On his first day at the United Nations General Assembly, Pedro Sánchez announced a series of financial commitments that will involve Spain's delivery of 40 million euros to various UN organizations in addition to those it already contributes to that organization, and that in 2022 they amounted to 544.3 million, according to official Spanish sources. This makes Spain one of the ten countries that donate the most to the UN, a goal that Sánchez wants to maintain.
The head of the Government participated in the Second Leaders' Dialogue for Building Resilience and Leaving No One Behind, one of the four working groups of the High Level Forum. Sánchez was the thirteenth leader to speak, to announce an increase in Spanish financial participation in the Joint Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Government sources, in the period 2021-2023, Spain, with a contribution of 100 million euros, has become the second largest contributor to the SDG Fund, after Sweden. His intention is to continue in that position, for which Sánchez announced 20 million euros for the period 2024-2027. The Fund finances operations around the world for the development of the 2030 Agenda, normally in collaboration with the private sector and other multilateral organizations, as well as governments and civil society groups.
The President of the Government also announced 20 million euros to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a multilateral bank chaired by the Spanish Álvaro Lario, aimed at guaranteeing food security. IFAD, which belongs to the UN, has provided more than €20 billion in aid to the agricultural sector in the developing world since its formation in 1977. The aid comes at a time when food security around the world is in decline. endangered in part because of the blockade on Ukrainian grain exports that Russia is trying to impose.
Thus, Spain contributes an extra 40 million, according to official sources, in the next three years. These are, according to the same sources, items framed in the regular Foreign Affairs budget and in line with the International Cooperation Law in which Spain is included. commits to allocate 0.7% of Gross National Income to official development aid.
Finally, the Spanish president presented Spain's aspiration to be among the top ten donors to the budget of UN agencies between 2024 and 2027. The president concluded his speech by presenting the candidacy to be the summit of the IV Headquarters for Development Financing Sustainable, which will be celebrated in 2025.
The appointment in New York will prevent Pedro Sánchez from being in Congress this Tuesday, when the use of Catalan, Basque and Galician comes into effect in the Chamber and in the midst of uncertainty over the formation of a new Government after the elections of the 23-J. The debate on the Spanish political situation has crossed the Atlantic. Two weeks ago, the Washington Post published an unusually harsh editorial against the President of the Government's plans to negotiate with Junts per Catalunya (JxC). The headline of the article, signed by the newspaper's Editorial Board, left no doubt about its content: "Spain is taken hostage by a faction of separatist extremists." The text compared the Catalan separatists with Vox and Donald Trump, and stated that "in Spain, the source" of identity politics is not "race or religion", but is "regional, especially in the prosperous region of Catalonia".
Finally, the newspaper cited the former Minister of Foreign Affairs with Pedro Sánchez, Arantxa González-Laya, to defend the thesis that trying to negotiate with the secessionists is just a distraction from the real problems that Spain has. Contacted by EL MUNDO, both the head of the Opinion section of the newspaper - a position that in the US press has enormous power, since the Opinion area is completely separated from the News section -, David Shipley, and the main author of the text, Leo Hockstader, did not want to add more to the article, claiming that "it is self-explanatory."
The harsh editorial of the Post - a newspaper that as recently as 2019 published an opinion article signed by Oriol Junqueras - has meant a surprising change in the general position of the United States towards Sánchez, who from the beginning of his mandate has been careful special in taking care of relations with the United States, both with the Government of Joe Biden and with the media of that country, which was evident in the meeting with the American president in the White House last May, right at the start of the campaign for the municipal and regional elections.
The American political class, and even more so public opinion, are totally unaffected by Spanish political events, as long as the country maintains its political and economic stability and remains a faithful ally of NATO. The Government's strategy for the next two months of negotiation with JxC is that an agreement with that party will reinforce this stability, since it will eliminate the potential source of tension that the resumption of the secessionist process in Catalonia would entail. A secessionist process that no one in Washington believes is going to happen or that it would be good for the interests of Europe or the United States - in fact, that must be one of the few things that Obama, Trump and Biden agree on - but that still raises some concern about its potential to create problems in the future.
In principle, in New York, Sánchez will only meet, in the field of the media agenda, with the Editorial Board of the NBC television network, the most watched in the country. NBC is owned by the cable giant Comcast, owner, among others, of the Hollywood studios Paramount, the internet distribution company Xfinity, the British network SkyTV, and the left-wing news channel MSNBC, the second most watched in the country. country, after the conservative Fox News. On other trips, the president has had interviews and appearances in media that were not on his official calendar.
Sánchez's institutional agenda revolves around multilateral initiatives, although throughout these three days he will also hold some bilateral meetings with different world leaders. Among others, meetings are confirmed with the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, and with the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.
Sánchez addresses the Plenary of the Assembly on Wednesday at ten to eight at night, local time - two in the morning in Spain - although, given the usual delay caused by the more than 30 heads of State and Government who will have exercised the turn to speak before him - among them this year's undisputed star, the Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky, who for the first time since the Russian invasion of his country is attending the UN in person - is likely to do so even later. The terrible location on the speakers' calendar is almost a tradition of the Spanish presidents of the Government in recent years, because in New York eight at night is like ten o'clock in Spain and at that time the cavernous room in which they speak the speeches is practically empty.
The Forum is held under the shadow of a catastrophic failure for its promoters: not a single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals - ranging from equality to the protection of biodiversity and the fight against climate change - will be achieved in 2030. What's more: according to the UN itself, the progress towards half of these objectives is going backwards, while the process threatens to create a new focus of North-South conflict in the face of the demands of developing countries that the industrialized world give him more financial help to achieve them, especially with regard to energy transformation and the abandonment of fossil fuels. All of this has led to a debate among the UN member states - all except North Korea and the Vatican - about whether it is appropriate to cut the plan, which would constitute a political humiliation of the first order but, at least, a act of strategic realism.
Sánchez will participate in other activities linked, directly or indirectly, to the Sustainable Development Goals. On Tuesday afternoon in New York (nine at night in Spain) he will speak at the High Level Table on the Reform of the International Financial System, and on Wednesday he will do so at the Climate Ambition Summit, before joining Spain in the Agreement. on Conservation of Marine Biological Diversity. Spain is also co-organizer of a meeting on feminist diplomacy at the UN. The president will also have a meeting with the Business Economics Forum of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.