge, symbole mondialement connu de la justice internationale, la Cour est une institution solidement Ă©tablie. En dĂ©pit des pĂ©riodes de doute ou de dĂ©saffection qu’elle a traversĂ©es par le passĂ©, son rĂŽle est unanimement saluĂ© au sein de la communautĂ© internationale et le recours Ă  ses services par les Etats n’a jamais Ă©tĂ© aussi soutenu. 35 ans aprĂšs, je continue de mesurer chaque jour le privilĂšge qui est le mien de servir au mieux de mes capacitĂ©s l’organe judiciaire principal des Nations Unies.   —– Les photos dans l’article sont une courtoisie de la Cour International de Justice.

Viva Mexico!

Mexican National Day Celebration in The Hague

On Friday, September 15th, the Embassy of Mexico in The Hague lit up Paard van Troje with a vibrant and unforgettable celebration of the 213th anniversary of the Independence of Mexico. 

‘Noche Mexicana’, as the event was titled, was graciously hosted by His Excellency Mr. JosĂ© Antonio Zabalgoitia, the Ambassador of Mexico to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The evening was a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Mexico and the enduring bonds between the two countries.

The festivities kicked off with a reception, where Ambassador Zabalgoitia, his wife Lucía Villalobos. and the dedicated Mexican diplomatic staff warmly welcomed friends from the diplomatic community at large, international organizations in the field of justice, foreign affairs and migration, members of the academic community, as well as Dutch government officials. The guests were so numerous – including ambassadors from Algeria to Uruguay, from Russia to Rwanda, from China to Croatia, from Panama to Ghana, from Azerbaijan to South Africa, from New Zealand to Germany, from Switzerland to Poland, from Costa Rica to Algeria, that it is truly impossible to mention all of them. 

Guests had the pleasure of savoring homemade Mexican hors d’oeuvres and enjoying a drink in a unique Mexican traditional atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship.

After the reception, the doors swung open to embrace members of the vibrant Mexican Community, who joined in for a memorable ‘Noche Mexicana’. The heart of the evening traditionally began with the ‘Cry of Dolores’ or ‘El Grito’, a unique ceremony that re-enacts the historic uprising of the Mexican people for independence, which started with the insurrection of Dolores, Mexico on September 16, 1810, when the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the â€˜call to arms’.  

What made this rendition even more special was the active participation of the audience, who enthusiastically joined in with their own spirited cries of ‘Viva Mexico’.

Ambassador Zabalgoitia’s remarkable performance showed his expertise during this pivotal moment, absolutely electrifying the atmosphere, infusing it with energy and pride. He exclaimed loudly: ‘Viva to the heroes that gave us fatherland and freedom’, mentioning the names of the fallen heroes who died during the War of Independence and followed by all the guests repeating together with him, in one voice: ‘Viva Mexico!’

As the night progressed, Paard van Troje swelled with the presence of hundreds of diplomats representing nearly every country in The Hague. Alongside were Mexicans, many of whom proudly adorned in traditional attire, creating a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors. The unity of different nationalities in celebrating Mexican National Day was a heartwarming sight to behold!

For gastronomic enthusiasts, the evening was also a culinary delight, as after the official reception, food was available for purchase from three of the best Mexican restaurants in the Netherlands. The flavors of Mexico transported everyone’s taste buds on a gastronomic journey across this diverse and rich country.

However, it was the Mariachi Ramon Balderas who stole the show, serenading the audience with a repertoire of the most beloved Mexican songs. The joyous response from the crowd was overwhelming, as guests couldn’t resist dancing, singing, and clamoring for more. The exuberance of the audience was obvious, as they swayed to the music, singing, and shouting ‘Viva Mexico’ in one voice. The mariachis had already exhausted the repertoire of the most popular Mexican songs but the audience kept singing, dancing and asking for more.

Mariachi Ramon Balderas, El Grito, National Day of Mexico The Hague 2023.

The ‘Noche Mexicana’ in The Hague was a testament to Ambassador Zabalgoitia’s skill in creating a memorable event which seamlessly united people from different countries, professional and cultural areas, diplomats, officials and Mexican diaspora. It was a night that celebrated not only Mexican culture but also the power of diplomacy and cultural exchange to bring people together!

As the mariachi band played its final note, the night concluded with resounding shouts of ‘Viva Mexico’, echoing the sentiments of unity and friendship that had defined the evening. The warmth and festivity of Mexican National Day in The Hague, under the skillful guidance of Ambassador Zabalgoitia, left an indelible mark on all those who attended. Until the next ‘Noche Mexicana’, the spirit of Mexico will continue to thrive in The Hague. It was the warmest and most festive Mexican National Day we have ever seen.

One, two, three: ‘Viva Mexico!’

Viva o Brasil!

Brazil Independence Day, also known as ‘Sete de Setembro’ (September 7), is commemorating, each year, the country’s declaration of independence from Portugal in 1822.

In The Netherlands, the 201st Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil was celebrated with a reception at the official residence of Brazil, in Wassenaar. This year’s hosts were H.E. Ambassador Fernando Simas Magalhães, who had just presented his credentials to HM King Willem-Alexander, the day before, together with his wife, Matilde.

Mrs. Roberta Soares Maia and Mr. Juliano Rojas Maia, Minister-Counsellor of Brazil, Mrs Matilde Simas MagalhĂŁes and the Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Fernando Simas MagalhĂŁes.

On a sunny and warm autumn afternoon, this occasion gave rise to great and amicable discussions between the many diplomats who were present, from almost every country and every international organization accredited to The Hague, accompanied by the most delicious Brazilian traditional foods and the very popular Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail.

H.E. Mr. Jaime Moscoso Valenzuela, Ambassador of Chile, Mrs. Junia Fano de Salinas, H.E. Mr. Hernån Salinas, former Ambassador of Chile to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. José Antonio Zabalgoitia, Ambassador of Mexico, Mrs. Beatriz Piza de Brenes, H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro, Ambassador of Costa Rica, Mrs. Jaana SimilÀ and H.E. Mr. Ilkka-Pekka Antero Simila, Ambassador of Finland.

The beautiful garden of the Residence was full of animated international and Dutch people, enjoying a celebration of friendship and international diversity.

Ambassador Simas MagalhĂŁes, an experienced and internationally awarded career diplomat, with various previous postings from Washington to Madrid or Quito, gave a warm and insightful speech to the large audience.

‘The long friendship between Brazil and the Netherlands is a testament to the power of international cooperation. Our shared values of democracy, diversity, freedom and innovation have forged a strong bond that continues to bear fruit. Over the years, our bilateral relations have spanned a wide array of fields, from trade and investment to education and research. The exchange of knowledge and experiences has empowered us to tackle global challenges together, from sustainable development and climate change to health and technology. As we celebrate Brazil’s progress and achievements on this special and festive occasion, we also commemorate the enduring partnership with The Netherlands’.

H.E. Ambassador Fernando Simas MagalhĂŁes.

The Ambassador mentioned the numerous people who contributed, throughout the years, to strengthen ties between the two countries. Political leaders, government officials, civil servants, businessmen, scholars, artists, students and professionals from various fields have all contributed to the current bilateral relations.

He noted that ‘a clear example of the importance of the bilateral relations is the number of high-level authorities’ meetings held in the past few months. Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with President Lula in Brasília, in May, and HM Queen Maxima visited Brazil, last June, in her capacity as Special Advocate of the UN Secretary General for Inclusive Finance for Development’.

H.E. Mr. Rene Violenus, Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten, IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Antonio Polosa, Mrs. Sviatlana Yeudachenka, H.E. Andrei Yeudachenka, Ambassador of Belarus, H.E. Ms. Rawan Sulaiman, Palestine Chief of Mission, Mr. Grigovy Orlov, Minister Counsellor of the Russian Federation.
Ms. Minou Tavarez Mirabal, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court and the Ambassador of Costa Rica, H.E. Mr Arnoldo Brenes Castro.

The two countries collaborate on many levels, from artificial intelligence to sustainability, bio-economy or agriculture.

‘Brazil’s notable standing as agricultural producer aligns with the Netherland’s pre-eminence in agricultural technology, both countries being important food exporters and world suppliers, equally zealous of their agricultural potential’.

The Ambassador also mentioned that Brazil has volunteered to host the 30th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-30), in the Amazon, in 2025.

‘While assessing global actions to face the challenge of keeping our international commitments, our countries will have to embrace the newest technologies in renewable energies’.

He then added that, ‘in 2022, international trade between Brazil and the Netherlands amounted to 14 billion dollars, while the Dutch investment in our country reached the amount of 126 billion dollars. There is great potential for growth, including in food, agriculture, energy and in the defense sector’.

H.E. Mr. JoĆŸef Drofenik, Ambassador of Slovenia and the Ambassador of Ukraine, H.E. Mr. Oleksandr Karasevych.
H.E. Mr. Carlos Aguello Gomez, Ambassador of Nicaragua to the International Organizations and Mrs. Sherly A. Noguera de ArgĂŒello, Minister Counsellor of Nicaragua.
Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, CFC Managing Director, H.E. Ms. Sahar Ghanem, Ambassador of Yemen, UN IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Antonio Polosa and H.E. Mr. Almir Sahovic, Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Meanwhile, ‘Brazil has been and will remain an active participant on the discussions held at the legal multilateral organizations in The Hague, the capital of international justice. We are glad to see one of our most talented jurists, Leonardo Nemer Caldeira Brant, assume the daunting task of succeeding Professor Antonio Augusto Cançado Trindade at the International Court of Justice.

We also look forward to receiving the Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the coming months in our country. And, at the HCCH, we are proud that it was a Brazilian, Professor Marcelo de Nardi, who presided over the last meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy, during which the historic decision to recognize Spanish as an official language of the organization was taken’.

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Basri, Ambassador of Morocco and H.E. Mr. Diarrassouba Mifougo Youssouf, Ambassador of the Republic of CĂŽte d’Ivoire.
Mr. Alexandru Ion Steriu, Embassy of Romania’s Deputy Head of Mission and H.E. Álvaro GonzĂĄlez Otero, Ambassador of Uruguay.

In his speech, the Ambassador pledged his country’s commitment to continue to be an active participant in addressing the important objectives of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to contribute with other member states to overcome current challenges.

Pianist Elizabeth Fadel

He also thanked the companies that made the event possible: BRASKEM, CUTRALE, EMBRAER and SEARA, and also the people responsible for the evening’s cultural performances: pianist Elizabeth Fadel, who has presented her beautiful renditions of both the Dutch and Brazilian anthems, and then continued with some renowned Brazilian “chorinhos”, in collaboration with the Brazilian Music School of Rotterdam.

It was a memorable night. Viva o Brasi!

Media and columnists missed this one

By John DunkelgrĂŒn

This week saw the beginning of the biggest antitrust trial since the 1997 case against Microsoft. Google is under fire for monopolizing its search engine. Several of the big tech companies are being looked at. Not just the public, but the administrations in the US, the EU, Britain, etc. are getting nervous about their size and influence. Size and power are only a few of their worries. Elon Musk can on his own take a 44 billion dollar company and break it, firing thousands of employees at will. Like an old-fashioned potentate, he can decide what is free speech and what isn’t. Facebook, TikTok, Apple, and Amazon have been in rough water too for a variety of reasons, all to do with abuse of power.

But last week a new and very scary development was made public in a new book about Elon Musk. It mentioned that Musk admitted that he had cut off his satellite services in the area around the Crimea to stop a Ukrainian attack on the Russian fleet. It appeared that he had done so after talking to Russian diplomats. Funnily enough not much was written in the media about this momentous event. The fact that one man, one private man, can influence battlefield tactics, is too crazy for words. It is hard enough for the experts in the Pentagon to assess a nuclear threat. They have experience, contacts, and many sources of information, but still, it is hard. For a single person to evaluate the arguments of the Russians is impossible.

Today many companies broadcast their intention to be “good global citizens”, and to take care of all stakeholders, not just of the shareholders. Just imagine that Google, for instance, involving their “Do no harm” credo, decides that Ukraine continuing the war is bad for the planet and cuts off all of its services there until Ukraine is willing to sit down with Russia and forge a compromise. What if any of the big cloud companies refuse to sell cloud space to companies, whose climate or woke policies they don’t like? The more you think about it, the scarier it becomes.

What if having “green goals” means that a major company decides to refuse to do business with other companies or individuals they consider insufficient in dropping fossil fuels, even though they are well within government limits? What if companies become so woke as to demand a 50% female and 50% colored managerial staff in any company with which they do business?

Companies and individuals should stay away from areas that rightfully belong to the administration, the legislation, or the judiciary.

Turkmenistan’s Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty awarded with honorary badge of the Central Asian heads of state 

On September 14, 2023, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, at the invitation of the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, paid a working visit to the Republic of Tajikistan.

At the Dushanbe airport, a meeting was held between the National Leader of the Turkmen people and the Prime Minister of Tajikistan, during which issues of interstate cooperation, including the development of inter-parliamentary relations, were discussed.

In the afternoon, a solemn ceremony was held at the Kasri Millat Palace to award the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the Honorary Badge of the Heads of State of Central Asia.

Addressing the leaders of friendly countries, Arkadag expressed gratitude for presenting him with this high award.

In his speech, the Leader of the Turkmen people emphasized that our countries have extensive natural resources, strong industrial and technological potential, which implies the development and strengthening of cooperation. Their unification, the creation of profitable partnership production lines, integration and cooperation corridors are a pressing topic. It was also noted that Central Asia is one of the cradles of world civilization, located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road.

Arkadag also noted that the countries of Central Asia cooperate fruitfully within the framework of international organizations. This is evidenced by the Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, initiated by the countries of Central Asia.

On behalf of the President of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the Chairman Halk Maslahaty invited all dignitaries to take part in the celebrations planned in 2024 on the occasion of the anniversary of the Turkmen thinker and poet Magtymguly Pyragy, which will be held at the highest international level.

Once again thanking for the honorary award, the National Leader of the Turkmen people assured that, for his part, he would continue to fully contribute to strengthening the friendly and good-neighborly ties connecting our countries.

For further information 

https://mfa.gov.tm/en/news/4051

Deputy Judge Aniel Pahladsingh Advocates for Balanced Migration Management During Panama Visit

During a courtesy visit in January 2023 to the Panama Embassy in The Netherlands, the distinguished legal scholar and deputy judge, Mr. Aniel Pahladsingh, met with the ambassador, HE Ms. Elizabeth Ward Neiman.  It was his casual comment of an upcoming trip to South America which prompted the mention of Panama being the hub of the Americas and the 10-day Panama stopover incentive.  Additionally, Ambassador Ward gave insight as to the emigration challenges that Panama was facing and the benefit of shared knowledge. Interest was sparked and Ambassador Ward immediately proceeded with contacting universities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organize conferences.

In July 2023, Mr. Pahladsingh embarked on a notable journey to Panama. His visit to this Central American nation was a mission to shed light on one of the most pressing issues of our time – migration flows on the American continent. During his visit, Mr. Pahladsingh delivered lectures at USMA University and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while engaging in meaningful discussions with various government officials involved in migration management in Panama.

Deputy Judge Aniel Pahladsingh with Panama authorities.

During these enlightening lectures and conversations, several crucial topics were brought to the forefront:

Lessons from the Influx in Europe: Problems, Solutions, and Challenges

Drawing from his vast expertise, Mr. Pahladsingh delved into the lessons that could be learned from Europe’s experience with migration. He discussed the problems, solutions, and challenges faced by European nations in dealing with large-scale migration, providing valuable insights for Panama.

Legal Solutions for the State of Panama

In his lectures, Mr. Pahladsingh explored legal avenues and solutions tailored to Panama’s unique circumstances. These solutions aimed to provide a legal framework for managing migration effectively and in accordance with international norms.

Deputy Judge Aniel Pahladsingh with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, H.E. Ms. Janaina Taewaney.

Practical Solutions for the State of Panama

Practicality is essential in addressing the complex issue of migration. Mr. Pahladsingh shared his insights on practical solutions that complement those that Panama has already implemented to ensure the well-being of migrants and its own citizens.

Exchange of Experiences

Mr. Pahladsingh facilitated a valuable exchange of experiences between Panama and other countries dealing with similar migration challenges. This sharing of knowledge is crucial for devising informed policies and strategies.

One of the most striking observations made by Mr. Pahladsingh was that Panama most often serves as a transit country for migrants with aspirations of reaching North America. However, many of these migrants do not make it past the intensive border controls imposed by the United States, leading them to return through Panama.

“Through conversations with Ambassador Ward and media reports it was clear that Panama serves as a transit country for various migrants who ultimately want to reach North America. However, many migrants do not reach North America due to intensive US border controls and therefore return back through Panama.”

Various migration flows from countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and Ecuador were noted, each driven by a mix of political, economic, safety, rule of law, and environmental reasons. What’s more, there has been a noticeable shift in migration patterns from Africa and Asia towards Latin America, as strict migration rules in Europe and North America prompt migrants to explore alternative routes.

Deputy Judge Aniel Pahladsingh, Armonia Chang de Belchieur, Deputy Director International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama and Otto Escartin, Director of Legal International Department and treaties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama.

In light of these observations, Mr. Pahladsingh emphasized the importance of regional cooperation among Latin American countries, including Panama. Sharing information and collaborating on migration flows can lead to a more balanced and effective approach to migration management.

“Panama has faced a lot of new migrants. Panama is hospitable in receiving migrants. However, the increase in the number of migrants has had an effect on the reception capacity and procedures.”

The sheer scale of migration through Panama is staggering. In 2019, an estimated 24,000 migrants passed through Panama. By August 2023, this number had skyrocketed to 340,000, with an expected 400,000 by year-end. While Panama has demonstrated hospitality in receiving migrants, this influx has stretched the country’s reception capacity and procedures.

The economic impact of excessive migration flows on Panama cannot be underestimated. Moreover, the perilous journey many migrants undertake through the inhospitable Darien forest, a national reserve inhabited by indigenous people, has led to significant environmental degradation. This includes damage to flora and fauna, a consequence that demands urgent attention.

“Despite all the efforts Panama is already doing, in my opinion there are several solutions in order to regulate the migration flows in the region to create a more effective migration management. There should be more cooperation on migration flows from other countries in the region as well as the USA (country of destination). Accurate and reliable figures are necessary to implement a good migration policy. Furthermore, although Panama has dedicated over 65 million US dollars in direct assistance to migrants, with the economic assistance of other countries additional investments can be made in order to create a more effective asylum and immigration procedure. Another solution is to realize readmission agreements with the countries where the migrants come from to create the incentive of deportation.”

Tragically, the journey for migrants through this forest also exposes them to grave dangers, such as human smuggling and, in some cases, sexual exploitation. It is organized crime groups that primarily benefit from these tragic situations.

In light of these challenges, Mr. Pahladsingh suggested a series of solutions to regulate migration flows more effectively in the region:

Enhanced Cooperation on Migration Flows

Regional collaboration is paramount. Countries in Latin America, as well as the United States as the destination country, should work together to establish coherent migration policies and share accurate data.

Increased Financial Investment

Panama’s commitment to dedicating $65 million in direct assistance to migrants is commendable. However, with additional economic support from other countries, more can be done to improve asylum and immigration procedures.

Readmission Agreements

Creating incentives for deportation through readmission agreements with countries of migrant origin can help regulate migration flows.

International Cooperation and Investment

To address the root causes of migration, international cooperation and investments are necessary to improve political and economic conditions in the countries from which these migration flows originate.

Deputy Judge Aniel Pahladsingh’s visit to Panama was more than just a diplomatic exchange; it was a call to action. His extensive knowledge and insights on migration law have provided Panama and the broader international community with a roadmap to address the complexities of migration flows on the American continent. As we navigate the challenges of our ever-changing world, it is leaders like Mr. Pahladsingh who offer hope and practical solutions for a better future.

Best of Bangladesh Europe

Celebrating the true potential of Bangladesh in Europe

By Roy Lie Atjam

Best of Bangladesh, a remarkable national branding event organized by the Embassy of Bangladesh under the acumen direction of H.E. Mr. Riaz Hamidullah in conjunction with the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, the Ministry of Commerce, Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, and in association with Best of Bangladesh(PDS limited).It was quite an experience.

The air was filled with excitement as representatives from various industries came together to showcase their offerings. I was fortunate to have met Mr. Shahriar Alam, MP and State Minister for Foreign Affairs, during a visit to his ministry in Dhaka. The event was held at the Gashouder- Westergas Complex in Amsterdam.

H.E. Mr. Riaz Hamidullah, Ambassador of Bangladesh.

Successful Story of ‘Best of Bangladesh Europe’ in Amsterdam

11th September 2023, Amsterdam: Best of Bangladesh Europe’ has successfully completed in the prestigious venue of Wastergas in Amsterdam on 4th & 5th Sept 2023.

The 2-day nation branding event had been organized by Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE), with support from the Embassy of Bangladesh, Ministry of Commerce, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh and in association with PDS.

Tipu Munshi, MP, Commerce Minister, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Michiel Sweers, Vice Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Kingdom of the Netherlands; Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Md Siddiqur Rahman,  Former president of BGMEA; M Riaz Hamidullah, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands; Leslie Johnston, Chief Executive Officer, Laudes Foundation; Pallak Seth, Founder & Vice Chairman, PDS Limited; and Mostafiz Uddin, Founder & CEO, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange; attended the inaugural ceremony of the ‘Best of Bangladesh’.

Tipu Munshi, MP, said “Bangladesh has travelled distance in the past half century. Emerging from a brutal war of independence and the constraints or limitations, aspiration – innovation – resilience of the people reached us to a stage of stability and robust growth.”

Michiel Sweers, Vice Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Kingdom of the Netherlands, said “On behalf of the government of the Netherlands I welcome you all and thank you for choosing Amsterdam as the location of Best of Bangladesh. I believe dialogues here in the Best of Bangladesh will accelerate the momentum of sustainable business.”

Shahriar Alam, MP, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; said “Presence of some of the best of our entrepreneurs under one roof in Westergas speaks of coming of the age of the drive and innovation of our private sector. Their transcend beyond labour-centric manufacturing. They are increasingly keen to step into many other sectors. As much as business, they are here also to tap into niche technology or innovation with the Dutch or European peers.”

Prof. Jan Peter Balkenende, Minister of State & Former Prime Minister of Kingdom of the Netherlands, in his video message put emphasis on the Netherlands and Bangladesh cooperations for sustainable growth.

Mostafiz Uddin, Founder & CEO, Bangladesh Apparel Exchange, said “Best of Bangladesh Europe is a testament to Bangladesh’s ability in sustainable and responsible manufacturing.”

M Riaz Hamidullah, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherland, said “To Europe let alone the Netherlands, contemporary Bangladesh interests on myriad of economic considerations. Growing trade volume is just one pillar.

Three MoU were signed in the inaugural for the development of the industries of Bangladesh. The 1st MoU was signed between

Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and Eindhoven International Project Office (EIPO). The 2nd MoU was signed between Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and Apparel Impact Institution. The 3rd MoU was signed between Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and Oxfam.

More than 35 companies from various fields, including apparel, textiles, agriculture, handicrafts, and other sectors, participated in the initiative.

Over 1000 European visitors, including representatives from brands and retailers, are expected to attend the ‘Best of Bangladesh’ in the two days.

The event hold six interactive panel sessions on the topics “Bangladesh – Perspectives from an Emerging Economy”, “Sustainable Sourcing Realities: Challenges, Achievements & Next Steps”, “Empowering the Future: Advancing Safety & Well-being for Garments Workforce in Bangladesh”, “Bangladesh Agro-Food: A Next Opportunity for Collaboration”, “Impact Investing – The Next Frontier”, and “Sustainable Synergy: Circular Economy, Climate Action & Bangladesh’s Future”.

A Bangladesh Innovation Runway was presented by Pacific Jeans at the event. The Bangladesh Innovation Runway showcased the ability of the country in producing high end, sustainable and innovative apparel products.

Iljan van Hardevelt appointed Director of the Peace Palace

The Board of the Carnegie Foundation, the owner and manager of the Peace Palace in The Hague, has appointed Iljan van Hardevelt as Director with effect from 1 October 2023. With this appointment the Foundation is preparing for the various renovation projects that will be undertaken in order to prepare the Peace Palace for the future.

The Peace Palace
The Peace Palace, which opened its doors 110 years ago, houses the International Court of Justice of the United Nations, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Academy of International Law and a renowned library on international law. As owner of the Peace Palace, the Carnegie Foundation manages and maintains this monumental heritage site and facilitates the two Courts and the Academy. The Library of the Peace Palace is also part of the Carnegie Foundation.

A building of this scale and age necessarily requires maintenance. In the years ahead the Carnegie Foundation, in cooperation with external parties, will be carrying out renovation works. Included in these will be an extensive asbestos investigation followed by the systematic removal of asbestos. As the Courts will continue to use the working palace throughout the duration of these projects, they will have to be housed satisfactorily. In the coming years both the Peace Palace and the Carnegie Foundation must evolve into future-proof organisations.

Expertise with monumental property
Iljan van Hardevelt, who will commence duty as the new Director on 1 October, has extensive experience with both the maintenance and further development of monumental buildings as well as with project and organisational planning. After completing his engineering studies at the Delft University of Technology in 2000, Van Hardevelt was employed by organisational consultancy firm TwynstraGudde. From 2012, in the role of Managing Partner. During more than 20 years with the firm, Van Hardevelt was involved with, amongst other things, the renovation of the Dutch House of Representatives’ premises (Binnenhof) and, as project leader, the renovation, sustainability and expansion of the Groningen City Hall and the construction of the Forum Groningen. In addition, Van Hardevelt filled various management positions within TwynstraGudde.

Piet Hein Donner, Chairman of the Board of the Carnegie Foundation: “Iljan van Hardevelt brings with him extensive knowledge regarding the (re)development of societal property. He can lead complex property projects in a politico-administrative environment whilst, at the same time, being experienced in steering large and diverse organisations. We are pleased he is joining us and are looking forward to working together.”

Knowledge and affinity with the art collection
In addition to his expertise in the area of monumental heritage and project management, Van Hardevelt also has an affinity with the Peace Palace’s art collection of more than forty works of art and interior objects from around the world. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of Museum Het Schip, was formerly a board member of the Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections (VBCN) and was the chairman of TwynstraGudde’s art commission.

Van Hardevelt is enthusiastically looking forward to his new workplace: “My driving force has always been to create impact within the spatial domain; a lasting improvement or innovation. That I may now use my expertise, together with the Board and colleagues of the Carnegie Foundation, to work on the further professionalisation of the organisation and to pilot the Peace Palace to a sustainable future makes me incredibly proud. I am very much looking forward to this great challenge.”

Embassy Festival  2023 colourful, Dazzling and Entertaining   

By Roy Lie Atjam

The Embassy Festival is a vibrant and colourful annual event where various embassies showcase their countries. This festival brings people from different backgrounds together to share their knowledge and ideas, celebrating global culture and what connects us all.

You can explore a world of music and dance, including performances by artists such as Harmoni Rasa from Malaysia, Irene Sanga from Tanzania, Dardanet from Kosovo, and Grupo Cultural Ritmo Dominicano, among others.

In the center of the photo, the Kenyan ambassador H.E. Ms. Margaret Shava, accompanied by two people dressed in traditional Kenyan attire.

Furthermore, individuals from diverse cultures exhibit their cuisines, clothing, accessories, and other objects at this event. This unique and special occasion underscores the shared interests and experiences that unite us as global citizens.

It generates a sense of traversing the world without physically departing The Hague, fostering a spirit of togetherness as we revel in global culture collectively.

Israel parading in the Cultural Parade of the Embassy Festival.

A decade ago, an event was inaugurated as a part of the annual International Open Day in September, held at the World Forum. At that time, it was referred to by a different name.

However, today, it has evolved into a highly renowned activity that embassies eagerly anticipate. Moreover, it is an honour to mention that the esteemed Mayor of The Hague will support the 2023 festival.

The Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Almir Sahovic with part of his delegation.

The festival takes place on the first Saturday of September. The mayor of The Hague, Mr. Jan van Zanen, is one of the regular Embassy Festival attendees. Several Ambassadors and diplomats participated in the event in person.

The opening ceremony of this year’s festival was marked by a magnificent Cultural Parade that took place on the fairgrounds. Participants were adorned in traditional attires, waving their national flags and banners and joyously dancing to the melodious tunes. The parade was graced by the esteemed presence of several ambassadors, which undoubtedly added to its grandeur and success. Therefore, it is highly recommended that this parade be included as the festival’s central activity.

A Samurai, from the prestigious hereditary military nobility of Japan. (12 century)

The 2023 festival saw participation from over fifty embassies representing different parts of the world. It would be even better if more countries joined as participants. We warmly welcome countries like Belgium, Germany, Brazil, and many others.

Embassy Festival, colourful and dazzling

Ambassador of Bangladesh, H.E. Mr. Riaz Hamidullah, his wife Sazia Ahmed and Ms. Archi Mutsuddi.

The Embassy Festival came and went in splendour, a truly tremendous celebration. Bravo!

The Africa Climate Summit 2023

At the beginning of September 2023 (4th– 6th), the African Heads of State and Government gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for the Africa Climate Summit (ACS).

In the presence of other global leaders, intergovernmental organizations, Regional Economic Communities, United Nations Agencies, private sector, civil society organizations, indigenous peoples, local communities, farmer organizations, children, youth, women and academia the summit ended with a common declaration on climate change.

H.E. President William Ruto, the host of the summit, presented the conclusions of the fruitful high level gathering, which provided a unified approach and political leadership on an African vision that simultaneously pursues climate change and development agenda.

The African leaders called in the common declaration for the full implementation of all COP27 decisions, mentioning the need to cut global emissions by 43% during this decade, in order to achieve the ‘Paris agreement’ climate target, while highlighting that Africa is currently warming faster than the rest of the world and, if unabated, climate change will continue to have adverse impacts on African economies and societies, and hamper growth and wellbeing.

Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity and the single biggest threat to all life on Earth.

Many African countries face disproportionate burdens and risks arising from climate change-related, unpredictable weather events and patterns, including prolonged droughts, devastating floods, wildfires, which cause massive humanitarian crisis with detrimental impacts on economies, health, education, peace and security, among other risks.

In 2023, 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity while 970 million lack access to clean cooking.  African cities and urban centers are growing rapidly, and by 2050 would be home to over one billion people.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

Despite the fact that Africa has an estimated 40 percent of the world’s renewable energy resources, in the last decade only 60 billion USD renewable energy investments have come to Africa.

The continent possesses both the potential and the ambition to be a vital component of the global solution to climate change. As home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing workforce, coupled with massive untapped renewable energy potential, abundant natural assets and entrepreneurial spirit, Africa has the fundamentals to spearhead a climate compatible pathway as a thriving, cost-competitive industrial hub with the capacity to support other regions in achieving their net zero ambitions.

The declaration also mentioned the important role of forests in Africa, in particular the Congo Basin rainforest, in regulating global climate change, while further recognizing the critical importance of the oceans in climate action and commitments made on ocean sustainability in multiple fora such as the Second UN Oceans Conference in 2022 and the Moroni Declaration for Ocean and Climate Action in Africa in 2023.

Collective actions are needed: accelerated efforts to reduce emissions, providing 100 billion USD in annual climate finance, as promised 14 years ago at the Copenhagen conference, a fair and accelerated process of phasing down coal and abolishment of all fossil fuel subsidies, while developing and implementing policies, regulations and incentives aimed at attracting local, regional and global investment in green growth and inclusive economies.

The African leaders emphasized that strengthening continental collaboration is essential to enabling and advancing green growth, including but not limited to regional and continental grid interconnectivity, and further accelerating the operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

Advancing green industrialization across the Continent should prioritize energy-intense industries to trigger a virtuous cycle of renewable energy deployment and economic activity, with a special emphasis on adding value to Africa’s natural endowments. Sustainable agricultural practices should also be a priority, in order to enhance food security while minimizing negative environmental impacts, enhancing drought resilience systems to shift from crisis management to proactive drought preparedness and adaptation, to significantly reduce drought vulnerability of people, supporting smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples, and local communities in the green economic transition given their key role in ecosystems stewardship.

The final summit declaration highlighted the importance of building effective partnership between Africa and other regions, to meet the needs for financial, technical and technological support, and knowledge sharing for climate change adaptation.

The declaration was a call upon world leaders to appreciate that decarbonizing the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity, and meanwhile an invite for partners from both the global south and north to align and coordinate their technical and financial resources directed toward Africa to promote sustainable utilization of Africa’s natural assets for the continent’s progression toward low carbon development. It was a call for access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, including technologies that consist of processes and innovation methods to support Africa’s green industrialization and transition, while redesigning global and regional trade mechanisms in a manner that enables products from Africa to compete on fair and equitable terms.

The decision 31/ COP27 that a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least 4 to 6 trillion USD per year was reiterated. Delivering such funding in turn requires a transformation of the financial system and its structures and processes, engaging governments, central banks, commercial banks, institutional investors and other financial actors. No country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action.

The African leaders proposed for consideration a new SDR issue for climate crisis response of at least the same magnitude as the Covid19 issue (650b USD), new debt relief interventions and instruments to pre-empt debt default, including a 10-year grace period, inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations (Resolution A/C.2/77/L.11/REV.1)– with the aim to reduce Africa’s loss of 27 billion USD in annual corporate tax revenue through profit shifting, by at least 50 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050.

A multilateral finance reform is necessary but not sufficient to provide the scale of climate financing that the world needs, in order to achieve 45 percent emission reduction by 2030, without which keeping global warming to 1.5° would be in serious jeopardy. However, the scale of financing required to unlock Africa’s climate-positive growth is beyond the borrowing capacity of national balance sheets. Africa’s borrowing costs, typically 5 to 8 times higher than what wealthy countries pay are a root cause of recurring developing country debt crisis and an impediment to investment in development and climate action.

World leaders are urged to rally behind the proposal for a global carbon taxation regime, including a carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation, that may also be augmented by a global financial transaction tax (FTT)) to provide dedicated, affordable, and accessible finance for climate-positive investments at scale. A new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs is desired, including debt restructuring and relief, while developing a new Global Climate Finance Charter through UNGA and COP processes by 2025.

In the end, African leaders decided that the Africa Climate Summit should be a biennial event convened by African Union and hosted by AU Member States, to set the continent’s new vision taking into consideration emerging global climate and development issues.

Bolivia National Day, The Hague

August 6th is the date that marks the anniversary of the independence of Bolivia in 1825. On this special occasion, ambassador of Bolivia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, welcomed other ambassadors and fellow diplomats, representatives of international organizations, Dutch state officials and also native Bolivians to the national day reception.

Presentation of a diversity of good Bolivian wines of altitude and traditional sweet and savory foods were served, while the lovely summer day was brightened by the colorful traditional dancing group, Alma Latina and a classical music ensemble called La Plata. The guests could admire a special photography exhibition by Fransisco Claure “Ajayu” and paintings of Elizabeth Lizaso.

In his welcome speech, the ambassador said to his guests: ‘Today, we are only two years away to celebrate our Bi-centennial, in 2025. We are working for the good relations between Bolivia and the Netherlands but, also in the framework of our multilateral organizations based here in The Hague, the capital of peace and justice.

The Ambassador of Bolivia, H.E. Mr. Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, the Ambassador of Rwanda, H.E. Mr. Olivier J.P. Nduhungirehe and the Ambassador of Estonia, H.E. Mr. Lauri Kuusing.

The Bolivian State is promoting the principles and values of culture of peace and diplomacy of living well’. He mentioned that Bolivia is actively promoting human, economic, social, cultural, ethnic and environmental rights, with repudiation of all forms of racism and discrimination, harmony with nature, protection of biodiversity and promotion of food security and sovereignty.

‘Bolivia, as a pacifist and peace supporting country, considers that the only alternative to guarantee a just and lasting peace in various conflicts must be carried along by the use of dialogue and negotiation. Bolivia rejects every war of aggression as a means of resolving differences and conflicts between states.’

The ambassador appreciated the new approach and enhanced attention in the relations between Europe and Latin America, mentioning the recent EU CELAC summit of Heads of State in Brussels (the first in the last 8 years).

Group of attendees, in the centre H.E. Mr. Francois Alabrune, H.E. Mr. Arnoldo Brenes Castro, Ambassador of Costa Rica and the Ambassador of Bolivia.
Dayana Perez Fernandez, Charge d’affaires of fthe Dominican Republic, H.E. Ms. Maria Isabel Gomes de Resende Encoge, Ambassador of Angola and H. E. Mr. Álvaro GonzĂĄlez Otero, the Ambassador of Uruguay.

‘Today we are experiencing profound changes at the global level, with great risks and challenges, but also with opportunities. We firmly believe that we can and must build better relationships: fairer, more balanced and cooperative, to improve the lives of our people. Bolivia recognizes the important cooperation work developed by the Netherlands in Bolivia during the last decades and this also constitutes an important basis to continue towards a positive and fruitful relationship that has been undertaken in many sectors.

We have started a renewed dialogue and agenda on alternative energy, critical raw materials trade, water, promoting processes of sustainable integral development for life and the promotion of harmony with nature and Mother Earth. During last year it was decided to continue the dialogue for cooperation on energy issues and the importance of lithium, and it was agreed to carry out a process of joint work to establish a reference framework through an updated Agreement that includes synergies between the two countries’.

Bolivian wines, celebration of Bolivia National Day, The Hague.
Illimani at the celebration of Bolivia Independence Day, The Hague.

While mentioning the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the ambassador said that Bolivia finally ended, 7 months ago, at the International Court of Justice, the dispute regarding the status and use of the Silala Waters, initiated by Chile in 2016.

Bolivia has been working together with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The last chemical weapons from the stockpiles declared by all States Parties were destroyed on July 7th 2023 in Kentucky, a major achievement for a peaceful world and also a historic success of multilateralism in the field of disarmament, as work of a full generation of diplomats and experts, over the past 26 years.

When talking about Bolivia’s economic achievements, Mr. Calzadilla Sarmiento proudly mentioned Bolivia’s exports of natural gas, silver, zinc, lead, tin, gold, quinoa, soybeans, lithium carbonate and potassium chloride, which reached almost 14 billion USD, attaining record levels.

The Social Community Productive Economic Model and the measures that have been implemented and have made it possible to return to the path of economic grouwth with social justice.

In this sense, it is important to highlight the following data: the growth of the Bolivian economy in 2022 reached 3.5%. The Nominal GDP increased from $US40,703 in 2021 to US$ 44.315 in 2022. GDP per capita reached $US 3,691 the highest in Bolivia’s history.

Bolivia National Day, The Hague.

With 23 million tonner, Bolivia has become the world’s largest lithium reserve of the planet. For the next few years, the Government is guaranteeing an accelerated investment of around 3 billion dollars.

As President Arce at the recent Summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Bolivia is open to foreign investment, but on the basis of a sovereign model that guarantees control of resources and industrialization in our country for the fair distribution of fincome in favour of the whole country.

There are times of commemoration and celebration, but, above all, of commitment to the deepening of democracy, social justice, the rule of law and the search for developement, and better days for all.

On little more time, in just two years, on August 6 2025, Bolivia will celebrate the bicentenary of its independence with the challenge of building a country for all, more inclusive, participatory, participative and all, more plural, diverse, without exclusions, divisions, confrontations, social polarisation, and racism. It its 200 years of independence life, we will have to reflect on what country we want for all of us, for our children and to guarantee a sustainable future, with a fairer access to Vivir Bien to rights, to natural resources and in harmony with Mother Earth.”

The evening was a nice and merry celebration of international friendship. Cheers to you, Bolivia.