PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PROMOTION UN Secretary General compliments Malta’s constructive approach to facilitate dialogue in the Mediterranean

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela attended the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, which convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, the United Nations’ central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.

Minister Abela was eagerly welcomed by the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres. The meeting served as an opportunity to discuss current significant global and regional issues including the current situation in Libya. The Secretary General shared Malta’s concerns and respected its position on migration. The Minister expressed disappointment that international efforts have so far been unsuccessful in bringing Libyans together. The Secretary General complimented Malta’s constructive approach and bridge-building approach to aid dialogue in the Mediterranean.

Minister Abela also remarked that during last year’s HLPF the Minister for Foreign Affairs had delivered Malta’s Review, highlighting national sustainable development progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

In his address this year, Minister Abela emphasized Malta’s ongoing pursuit of socio-economic policies to address the wellbeing of society in general, commending Malta’s advancement to the 28th place among 162 countries, in terms of SDG progress. He also stated that this is a recognition of Malta’s collective action in the drive to mainstream sustainability.

Minister Abela also touched upon Malta’s educational system, which is witnessing a reduction in early school leavers and increased graduates, and the efforts being undertaken to move people dependent on social benefits into the active labour market. Employment growth in Malta remains among the highest in the EU, while youth unemployment and income inequalities are below the EU average.

Climate change remains one of the most pressing challenges in today’s world. Minister Abela added that Malta is relentlessly implementing measures to mitigate emissions and address vulnerabilities, by diversifying the energy mix and water resources.

Minister Abela also held a meeting with Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) discussing issues of mutual interest with a special focus on Malta’s role as key to cross culture civilizations.

In addition, the Minister also participated to a cordial introductory meeting with the President Elect of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly due to be held in New York this coming September, Prof. Muhammad-Bande. Minister Abela remarked that Malta, as one of the 15 Vice-Presidents of the Plenary Bureau during the forthcoming General Assembly, is keen to address stability factors in Africa and the immediate region to curb migration challenges.

During a courtesy meeting between Minister Abela and UN Special Envoy for the Ocean Peter Thomson, both parties accentuated and recognised the role and importance of the oceans for sustainable development for the global population. Minister Abela also discussed preparations for the upcoming first meeting of ocean Ambassadors to be held in Malta next month.

Minister Abela was accompanied by Permanent Representative to the UN Carmel Inguanez during his visit in New York.

Source: Government of Malta