Belgian queen reaches Dhaka on three-day tour as UN SDG advocate

Mathilde, the queen of Belgium, landed in Dhaka on Monday for a three-day visit to Bangladesh in her capacity as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals advocate.

Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen received her upon her arrival at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the morning. Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud was also present on the occasion.

The Belgian queen plans to measure and support the progress made in Bangladesh in the areas of girls’ education, women’s economic empowerment, fight against domestic violence and mental health awareness.

She is also interested in responses to environmental problems.

She plans to visit Kutupalong, the largest Rohingya camp in the world, which hosts more than a million Rohingyas, according to Belgian Royal Palace.

As one of the 17 SDG advocates of the UN, she will visit projects in Dhaka and Khulna districts.

It is expected that queen Mathilde Marie Christine Ghislaine d’Udekem d’Acoz would meet president Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Seheli Sabrin.

‘Agenda 2030 requires citizens, civil society, academia, scientists, philanthropic organisations, and the private sector to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Ownership and participation are key,’ the United Nations quoted the queen as saying.

The SDG advocates are 17 inspiring, influential people raising global awareness of the SDGs and the need for accelerated action.

They use their unique global platforms to raise ambition around the SDGs and reach the most vulnerable first.

SDG advocates are strong public figures dedicated to peace, prosperity and the planet, rallying behind the vision of a better world and inspiring others to do the same.

Queen Mathilde ascended the throne in 2013. She is the honorary president of Child Focus, a foundation for missing and sexually exploited children, and UNICEF Belgium.

In 2001, she established the Princess Mathilde Fund, now the Queen Mathilde Fund, to promote the care of vulnerable people. As an SDG advocate, she is particularly focused on mental health.

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