Conclusion of Second Committee’s General Debate

image18_866The Second Committee continued and concluded the general debate. The representative of Bulgaria focused on the lack of participation of young people in the decision-making process. Bulgaria called for an inclusive post-2015 development agenda based on human rights. Next the representative of Fiji stated that a robust implementation of the post 2015 development agenda would only be as meaningful for SIDS, if a cohesive financing development structure focusing on the special needs of SIDS is implemented.

The representative of Jordan stated that eradication of poverty should be the core of the post-2015 development agenda. The representative of Liberia stated that the Ebola pandemic in the Mano River Union Basin have tested the fragility of their post conflict economies and disrupted their agriculture and other revenue generation activities.

Next the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlighted that the ‘State of Food Insecurity’ (SOFI) report showed that approximately 805 million people were estimated to be chronically undernourished in 2012–14, down by 100 million over the decade: demonstrating that the hunger target of the Millennium Development Goal is within reach. FAO also stressed on the need to invest in adequate social protection mechanisms, including nutrition-sensitive safety net programmes, to promote sustainable and inclusive development.

Finally the representative of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stressed the critical connection between reducing disaster risk and ensuring poverty eradication and humanitarian and development interventions.

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

Water Scarcity and Management in Critical Condition

A panel of experts provided vital information on the critical issue of water management and sustainability in today’s NGO-led briefing. Talking about water conservation, Sharon Megdal said that we should not only discuss technological solutions but we should think about ways in which individuals and smaller organizations can conserve water. The issues of persuasion and education, she said, especially the education of youth are important. Youth are an opportunity for the future, she emphasized. She also said that cooperation between states is the way forward for the water issue.

ImageMr. Lipchin explained the concept of chronic water scarcity. He said that the ability to meet basic needs for water and sanitation is below 500m3/capita/year. While noting that the Middle East is a region of water scarcity, he said that Israel, Jordan and Palestine are all below this threshold. Israel has been able to meet an increasing demand for water through desalination and treatment of waste water for agricultural use. Initially the idea of using treated waste water was thought to have an impact on crop yield due to the low quality of water. However, Mr. Lipchin said that there has been an increase in crop yield. He also highlighted a challenge that Israel and its neighbors face. Almost everything in the region in terms of water is transboundary. The Arab institute is trying to address this issue cooperatively, solving not only Israel’s problems but also of its neighbors, including Palestine and Jordan.

Mr. Siegel shed light on drip irrigation, a process invented by Israel. In drip irrigation, water is dripped on the roots and the rest of the field does not get irrigated because it is of no value. 75% of all irrigated fields in Israel use it. It improves the crop yield and addresses the issues of food security, carbon footprint, water scarcity and gender issues.

 

Meeting Title: Every Drop of Water Makes A Difference
Speakers: Joseph Hess, JNF Vice President, Government Relations; Sharon B. Megdal, PhD., Director, Water Resources Research Center, The University of Arizona; Clive Lipchin, PhD., Director, Center for Transboundary Water Management, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Seth M. Siegel, J.D., Co-founder of Beanstalk, Sixpoint Partners and Vringo, and writer on water issues.
Date: 19 June 2014
Location: Conference Room 4 (NLB), UN Headquarters New York
Written by WIT Representative: Shan Cheema
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

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