Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: Meeting 390

The recent volatile situation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was brought to the floor from the Permanent Representative of the Observer State Palestine and the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Two recent events were the theme of the conversation. First, the recent “Nation State Law”  passed by the Israeli Knesset reaffirming Israel as fully the home of Jews and abolishing Arabic as an official language of Israel. Arabic was an official language for over 70 years.  This also comes after the contested US move of its  headquarters to Jerusalem months prior.

The next event was the recent attacks on the Bedouins. Mr.Mansour, representing Palestine shamed Israel for a law that bluntly discriminates and is moving Israel to a state of “apartheid.” He called on representatives of experienced apartheid states, Namibia and South Africa to weigh in on the Israeli abuse of Palestinians. The South African representative echoed the universal scar of colonization in many countries and applauded Egypt’s involvement which resulted in a ceasefire.  He stressed that more states need to get involved and one measure includes stopping illegal business transactions in Israeli settlements.

Also, hundreds of Palestinian children have been put in jail without a trial, as a clear human rights violation.  The representative of Venezuela repeated the need to accept Palestine as a UN Permanent Member.  Evidently, the unrest and lack of peace between Israel and Palestine is historic, and it will take the global community to finally decide to take feasible action to attempt to resolve this sensitive conflict.

Meeting​: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People – meeting 390

Date/Location​: Monday 23th July 2018; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 3, United
Nations Headquarters, New York.

Speakers​:

Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;

H.E. Dr. Riyad H. Mansour, Ambassador of Permanent Observer of the State of
Palestine to the United Nations;

H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United
Nations.

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

El Niño, A Continuing Global Threat

 

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In this session, the General Assembly discussed the environmental and socioeconomic effects of El Niño, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with extreme and dangerous impacts on global weather patterns. H.E Mr. Peter Thomson began and stated that El Niño has directly affected over 60 million people globally. The negative effects on communities worldwide have been profound, including malnutrition, waterborne diseases, and limitations to healthcare and educational resources. Additionally, he highlighted El Niño’s detriment to the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. In many cases, El Niño’s weather patterns have already undermined progress made since the SDGs were implemented in 2015. H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez brought attention to Peru’s exceptional vulnerability to natural disasters given its geography. As a result, Peru has instituted preventative measures and increased focus on risk management. He noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set clear global targets for disaster risk management.

The Representative of Ecuador added that the peak period of El Niño ended in May, however the economic impacts remain difficult to measure. He explained that El Niño has decreased harvest crop volumes, destroyed rural infrastructure, and increased food insecurity in the region. He emphasized the importance of the government prioritizing water accessibility. H.E. explained that water can be used for energy and agricultural irrigation as well as for drinking and sanitation. In addition to the federal government taking action, he acknowledged the importance of coordinating solutions with local governments to ensure the safety to all people in Ecuador. He urged other countries to adopt a proactive, rather than reactionary, approach to natural disaster, and stated that Ecuador’s early actions can save thousands of lives.

Meeting: Plenary Meeting, “Action-Oriented Recommendations to Address the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño Phenomenon,” (Item 13).

Date/Location: Wednesday, 2 November, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of Peru; Distinguished Representative of Ecuador

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Trends in Humanitarian Financing: do resources meet the needs?

UntitledHumanitarian crises and needs in 2013 was extraordinary, the level of international humanitarian response rose to a record high of US$22 billion. As crises developed or emerged over the year, the numbers of affected people fluctuated. In light of that, financial resources are increasingly stretched. At the United Nations panellists gathered to discuss and identify how resources can more effectively channelled in order to meet the needs of affected civilians.

H.E. Ambassador Nusseibeh commenced the meeting by highlighting 2012 as a year of “recurring disasters” during which there was a stark change in the number of high-level humanitarian crises in 2013. Millions of people were affected by various crises, which stretched international response and funding. In particular adversity in South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen affected hundreds of thousands of people and called for significant international humanitarian response.

Ms. Swithern emphasised that South Sudan and Syria now appear at the top of the list of nations in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This is due to the ongoing conflict driven crises in these respective countries. The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Turkey and Japan were the largest government donors in 2013. He stressed that even though the international humanitarian response has increased significantly, it is still not enough to fully meet the ever-growing global needs.

Mr. Strohmeyer briefly explained the importance of looking at various funding mechanisms and developing multi-year strategies as funding moves through chains of transaction in varying lengths and complexity. He also stated that in order to improve the effectiveness of resources, it is necessary to provide independent, transparent and accessible information.

It is clear that national and local NGOs form an essential part of the humanitarian response. Ms. Genel introduced a Turkey-based NGO ‘Support to Life’, which works internationally on humanitarian principles. Despite NGO assistance Ms. Genel emphasised that domestic government resources are substantial and should continue to be the key driver of long-term development.

Meeting Title: Trends in humanitarian financing: do resources meet the needs?
Speakers: Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations; Ms. Sophia Swithern, Programme Leader, Global Humanitarian Programme of Development Initiatives; Mr. Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief, Policy Development and Studies Branch (OCHA); Ms. Sema Genel, Director, Support to Life (Turkey)
Location: Conference Room C, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

UN Coordinated Emergency Response Fund in Humanitarian Situations

Today a meeting was held to discuss the use of the UN’s Coordinated Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in large-scale emergency situations. Beginning the meeting, Ms. Amos, the Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator, spoke about CERF’s response and effectiveness in Syria, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. She said the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is increasing, and that CERF needs to systematically leverage the limited amounts of funding it has in order for its response to have the greatest impact in conflict areas.

Following, Mr. Mogwanja from UNICEF gave a statement about CERF’s partnership with UNICEF, and how CERF makes humanitarian responses faster, more predictable, and more coordinated. Since its launch in 2006, CERF has helped to shine a light on otherwise ignored emergency situations.

UFE Round I 2014

Next, Mr. Moustapha, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), emphasized how CERF can help respond to large scale cross boarder emergencies, like the humanitarian crisis in the DRC and the Central African Republic. Mr. Moustapha praised CERF for its flexibility, and its ability to efficiently unite and focus acute relief efforts in grave humanitarian situations. However, he called for CERF funds to be allocated in a more fair and inclusive manner, and for there to be a more serious reporting system on its progress.

Concluding the meeting, Mr. Guterres from UNHCR spoke about how to deal with a dramatic rise in the need for CERF funding. Population growth, climate change, water scarcity, and food insecurity are contributing to global humanitarian crises. New ways of funding for humanitarian situations are gravely needed. Mr. Guterres concluded the meeting by emphasizing that overall CERF works well because it is not bureaucratic, has low transaction costs, clear rules, and is speedy in its response.

 

Meeting Title: Use of CERF in Large-Scale Emergencies
Speakers: Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF; Moustapha Soumare, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of Congo; Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Date: 24 June 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability

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Today an event was held which highlighted how environmental sustainability is an integral part in humanitarian aid effectiveness. The panelists in this meeting discussed the findings from a report entitled “Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability.”

The first speaker, Ms. Gebremedhin, the Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland, began by addressing various environmental issues that need to be taken into account during humanitarian action, in order for it to reach its full potential. For example, management of solid wastes and hazardous materials and safeguarding natural resources are essential, and the reduction of deforestation, desertification, and pollution is necessary for sustained livelihoods in the aftermath of a disaster. Furthermore, efficient leadership and accountability are needed in humanitarian situations, and addressing environmental concerns is a shared responsibility between donors and humanitarian organisations.

Following, Mr. Khalikov, Director of OCHA Geneva, stated the effectiveness of humanitarian aid is dependent on environmental conditions. He cited floods and draughts as main environmental threats that can complicate an already existing humanitarian crisis, like a famine or armed conflict.

Ms. Anita van Breda from WWF USA spoke about combining climate change adaptation strategies with disaster risk reduction. She highlighted the Green Recovery Program – a partnership between WWF and the American Red Cross –, which works to sustain livelihoods, provide adequate water, sanitation, and shelter, and deals with disaster management. Her three key recommendations to take the environment into consideration when taking humanitarian action included: updating academic training and professional development, learning to manage change and developing new ways of learning, and ensuring that staff and volunteers have the necessary discipline, skills, and aptitude.

Concluding the meeting Ms. Costa, the Executive Director of the Women’s Refugee Commission spoke about the threat faced by women and girls when they have to leave their refugee camps to collect firewood for cooking and heating. Many have to travel 5 or 6 hours a day to collect enough wood to cook just one meal, and on the journey are raped, beaten, or killed. Ms. Costa emphasised the importance of shifting communities away from dependence on wood fuel and towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable options in order to decrease the threat of this gender based violence and to reduce deforestation and resource overconsumption.

Meeting Title: Environment and Humanitarian Action: Increasing Effectiveness, Sustainability, and Accountability
Speakers: Ms. Anna Gebremedhin, Director of Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Affairs of Finland; Mr. Rashid Khalikov, Director of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva; MS. Anita van Breda, Director of Humanitarian Partnerships, WWF USA; Ms. Sarah Costa, Executive Director of Women’s Refugee Commission
Location: Conference Room 5 NLB, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark