Peacekeeping where “there is no peace to keep”

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The incumbent president of the Security Council, Russia, held an open debate on the new trends in UN peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General opened the debate by recognizing the increasingly dangerous circumstances confronting peacekeeping, stating that very often “there is no peace to keep” where missions are dispatched. At a time when both the demand for peacekeeping and its cost increase, he urged the Security Council to renew their commitment to this core mission of the UN.

Jordan pointed out the challenge to peacekeeping rests on declining contribution of troops and policies from member states. Quoting the words of former peacekeeping chief Brian Urquhart, the Ambassador said that peacekeeping missions may be better served by a standing army if the low contribution from members persists. However, many in the council echoed the Secretary-General in recognizing the changing landscape for peacekeeping. In response, Luxembourg and Nigeria called for cooperation among peacekeeping missions and regional organizations as possible solutions to the problem. Britain pointed out that in the face of the changing demands of peacekeeping, attempts should be made on tailor-making mandate and apparatus for individual missions instead of codifying a universal standard.

The council was divided on the future of the mandate and capacities of peacekeeping. For instance, China stated that use of force must be limited to the self-defense of the mission in contrary to the Australian and American view that use of force is justified and needed to protect civilians. Further, while Chad and Rwanda were wary of technological advancement such as unmanned aerial vehicle, Nigeria, Russia and Lithuania pointed out the need to equip the Blue Helmets with appropriate equipment to facilitate their mission and alleviate budgetary concern. Concluding the initial round of discussion, the President stated her wish to produce an outcome document in light of the debate.

Meeting Title: Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Speakers: Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Members of the UN Security Council and other Member States
Location: Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 11 June, 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung

UN Addressing Conditions Conducive to Terrorism

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A meeting on the ways to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism was held in the Trusteeship Council. Beginning the meeting, H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement condemning Sunday’s recent terrorist attack in the Karachi airport, which killed 23 people. He urged the international community to be united in showing strong solidarity against terrorism, and called for support of the victims, families, and communities affected by terrorism.

Following this introduction, two UN civil servants, Mr. Jason Pronyk and Mr. Mohammad Younis, gave their personal testimony from the 2003 terrorist attacks in Baghdad. On August 19, 2003, both men were injured in the bombing of the Canal hotel in Baghdad. The Canal hotel was used as UN headquarters, and a total of 22 UN civil servants were killed. Both men suffered severe injuries to their head, neck, and upper bodies. Mr. Pronyk and Mr. Younis called for raising awareness of victims, and providing increased care to victims including medical, social, and psychological support.

Concluding the meeting, Mr. Feldman, Chairman of the Counter Terrorism Task Force, gave a statement focused on strategies to support victims of terrorism. The UN Victims of Terrorism Portal helps terrorism victims find support, including finding organizations that work on rehabilitation, psycho social support, and information on how to access criminal justice systems. Mr. Feldman said victims are often forgotten, and besides forming a global strategy to combat terrorism, supporting victims of terrorism is also necessary.

Meeting Title: Interactive Dialogue on “Addressing Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism”
Speakers: H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; Mr. Jason Pronyk; Mr. Mohhamad Younis; Mr. Jeffrey Feldman, Undersecretary General for the Department of Political Affairs and Chairman of the Counter Terrorism Task Force
Date: 11 June 2014
Location: United Nations HQ, Trusteeship Council, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

 

Secretary General of the United Nations discusses Human Rights and Rule of Law

UN SECRETARY GENERAL MEETS WITH SPANISH PRESIDENTThe Human Rights and the Rule of Law meeting spoke on ways to support the integration of these objectives into the post-2015 agenda. Human rights fall into categories that either can enhance development or harm development. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the UN, spoke of promoting freedom of opinion and well-functioning institutions, along with better strategies and results. More than 1 billion people remain extremely poor, despite efforts to eliminate poverty. A key element in the ongoing agenda is to secure land for agricultural production.  The Rule of Law will prevent corruption and organised international crime, which H.E. Ki-Moon explained is require to balance the needs of people, while exterminating poverty. The agenda needs to close social and economic gaps.

The UN AIDS Goodwill Ambassador shared that despite decreasing incidence, AIDS continues to be the 2nd largest contributor to adolescent death. More than 40% of people with AIDS are 14 and younger. The Ambassador reported that in 9 of the world’s highest AIDS-prevalent countries, less than 9% of boys and girls have been tested. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF, spoke of the success from programs that have been established in damaged areas. Mr Lake elaborated on more governments-based programs to keep children educated, vaccinated and sheltered. In a video message from Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented four suggestions for the new agenda; that the agenda must address both “freedom from want” and “freedom from fear”, the framework must include the principles of human rights and equality, must contain a strong global partnership and must be based on a strong accountability.

Meeting Title: Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Speakers: Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General; Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF; Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; President on Human Rights; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Location: United Nations HQ, Trusteeship Council, New York
Date: 9 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Leslie Anokye
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

Forum on Youth 2014

In accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 68/1, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) should further promote the integration of youth into its deliberations, building on the past positive experiences of informal youth forums.

From the 2-3, June 2014 the United Nations was home to youth delegates, representatives from the Children and Youth Major Groups, youth representatives from Member States, including those from National Youth Councils, representatives of regional youth organisations as well as youth-led and youth focused organisations and networks, including those in consultative status with ECOSOC.

The aim of the Youth Forum was to bring the voice of young people into discussion on addressing the challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and shaping the post-2015 development agenda. During the opening ceremony, Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon remarked, “There is a world of need out there, but also a world of opportunity. So I urge you to keep doing your part. Keep showing your leadership as global citizens” while urging attendees to “keep making a difference”. The Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi spotlighted five thematic areas; education, employment and entrepreneurship, health, peace and security, and governance  as the greatest concern that threaten youth development in nation states. These areas were condensed after engaging more than 1.2 million young people through the My World 2015 survey and a crowdsourcing platform convened by UN agencies and partners. World Information Transfer’s DPI Representative, Apurv Gupta, was ranked 5 in the overall community, sharing recommendations on all thematic issues.

It was observed at the forums conclusion that employment was the key area young people wanted world leaders to focus on during the construction of the post-2015 development agenda. Currently, 75 million youth are unemployed, and more than 600 million jobs need to be generated globally in the life span of the new development agenda to absorb current unemployment levels and provide jobs to new labour market entrants.

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Meeting Title: ECOSOC Youth Forum 2014
Speakers: H.E. Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, H.E. Martin Sajdik (Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council, H.E. Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and Co-Chair, Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goal, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy for Youth, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Youth Representatives.
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 1 (CB)
Date: 3 June 2014
Written by WIT representatives:  Apurv Gupta and Aslesha Dhillon

#Youth2015: Realising the future they want

Opening of the Forum on Youth 2014 

“The future is yours so you have your own prerogatives to raise your voices. There is no plan B because there is no planet B. ”

– H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

As emphasised by H.E. Secretary General, today’s youth are leaders in all areas from technology to politics, the arts to science. Already young people are making their mark on history by altering traditional power structures. H.E. Ban Ki-moon asked that the youth continue to play their crucial role challenging and transforming the future.

H.E. Martin Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), praised our youth as catalysts for change, as their imagination and energy innovates societies to grow and achieve a greater quality of life. H.E. Martin Sajdik asked the world to include the youth population, totaling 1.8 billion, to revolutionize our global system as providers, problem solvers and mentors.

 H.E. John Ashe, President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, explained his desire for youth to get involved especially as nations are working together towards setting agendas post 2015. These ‘sustainable development goals’ aim to transform our world by 2030, a period that will be run by leaders who are the youth of today. Therefore youth participation is essential so that their vision is encapsulated in the UN’s mission.

Youth Advisor for CIVICUS Alliance, Ms. Brittany Trilford shared that 85% of the youth population lives in developing countries. These people are the next generation of workers, leaders and activists. Therefore they should be targeted in development schemes.

Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, explained the global connection amongst young people, through the same struggles to realise the same aspirations. Mr. Alhendawi believes an important element to the post 2015 agenda should be the role of young women as assets and drivers for development.

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Meeting Title: United Nations ECOSOC Forum on Youth 2014: Opening Session
Performance by: Lisa Russell Spoken Word Artists
Speakers: President of the Economic and Social Council H.E. Martin Sajdik,  Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Ban Ki-moon, President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly H.E. John Ashe, Youth Advisor of CIVICUS Alliance Ms. Brittany Trilford, and United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 2 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

Urbanisation a transformative tool for Sustainable Development

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This week the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is hosting a segment on the integration of sustainable development focusing on the role of Urbanisation. H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of ECOSOC, expressed that urbanisation has and will play a transformative role to meeting economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. H.E. Drobnjak explained that cities are innovative spaces, which drive social change and provide opportunities that can lift populations out of poverty. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised that expanding government capacities and planning urbanisation is critical to ensure that policies and frameworks create equitable and constructive environments.

Urbanisation leads to higher wages, provides basic infrastructure and services, while also stimulating the private sector that creates jobs and new stakeholders to provide public goods. As African nations become more urbanized people can be empowered to build secure futures. President Paul Kagame discussed his own nation Rwanda whom, twenty years after genocide, continue searching for solutions to repair the social dimensions of everyday life. President Kagame noted the capacity of urbanization to repair and unify his people whom are moving to cities faster than ever before in search of a higher quality of life.

Vice-President of Colombia, H.E. Angelino Garzon, insisted that the future agenda must not discriminate against the poor as part of the problem but instead include low-income workers as part of the solution. H.E. Garzon reminded states leaders of their duty to provide populations with education, safe water, basic sanitation, transport, a healthy environment, decent work and access to land.

H.E. Isabelle Picco, Vice-President of the general assembly raised concerns for the effects on climate change, as 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated in cities. Mr. Joan Clos challenged governments to utilize innovative abilities towards energy strategies, ensure sustainable urbanisation and stimulate environmental protection alongside development.

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Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council’s opening of the Integration segment focusing on Urbanization
Speakers: Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of the General Assembly H.E. Isabelle Picco, Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Ban Ki-moon, President of the Republic of Rwanda H.E. Paul Kagame, Vice-President of the Republic of Colombia H.E. Angelino Garzon, H.E. Michael Bloomberg of United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and Executive Director of UN-Habitat Mr. Joan Clos
Date: 27 May 2014
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

Images: CBD of Hong Kong and Melbourne 

Partnering For Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development 24th April 2013, United Nations Headquarters, New York

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President of ECOSOC: H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio opens proceeding’s by paying thanks to the contribution made by individuals with innovative ideas, work and recommendations. Highlights the complex issues which lie ahead, but this leaves so much room for innovative ideas and suggestions. There are many ways in which we need to actively advance the Millennium Development goals.

Ban Ki-moon spoke about the event and paid tribute to the dedication and hard work of all those involved with alleviating the pressure of poverty and social disadvantage.”This is a special ECOSOC event”, stated an optimistic Secretary General. Dr. Mo Ibrahim given special thanks for his innovation and leadership in Africa and indeed globally.”We need to continue working together, important targets have already been met, poverty has already been cut in half, but there are still very real and troubling issues which need to be addressed”. Capturing the full potential of partnership will be paramount to the success of the World Development Goals with more than 70 countries are  already on board with over $50 billion pledged. “We have a tremendous start, stated the Secretary General.

Further Points made;

  • Bringing together talent, research and partnership to strengthen our past work and upcoming work –need to capture the full potential for partnership at country level and internationally, we need to harness the individuals innovation.

Dr. Mo Ibrahim

  • Government on their own can no longer deliver all of the essentials
  • “The achievements of the millennium development goals are the responsibility of the governments of each country. Governments must buy in”.
  • Achievement must be measured, forget speech writers, what we need to focus on is the numbers. What are the bare statistics of each area i.e., water, roads, jobs and infrastructure.
  • Forget about the bureaucrats who don’t fully understand what the situation is, speak to the people on the ground, forget about the talking behind big desks.

H.E. Mr. Christian Friis Bach, Minister for Dev. Cooperation, Denmark

  • Better partnerships globally, better and more efficient infrastructure
  • Utilizing and increasing the green social environment scene, we need more Eco friendly energy sources.
  • The need to leverage public funding and investment

Ms. Doreen Lorenzo reiterates the same points as above –

 Dr. Klaus M. Leisinger

  • People need our support; there is not the same reality on the ground. We should be talking here, that’s good, but we must remember why we are here and that reason should directly affect the individuals involved after this conference.
  • Technology has a serious role to play in the advancement of mankind and the successful overthrow of poverty
  • What really made the difference- “Corporations, these gave the trust and the willingness to participate”.

– By Wayne Dean Doyle