Second Committee discusses: Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly

2-new2The second agenda of the Second Committee was ‘Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly’. The representative of the European Union and Member States, stated all countries and partners need to work together to ensure that the work of the Second Committee that runs parallel to intergovernmental processes is not duplicated or that the negotiations are not pre-empted. They believe that the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be included in the agenda of the Second Committee. Therefore it should guide the Second Committee to rationalize and streamline their agenda. Next the representative of the United States of America supported the efforts to streamline the number of resolutions by combining related topics in specific clusters. The representative of Canada stated that in cases where broader discussions on biennialization or triennialization of resolutions or restricting of existing agenda items is required, it should be held off until the conclusion of the post-2015 discussion.

Meeting Title: Second Committee: Sixth Meeting
Date: 9 October 2014
Location:  Conference room 2, United Nations HQ, New York.
Written by WIT Representative– Aslesha Kaur Dhillon

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 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Post-2015 Agenda

crpdTo fully implement and incorporate the provision of the Convention is indeed a long term process; it requires active cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders, national and local authorities.  The United Nations called on Member States to review the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to exchange related experiences and achievements. Representative of Saudi Arabia started off introducing its specialized agency called ‘’Saudi Human Rights Commission” (SHRC), which monitors the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and raises awareness on these rights. He reaffirmed the importance of strengthening international cooperation in order to optimize the benefits of persons with disabilities, enhances their self-confidence, and achieves their full partnership in their societies without any discrimination.

Similarly, Romania recently launched a new initiative called COMBAT – Counselling, employment Opportunities, changing Mentalities; eliminate Barriers, Accessibility and Training. This allows the persons with disabilities to contribute to the professional development, so as to create and consolidate a strong motivation for training and integration in the labour market. Canada also demonstrated a solid record on disability-inclusive laws, policies and initiatives to reduce barriers for persons with disabilities.

To promote inclusion and respect for diversity for all, Canada suggested a new development framework – prioritize poverty eradication and address the most marginalized first. Canada does invest on persons with disabilities, which mainly focuses on traditional health interventions, as well as inclusive education, community-based rehabilitation and access to employment. Speaking about inclusion, the first ever Iranian female gold medallist in Paralympics, Zahra Nemati was present at the meeting today. Representative of Iran shared Zahra’s story, she competed in Taekwondo before her paralysis. Her story not only inspires women and girls in Iran, but also all around the world. “Hope is the torch of life, never surrender to obstacles”, she said.

Meeting Title: Incorporating the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda
Speakers: Representative of Saudi Arabia; Representative of Romania; Representative of Canada; Representative of Iran; Representative of Qatar; Representative of Chile; Representative of Nicaragua
Location: United Nations HQ, Conference Room 4
Date: 11 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong

Renewing the UN Development system

6365386329_f24a5e7976_zThe Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation has released a document with recommendations for a renewed UN development system, taking a determined step towards an effective 2015 agenda. Bruce Jenks discussed, in depth, that conditions of international affairs have dramatically changed in the last decade into a complex network of stakeholders including civil society, private companies and State leaders. Therefore the UN must adjust and innovatively restructure their operations to match the changing international sphere. The post 2015 agenda is a high profile moment for the world to participate in constructing a renewed vision for the UN into the future.

H.E. Ambassador of Sweden explained that the post 2015 agenda is a chance to transform global policies, norms and incorporate new public goods providers. H.E. the Ambassador of Ethiopia stressed that low-income developing nations continue to be in desperate need of UN financial and development support. H.E. confirmed that leaders of the African nations have consolidated common agendas including a critical focus on domestic financing. Geographically the African region continues to be the most vulnerable to poverty and therefore the upcoming months will be a critical transition period towards strategies to lift these communities out of poverty.

The Vietnamese representative for the organization ‘UN-Women’ emphasized the strong need for leadership in any form of successful UN reform, and a secure commitment from all development partners. John Hendra explained that the document recommended a horizontal, multidimensional approach to encompass the community in a rights based agenda. Representative of the Korean mission insisted that any transformative agenda depends on the civil society engagement; while member states vote and debate where the agenda will fall there has to be the sense the world is watching and States have expectations to live up to. It is clear that at this significant turning point the UN has to adapt in this changing world to continue its effective development programs.

Meeting Title: Core elements of reform for the United Nations Development System
Speakers: Annika Soder on behalf of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, H.E. Ambassador of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador of Sweden, representative of UN-Women Vietnam, Bruce Jenks, John Hendra, representative of the Royal academy of Science and International trust and from the missions from; Canada, Ireland and Korea
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 19 May 2014
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

Financing the Sustainable Development Agenda

Ecology_Society_Economy_diagram_Environment_backgroundCo-Chairs, H.E. the Ambassador of Kenya and H.E. the Ambassador of Hungary, gave a brief summary of the progress from the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, and the way forward leading up to mid-august when the proposal will be given to the attention of the secretary general. The committee’s major concern is quantifying needs across all three areas of Sustainable development especially the social and environmental elements. Quantifying the financial need of socio-climates amounts to an immense task however H.E. the Ambassador of Kenya was confident the committee would be able to reach a consensus on an effective financial document and policy implementation in the near future.

Co-Chair H.E. the Ambassador of Hungary expressed his belief that previous funding towards sustainable development neglected the private sector and for the most effective policies the international system should combine public and private assets. The private sector now has a much stronger role in the international trading system especially in states that have show substantive economic improvement such as China, India and Brazil. H.E. emphasized the role of private trade as a means of providing employment opportunities, new industries and income tax to developing and developed states.

H.E. Ambassador of Kenya reflected on the effective dialogues shared in Latin America and Africa. These ESCA organized outreach efforts provide platforms for discussion between states, stakeholders and regional experts. The meetings are an effort to reach out for feedback and to facilitate regional input for a holistic financial network in support of sustainable development. These outreach programs will next meet for discussion on finances from the Asian and Pacific region.

The Co-Chairs anticipate that the committee’s dynamic work will amount to concrete actionable policies for the long term funding of sustainable development incorporating state leaders, private funders and civil societies.

 

Meeting Title:Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (Fourth Session) – Open briefing on the progress of the Committee’s work by the co-chairs
Speakers: Co-Chairs; H.E. Ambassador of Kenya and H.E. Ambassador of Hungary, as well as questions from H.E. Ambassador of Singapore, Norbert Kloppenburg, Canada, Switzerland and Djibouti
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 16 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