UN Institute for Disarmament Research: Space Security Workshop

This meeting was brought about to discuss the current updates on the future of space, with a specific focus on the safety, security, and commercial actors in space. The speakers shared their insight on the socio-economic impact of space on the future, with the discussion eventually shifting towards the importance of international policy regarding space.

It was emphasized that international rules require a consensus among space-faring nations, that are both applicable to public and private entities, specifically mindful of new start-ups. Preventing weaponization and the arms race, and mitigating risks from other human activities is deemed as essential in any international discussion.

Moreover, regarding any current and future actions in space, everyone should be considered a stakeholder. Both Low Earth and Geosynchronous (370 km and 36,000 km above the earth, respectively) orbiting satellites play a vital role in our world. They are responsible for communications, data collection, as well as weather, climate, and environmental sensors. Today, nearly 40% of the SDG targets (65 out of 169) are directly supported by space activity. 

Moving forward, space-actors must also consider the mass accumulation of space debris.

While it requires more energy and money to bring down a satellite, the space environment is already at that critical point where the Low Earth Orbit will be inaccessible to satellites in its orbit within the next 100 years. Ultimately, there needs to be an increase in international dialogue among government and private bodies in order to ensure the security and safety of space, with a focus on demilitarization and non-polluting activity.

Meeting​: UNIDIR Space Security Workshop: A Primer for Delegations

Date/Location​: Wednesday, January 30th, 2019; 10:00 to 12:00; Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

  • Mr. Kazuto Suzuki, Professor of Public Policy at Hokkaido University
  • Ms. Laura Grego, Senior Scientist for the Global Security Program

Written By: WIT Representative Michael Murphy

 

International Leaders Discuss Bringing Agenda 2030 to Fruition

This meeting was held to discuss the creation of partnerships between various stakeholders and how they would benefit the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Lykketoft called for work between the public and private sectors, academia, and foundations in action for the Agenda 2030

Next, Ms. Kingo transitioned by encouraging companies and UN bodies alike to share available resources and collaboration to find new opportunities.

A statement from Ban-Ki Moon was read and it noted the need to move from commitment to action. Wide expertise was called for, as were the inter-linkages supported by the Agenda goals.

Mr. Mitchell spoke on how although there is a conception that business love risk, they ultimately crave stability with the hope of maintaining stakeholder relationships. He noted that it is extremely crucial for governments to establish infrastructure, maintain un-corrupt economics, and protect intellectual property. He also stated that it is crucial to foster economic development in other countries.

Ms. Marini spoke on how the first change that needs to be implemented for partnership development is transparency on the motives of all involved in the partnership. She also noted the need to shift towards putting the food of people first, effectively a shift towards human-centered design. She also touted that it is important to stop “think globally and act locally” to transition to “think locally and act locally”.

Meeting: “From commitments to results: Leveraging partnerships for the 2030 Agenda”

Date/Location: Thursday, March 31, 2016; 10:00-13:00 ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, President of the Economic and Social Council; H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly; Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations; Her Royal Highness Haya Al Hussein, UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson, International Humanitarian City; Mr. Richard Lui, Moderator, News Anchor, MSNBC; Ms. Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education; Ms. Peggy Dulany, Chair, Synergos; Mr. Michael Landau, Chairman, CTI Global; Ms. Mary Chege, Director, Development Finance International; Ms. Lise Kingo, Moderator, Executive Director, UN Global Compact; Mr. Scott Mitchell, President and CEO, Sumitomo Chemical America; Ms. Joy Marini, Executive Director, Johnson and Johnso;  Mr. Igor Runov, Under Secretary-General, International Road Transport Union (IRU);

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: Alex Margolick

Points of Ukraine: Putin’s Widening Grip

Vitaly Klitschko talks with pro-European integration protesters at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev.

Today, Ms. Holland began the panel discussion by introducing the agenda of the event, which concerned examining different perspectives on the continuing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  Then, Mr. Karatnycky provided an overview of the history of the conflict and the potential obstacles that may impede a negotiated settlement to it.  He elaborated that though President Vladimir Putin is using hard tactics to maintain control over Crimea, he has triggered the latent sentiments of a large contingent of Russians and elites that never wanted Ukraine and Crimea to separate from Russia.  Additionally, he mentioned that the main problem regarding using diplomacy to end the conflict stems from Russia’s unwillingness to reach an agreement with Ukraine.

Next, Dr. Nikolayenko spoke of the effect of the conflict on the civil society and citizens of Ukraine.  She stated that with over 8,000 Russian soldiers present in Ukraine and 9,100 human casualties that have resulted in death, the conflict has led to a growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country and a slowdown of Ukraine’s economy.  Additionally, she mentioned that the Russian government’s influence over the Russian media has led to misrepresentations on the reporting of the conflict and swayed public support in President Putin’s favor.  Lastly, Ms. Arno talked about fleeing Russia after protesting President Putin’s inauguration in 2012 and the punishments other pro-democracy Russians face in the country due to their political views.  She also reinforced the idea that President Putin’s control over Russian media outlets have helped to build support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Additionally, she mentioned that the Free Russia Foundation that she founded seeks to give a voice to pro-democracy Russians and Ukrainians embroiled in the conflict.

Meeting: The Panel Discussion on “The Continuing Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine”

Date/Time/Location: Monday, April 18, 2016; 18:00 – 20:00; New York University (NYU) School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 210

Speakers: Ms. Mary Holland, Moderator and Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program at New York University (NYU) School of Law; Mr. Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Ukraine in Europe Program at the Atlantic Council; Dr. Olena Nikolayenko, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University; Ms. Natalia Arno, President and Founder of the Free Russia Foundation (FRF)  

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo: Reuters

The Disconnect Between Religion and Extremism

This meeting was held to discuss the issues surrounding extremism, particularly religious extremism.

Dr. Hamad started by noting political and economic improvements relate to the establishment of peace and increasing how long peace lasts.

Dr. Tangara mentioned how the enemy, in this case ISIS, is more sophisticated than many acknowledge. ISIS has taken to attacking societies by attacking their culture. Additionally, he stated that it is important to replace the ancient education that tends to have xenophobic ideals.

Mrs. Lodico commented on the importance of separation of state from religion, and of religion from state. She noted how the world lacks enlightenment, contributing to the number of jihadists. Finally, she discussed how social media has played a proliferating part in the spread of ISIS Propaganda. She said that they began with a single propaganda video, and since then their social media presence has only decreased. Additionally, she pointed out how Nazis never celebrated the genocides that they perpetrated, and yet ISIS has streamed their atrocities thanks to their access to social media. Finally, she stated that fights against ISIL needed to be holistic.

Dr. Durbak noted that Dr. Al-Suwaidi’s book exposed the exploitation of Islam by ISIS. She stated how individuals fell into ISIS as a result of issues in their environments, and pointed out how the uneven distribution of resources can lead to exploitation, powerlessness, and distress.

Reverend Dr. Thomas noted the similarities between some concept of mirages and the story of Jesus in the bible. He pointed out that in extremism, there is a disconnect between religion and reality, and noted that extremism is not confined to any particular region.

Meeting: Forum on “Extremism-A threat and a challenge that needs to be addressed”

Date/Location: Thursday, April 7, 2016; 10:00-12:00, Conference Room 8

Speakers: Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Secretary General, World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations; H.E. Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the UN; Mrs. Yvonne Lodico, Founder Grace Initiative, Former Director, UN Institute for Training and Research, NY; Dr. Christine Durbak, Chair and CEO World Information Transfer; Rev. Dr. Douglas Thomas, Adjunct Professor of Religion at Lincoln University, Oxford, Pennsylvania; H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The Female Antidote to Violent Extremism

The high-level event, co-hosted by the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in partnership with the United Nations, the United States, and Norway, sought to discuss women’s role in countering violent extremism (CVE). The event began with opening remarks, which lasted the greater portion of the event, chaired by Mr. Alistair Millar.

First, Ms. Mara Marinaki commended progress that has since been made surrounding the context and understanding in which women and violent extremism interact. Similarly, Dr. Sarah Sewall emphasized the need for advocacy and women’s empowerment. “Strong women are able to combat these neolithic visions,” Dr. Sewall explained. She also stressed the need to view women’s right, not as a tool or security policy, but as a goal in itself. Both Dr. Sewall and Ms. Tone Skogen, called for women’s involvement and voice in political processes. Mr. Weixiong Chen concluded the opening remarks with a well received statement reminding attendees that violent extremist groups do seek women, and to consider the motives that drive women to violent extremist groups.

A panel discussion followed which discussed strengthening women’s roles in countering violent extremism, protecting right from violent extremism, and a more cross cutting approach to reaching boys and men. Mr. Yannick Glemarec shared the Security Council’s Resolution 2242, which seeks to improve the implementation of its Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Ms. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini stressed the need to frame CVE more positively. “All of our language is against something; what are we for? Extremists groups offer positive benefits and try to refraining social justice for their agenda, what is our side positive story?” she questioned. At the conclusion of the event, the Global Center and Hedayah announced a preview of their joint publication entitled, A Man’s World? Exploring the Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism.

Racial Bias Among Women

Today, there was a meeting co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Brazil and the United States Mission to the United Nations in commemoration of the International Decade for Persons of African Descent: Recognition, Justice, and Development. The welcoming remarks were made by Ambassador Duarte, who mentioned both the US and Brazil’s shared past of slavery, present of social challenges, and aspiration of ending gender discriminations. With young black women accounting for 80% of female homicide rates in Brazil, there needs to be a change in Brazilian policy. Ms. Butts moderated the panel discussion.

Ms. Alexander shared an excerpt from her poem about Venus Hottentot, a South African woman who moved to London to become an entertainer but instead became caged and characterized as a circus freak. She believes that one of the challenges for women of color is that identities have been so misdefined, existing under the shadow of stereotype — this historical imperative has affected her creative outlet and poetry.

Ms. Ribeiro spoke of her personal experience as a woman in academia who confronted a world that was entirely black, white, and eurocentric. Black culture and contributions are denied and never reflected on TV or academia. She stated, however, that new technology has made it possible for black women to have a presence on the Internet: she herself runs an online column. Ms. Sterling and Ms. Nascimento spoke of the need for movements to conjoin and to take an intersectional approach. In the last 10 years, there was a 10% decrease in homicides in white women and a 64% increase in black women. This shows that the policy against women in Brazil are not reaching black women, and these panelists were the voices that brought light to the necessity to make a change.

Meeting: Women of African Descent: Shaping Racial Identity

Date/Location: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016; 13:15-14:30; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ambassador Carlos Duarte, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil; The Honorable Cassandra Q Butts, United States Mission; Elizabeth Alexander, Ford Foundation Director; Valdecir do Nascimento, Brazilian activist, Executive Coordinator of Odara – Black Woman Institute; Djamila Ribeiro, Brazilian Political Philosopher; Chery Sterling, Director of Black Studies, The City College of NY

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Rhee SC, & Lee SH (2010)

 

Peace And Women Are Building Blocks

Today’s event offered a forum in which panelists shared their views on how to best incorporate women’s leadership in contexts of fragility and conflict and ensure that they are not left behind.

Unlike the MDGs, which included no separate provision for peace and security, the 2030 Agenda (with the introduction of the SDGs) has dedicated an entire goal for peace and security (SDG 16). As Ms. Cabrera-Balleza remarked, “Goal 16 is very important and has been long fought for. How can we talk about sustainable development in a country that is at war?”  She highlighted the importance of including women and civil society in the implementation of the new agenda. We must take the SDGs out of New York and the UN and bring them to the countries affected and in need of sustainable development. We must ensure that they are also owned by local people and communities. To do this, we must translate the SDGs from UN language to one that is broken down and fathomed at local levels. Partnering with local community media is crucial to dissipating the information. We should also give space to women so that they can take the lead in decisions. The “Add Woman or Stir Approach” can no longer be viable.

Ms. Gbowee noted that the 2030 Agenda is one that incorporates almost every thematic area that affects our world. The SDGs are all interconnected and must be achieved together. Further, we must not let the SDGs become trending issues that will later lose relevance. It is time to push and speak the hard truth. She pointed out that women-centered movements have lost their strength and become overly diplomatic. As she stated, “You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.”

Meeting: “Women’s Leadership in SDG Implementation in Situations of Conflict and Fragility: Lessons from Somalia and Liberia.”

Date/Location: Wednesday, March 16, 2016; 3:00-4:15 p.m.; Conference Room A

Speakers: Ms. Rosemary Kalapurakal, Moderator; Ms. Sarah Poole, Deputy Director, BPPS, UNDP; Hon. Sahra Mohamaed Ali Samatar, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development; Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Women’s Rights and Peace Activist, 2011 Nobel  Peace Prize Winner; Ms. Zahra Said Nur, Women’s Rights Activist, Founder of Talowadaag-Somali Women’s Movement; Ms. Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, International Coordinator, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Sanctioning North Korea’s Nuclear Ballistic Programs

The Security Council Chamber had its 7638th meeting on the adoption of the agenda regarding non-proliferation and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The resolution would tighten regimes of international sanctions with the DPRK to shut down financing of the nuclear ballistic programs. The council voted on the draft of the resolution, and it received 15 votes in favor. Thus, the draft has been adopted unanimously.

The floor was then given to Ms. Samantha Power, and she explained that when looking at North Korea, it could seem like looking at two different realities. The first is a country pursuing advanced technologies to build missiles capable of a nuclear strike a continent away. The second is a country where 25 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. She said that while they may seem mutually exclusive, they have everything to do with one another. Therefore, the chronic suffering of the citizens of the DPRK is a direct result of the choice made by the North Korean government, prioritizing the nuclear weapons program over its people. In addition, Ms. Power said that the nuclear weapons program is also a growing threat for the world. North Korea is the only country in the world to conduct nuclear tests in the 21st century, and it has actually conducted 4 since 2000.

The resolution that the council has just adopted is much tougher than any other resolution before. The resolution altogether bans North Korea’s exports of specific natural resources like coal, making it tougher for North Korea to receive the funding they need. In addition, the resolution bans all imports of aviation and rocket fuel. After representatives of Japan, China, Russia, and Spain also made comments about the resolution, the President adjourned the meeting.

Meeting: Security Council: 7638th meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday March 2, 2016, 10:00 –11:30; Security Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Ms. Samantha Power, United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

More Aid, More Problems: How to Help the Helpers in the Middle East

Syria Agrees To Delivery Of Humanitarian Aid

Today, the Security Council ran two meetings, beginning with the adoption of the agenda and an introduction to the situation in the Middle East. A letter dated 22 January 2016 from the Panel of Experts on Yemen was read, discussing the significant challenges to the implementation of humanitarian aid and the destructive impact that the humanitarian situation in Yemen has had on civilians. The urgency to simplify the process of aiding others was stressed: to move a single truck, the UN team needs to go through repeated rounds of everything from the target location to the route and dates and times. This toiling process hinders the efficiency of the task at hand.

Recently, a WFP plane sent from the UN and its partners dropped some necessities in Syria that have reached 110 people in besieged places, with 230 more people that can be reached through airdrops, and an additional 170 people are in need. This month, aid was brought to 960 people, which is a 48% increase from January. It was stated that with the highest price of the Syrian conflict being paid by the men, women, and children who are witnessing their homes being torn apart, granting access should not be dependent on political situations.

Next, Dr. Ja’afari wanted to shed light on the brutality: some states impose unilateral measures on the Syrian people, which merely aggravate the suffering; some accuse the government of purposely seizing and starving the civilians. He disputed these claims by stating, “Only civilians are hungry, not terrorists. Terrorists do not go hungry. It is inevitable that only civilians go hungry. It has become clear that the improvement of the Syrian situation is necessary.” Finally, the President adjourned the meeting with an invitation to the council members for an informal discussion.

Meeting: Security Council: 7630th, 7631st Meetings

Date/Location: Wednesday, February 24th, 2016; 10:00-11:00; Security Council Chamber

Speakers: Rafael Ramirez, President of Security Council from Venezuela; the Panel of Experts on Yemen; H.E. Bashar Ja’afari, Ph.D., the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: United Nation Relief and Works Agency via Getty Images