The European Union reaffirms today its support to the universal ban on chemical weapons. It is a tribute to all those who have lost their lives or loved ones and suffered harm from chemical weapons as well as a commitment to promoting peace and security.
The Chemical Weapons Convention and the crucial work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have contributed to eliminating 97% of chemical weapons stockpiles declared by possessor states. This makes the Chemical Weapons Convention the world's most successful disarmament treaty.
Today, the EU will light up its headquarters in Brussels to show its support for eradicating an alarming problem that is still too common. One in three women in Europe has experienced physical and/or sexual violence.
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history that has helped transform children's lives around the world for the better.
Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.
The creation, development and diffusion of knowledge, technologies and innovations are powerful drivers of inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. Knowledge and skill diffusion are considered key to the reduction of inequality both within and between countries. As such, investments in Research and Innovation (R&I) capability are instrumental to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
With European prosperity and Asian peace and security closely connected, the European Union has decided to strengthen its security cooperation in and with Asia. This is also in line with the steps taken by the EU in the past years to strengthen its role as a global security provider: Europe and Asia share a fundamental interest in upholding the rules-based international system, as well as the view that the challenges the world faces today go beyond national borders and cannot be tackled alone. The EU-Asia security partnership is therefore both desirable and necessary.