Minister Mouynes UNGA

Panama champions sustainability, gender equality, and democracy at the 77th United Nations General Assembly

Panama’s Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes traveled to New York to participate in the critical diplomatic convention of the year, the United Nations General Assembly, in which world leaders gather to debate the most pressing issues shaping the international agenda. The 77th Assembly has been marked by the critical situation created by the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, a tipping point in climate change, humanitarian challenges, and growing concerns about the global economy.  

Regarding her attendance at the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Mouynes noted that “Panama understands that, in a world greatly polarised by the consequences of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, it is key that we all continue to aim for a common agenda. It is a permanent challenge that, in this context, Panama’s international relations remain consistent with the economic growth to which we aspire, so that it translates into social development, equity, and more and better opportunities for our people”. 

Minister Mouynes had an intense agenda for the General Assembly week, featuring high-level meetings with representatives of several countries who share national priorities with Panama: gender equality, respect for democracy, human rights, and environmental protection. In particular, she met with the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, to reaffirm Panama’s commitment to diplomacy.  

Foreign Minister Mouynes also represented Panama at a convening of the Alliance for Development in Democracy (ADD) countries, alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their counterparts from Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Attendees took stock of the progress made by the ADD since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States in July to strengthen regional supply chains and build semiconductor chip manufacturing capabilities in the Western Hemisphere. Foreign Minister Mouynes’ participation reflected Panama’s high importance in protecting democratic institutions and individual freedoms, while also delivering sustainable economic growth for its people. She emphasized this message during remarks at a high-level meeting organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center entitled, “Challenges & Multi-Stakeholder Responses to Peace, Security & Climate Crisis.” 

Sustainability and environmental conservation were key areas of focus for Foreign Minister Mouynes at UNGA. Reflecting that, she participated in a high-level meeting of “Blue Leader” countries – those committed to protecting 30% of their territorial waters by 2030 – a goal already achieved by Panama, which has now promised to increase the level of protection to 40% by 2024. She also represented Panama in extraordinary meetings of regional integration forums such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in which she highlighted multilateral efforts “to address climate change, development and prosperity, solidarity and the fight against cross-border crime.”  

Finally, the Foreign Minister showcased Panama’s commitment to environmental conservation at the World Biodiversity Summit – New York, which comes as Panama prepares to host the 19th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, in Panama City this November.  

Foreign Minister Mouynes attended other notable meetings while in New York, including with U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden; Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva Durán; the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern; the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Jamaica, Guatemala, Bolivia, and other nations; a meeting with the World Economic Forum focused on gender and sustainability; a meeting with non-governmental organizations in support of ocean conservation; and a meeting with a group of young foreign ministers from around the world, among other engagements.  

There is yet more work to be done on issues ranging from gender equality to migration, to climate resilience. But at the 77th UN General Assembly, Minister Mouynes once again demonstrated Panama’s leadership as an international actor that is taking the necessary steps to overcome these shared challenges through multilateral cooperation and a commitment to a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future.