Global Europe Summit

When: 23 November 2023 | 15:30 – 17:00 (CET) | Brussels
Where: Square de Meeûs 5-6, B 1000 Brussels

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Global Europe Summit: green infrastructure matters for the sustainability of resilient communities and economies

Co-organised with UNOPS

The recent and recurring troubles in West Africa and the Sahel, as well as Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, pose a major security challenge: millions of citizens are living in insecurity due to inadequate access to food and health care, but also at the risk of explosive ordnance, which poses an increasing threat to peaceful lives in many countries. Building sustainable peace, as the ultimate goal of most international and regional actors, requires a multi-faceted and multi-actor approach. It is crucial to eradicate silos, improve mechanisms of knowledge exchange and identify new avenues of cooperation between different actors and sectors. Sustainable and climate-friendly infrastructure in the heart of conflict zones is an essential prerequisite for more reliable and resilient care for civilians.

Mutuality, interdependence and reciprocity have become the urgent call to funders and implementors from those receiving development finance. Only 15% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are on track to be achieved by 2030 and 37% are stalled or in reverse. At the halfway point for delivery, what can be done to unlock the delivery challenges of the SDG? The recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) suggested a turning point by adopting a political declaration that reaffirms commitment to achieve the SDGs. Are these just words? Are we too late? How does this translate into practice? Are the commitments made at UNGA really enough?

Any progress that takes place now needs to be turbocharged and enable fragile states to increase their access to alternative, more reliable and resilient green infrastructure, as well as to adapt to and sustain the impact of climate change. How can agencies such as UNOPS be the accelerators for implementation of the SDGs? Can such multilateral institutions serve as vehicles to close the implementation gap and keep funding from being held up and or delayed in getting where it needs to go? What steps does the international community need to take now in order to maintain meaningful momentum and accelerate SDG progress through to 2030? What are the main challenges to progression? 

Upcoming moments such as COP28, LLDC3, SIDS4 and the Summit of the Future provide a further platform to demonstrate collective action and progress. In conflict zones and fragile states, collective and concerted action amongst international actors is a prerequisite to enable people and communities to survive, cope with and adapt to adverse circumstances.

In advance of these international fora, a lot of energy is spent to ensure they enable social and economic progress on sustainability and climate action more widely. How do move from political proclamation to practical and measurable action on the ground; accelerate the implementation, particularly in fragile states, to ensure alignment, coordination and collaboration amongst funders and implementers; whilst making learning and knowledge-sharing a key feature of international investment in communities and economies?


  • Jorge Moreira da Silva, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
  • Jean Van Wetter, Managing Director of the Belgian Development Agency (Enabel)