The Latest discussion on Humanitarian Affairs in ECOSOC at the United Nations

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The Humanitarian Affairs Segment provides an important forum for discussing the activities and issues related to strengthening the coordination of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. The focus of this report is on the opening of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment where Member States provided their respective positions.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi stated that together we could identify ways to strengthen our collective response to the humanitarian challenges facing us today. H.E emphasised that every crisis is different and thus its context should determine the nature of assistance. Following Ms. Valerie Amos highlighted the security situation in different parts of the world: the Middle East and Africa have witnessed the displacement of millions of people; inter-communal violence in Myanmar and Philippines have killed and displaced several thousand people; and the largest number of refugees are in Afghanistan. She acknowledged and appreciated the generous funding of the member states in 2013 towards response plans and complimentary humanitarian action.

A representative from Bolivia then delivered its statement on behalf of Group of 77 and China. In its statement they declared that special attention should be paid to the guiding principles of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States, which should remain the overarching parameters in all efforts for coordination of humanitarian assistance. Ireland stated that inter-communal and ethnic violence are the outcome of years and indeed decades of endemic poverty, under-development, weak democratic institutions and neglect by the international community. Furthermore, Ireland stressed on the protection and gender based violence to be a crucial objective in humanitarian assistance.

Switzerland introduced three points of debate: question of efficiency of humanitarian aid; questions of protection of victims in armed conflicts; and wanted to question the current humanitarian assistance model. Canada, then stated that they remain committed to working with their humanitarian partners to provide life saving and effective assistance to affected populations, collectively improve their capacity to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities, as well as to ensure coherence in humanitarian and development efforts, in order to achieve lasting and sustainable results.

Meeting Title: Humanitarian Affairs Segment
Speakers: His Excellency Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Ingrid Sabja, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Mr. Tim Mawe, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland; Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Head of Switzerland Humanitarian Aid Department; Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York.
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

UN organizations address the 13th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The seventh meeting for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues facilitated a comprehensive dialogue from United Nations organisations on their progress in promoting the rights of indigenous persons with responses from Permanent members of the forum. Interventions from many UN bodies revolved around three major issue areas; the full participation of indigenous persons in their right to self-determination, ‘free, prior and informed consent’ in regards to Indigenous land rights, and the sufficient funding of organisations for long term protection of indigenous rights.

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Denmark, Bolivia, UNDP, IFAD, and the IFC all directly addressed concerns that governments are favoring the demands of the private mining industry and the sustainable development of our natural resources requires the collaborative consultation of indigenous persons. The African Caucus recognized that natural resources are usually extracted from heritage sites with unique and spiritual ties to indigenous traditions and ancestry. Therefore it is of paramount importance that indigenous persons be involved in the decisions directly affecting their sacred land.

UNECSO and FAO demonstrated that indigenous people have a unique understanding of the sustainability and protection of their environments through systems such as pastoral farming, which could enable a more resilient response to climate change for our fragile ecosystems. The IFAD, ILO and permanent member of the forum Joseph Goko Mutangah insisted that the United Nations should be capturing the wealth of agricultural, medicinal and ecological innovations that indigenous traditions encompass.

Representative of the American Indian Alliance and chairperson of the forum Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, expressed concerns that the United Nations organisations are only authorised to serve indigenous persons from developing countries. Statistics demonstrate that indigenous persons are equally marginalised in both developing and developed nations. They called for a revision of the policy to allow indigenous persons in all countries access to the United Nations’ agencies and funds.

Meeting Title: 7th meeting – Comprehensive dialogue with United Nations agencies and funds
Speakers: Chairperson Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Permanent members of the forum Gervais Nzoa, Joan Garling, Kara-Kys Arakchaa, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Miriam Wallet Aboubakrine, Maria Eugenia Choque Quispe, Joseph Goko Mutangah, Raja Devasish Roy
Representatives on behalf of organizations; UNICEF, FAO, ILO, IFAD, UNDP, IFC, UNESCO, World Bank, Ministry of foreign affairs Denmark, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, the African Caucus, Indigenous Parliamentarians, Alliance of Indigenous women of Central America and Mexico, WIPO (New York), Central & Eastern Europe, Russian federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, Bolivia, and the American Indian Law alliance
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 15 May 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

 

OWG for Sustainable Development Goals: Focus Areas 15 & 16

Focus Area 15: Means of implementation/Global partnership for sustainable development 

Focus area 16: Peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions

H.E. the Ambassador of Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China acknowledged that the implementation process of the SDGs would determine the success of the program. The G77 delegates reiterated their support of Bolivia’s statement that the MDGs were weakened by the ill-defined implementation programs, particularly for the 8th MDG, and therefore action-orientated targets are key to maximising outcomes.

Delegates commonly asked that focus area 15 address; the removal of tariff boundaries, debt relief, market and trade access, prevention of elicit arms trade and human trafficking. H.E. the Ambassador of Denmark, Ambassador of Switzerland and representatives on behalf of Norway, Germany, France, and Australia, affirmed the need to engage with civil society, media and private sectors alongside multiple levels of governance for successful implementation worldwide.

State ambassadors and those representing the G77, Caricom, and the Non-aligned Movement have emphasised the role of peace as indispensable to the achievement of sustainable development for all states. In particular, H.E. the Ambassador of Croatia, focused on Croatia’s recent experience of war and corrupt governance, which has cemented their firm believe that factors of Sustainable Development are lead by safety, freedom of speech, inclusiveness, and institutions that are both accountable and capable.

Representative of Zimbabwe who spoke on behalf of the Southern African Counties expressed that the primary focus should instead be on the eradication of poverty, which would, in turn, provide peace to states. Representatives of Denmark, Egypt, Cuba and Brazil shared their concerns for inclusive societies and rule of law as a whole focus area and consider instead mainstreaming these targets throughout the paper amongst other focus areas.

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Meeting Title: Eleventh session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (9th meeting: Focus Areas 15 and 16)

Key Speakers:Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Hungary Csaba Kőrösi, Co-Chair H.E. Ambassador of Kenya Macharia Kamau and delegates on behalf of: Bolivia, China, Barbados, Iran, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Lesotho, Colombia, Guatemala, Nauru, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Australia, United States, Canada, Romania, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Sweden, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Singapore, Palau, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Latvia, Austria, Portugal, Cuba, Morocco, Egypt, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, India and Vanuatu

Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Date: May 9th 2014

Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark