WEBINAR: At the forefront of multilateralism: lessons learned from Belgium’s 6th stint in the UNSC


17 June 2020


Webinar - Brussels

Join the Egmont Institute for a Webinar on: At the forefront of multilateralism: lessons learned from Belgium’s 6th stint in the UNSC , Wednesday 17 of June 2020, at 13h00 (Brussels time).  


  • Mr. Axel Kenes, Director General / Political Director, Directorate General Multilateral Affairs and Globalisation, FPS Foreign Affairs, Belgium
  • Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer, Senior Research Fellow, Egmont Institute.
  • Prof. Dr. David Criekemans, Senior Associate Fellow, Egmont Institute.


  • Jean-Louis De Brouwer, Director of the European Affairs Program, Egmont Institute.


Belgium took over the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council on 1 February 2020. Its approach was meant to be squarely in line with the cornerstones of Belgian foreign policy: attachment to multilateralism, the primacy of international law and cooperation, conflict prevention, and respect for human rights. Quite an ambition at a time when multilateralism is being fundamentally questioned, and ‘me first’ seems to be the slogan of the day!

In the immediate aftermath of Brexit, Belgium was also keen to insist on the importance of European cooperation within the UNSC, as well as on complementarity between the UN and the EU. Indeed, this was one of the three topics that Belgium put on the agenda of the UNSC, along with the protection of children in armed conflicts and transnational justice, the topics of high-level events. In the calm before the COVID-19 storm, regular meetings and briefings on geopolitical security situations were also scheduled, particularly regarding the Middle East.

Any Presidency of the Council, despite its short duration, is the result of a huge diplomatic effort, a long process that mobilises headquarters and missions around the world. The purpose of this Webinar is to draw first lessons a few months after this peak in Belgian diplomacy. Were Belgium’s priorities the right ones, and will the country’s investment in these topics have a lasting impact? How much did Belgium’s historical position as a founder of the European Union shape its approach to the UNSC Presidency? How can elected members assert themselves against the five permanent members of the Security Council? And how was this Presidency perceived by Belgian political stakeholders and the public? These are just a few of the issues that this Webinar will explore.


Participants should register by 15 June by sending an email  to conferences@egmontinstitute.be

Zoom will be open at 12:45. A link will be sent to the confirmed participants.

 (Photo credit: BELGIUM-UNSC, MFA)