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Queen Mathilde to visit Laos this month for UNICEF

Later this month, Queen Mathilde of Belgium will travel to Laos with UNICEF. She will be in the Asian country from 20 to 23 February.

The department of UNICEF in Laos and the Belgian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, organised the trip together. The mission’s purpose is “raising awareness of the issue of quality education, health, including mental health, survival and child malnutrition,” according to the Belgian Monarchy.

Queen Mathilde is an advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and was appointed by former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon in January 2016. Other royal advocates include Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The United Nations hopes to achieve these goals by the year 2030.

As part of her role as an advocate, Her Majesty wants to draw attention to “the implementation of the SDGs to leave no one behind,” the monarchy said in a press release. They aim to strengthen UNICEF’s local actions and the actions of the local authorities in the protection of women and children’s rights.

Her Majesty is the Honorary Chairperson of UNICEF Belgium and has been since 2009. She previously visited Ethiopia with UNICEF in November 2015 on a mission regarding child survival. This means “every child has the right to survival regardless of location, community or lifestyle,” according to UNICEF Belgium.

H.M. Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Honorary Chairperson of UNICEF Belgium, visited Ethiopia, 9-12 November 2015
©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Ayene

This trip was also in relation to the United Nations and their Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, the United Nations SDGs helped to fund a programme to help the victims suffering from the drought in Ethiopia at the time. The drought led to a major food crises in the African nation which resulted in many cases of malnutrition of children in the country. The programme funded by UNICEF Belgium aimed to reach around 450,000 people.

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