International Leaders Discuss Bringing Agenda 2030 to Fruition

This meeting was held to discuss the creation of partnerships between various stakeholders and how they would benefit the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Lykketoft called for work between the public and private sectors, academia, and foundations in action for the Agenda 2030

Next, Ms. Kingo transitioned by encouraging companies and UN bodies alike to share available resources and collaboration to find new opportunities.

A statement from Ban-Ki Moon was read and it noted the need to move from commitment to action. Wide expertise was called for, as were the inter-linkages supported by the Agenda goals.

Mr. Mitchell spoke on how although there is a conception that business love risk, they ultimately crave stability with the hope of maintaining stakeholder relationships. He noted that it is extremely crucial for governments to establish infrastructure, maintain un-corrupt economics, and protect intellectual property. He also stated that it is crucial to foster economic development in other countries.

Ms. Marini spoke on how the first change that needs to be implemented for partnership development is transparency on the motives of all involved in the partnership. She also noted the need to shift towards putting the food of people first, effectively a shift towards human-centered design. She also touted that it is important to stop “think globally and act locally” to transition to “think locally and act locally”.

Meeting: “From commitments to results: Leveraging partnerships for the 2030 Agenda”

Date/Location: Thursday, March 31, 2016; 10:00-13:00 ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, President of the Economic and Social Council; H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly; Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations; Her Royal Highness Haya Al Hussein, UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson, International Humanitarian City; Mr. Richard Lui, Moderator, News Anchor, MSNBC; Ms. Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education; Ms. Peggy Dulany, Chair, Synergos; Mr. Michael Landau, Chairman, CTI Global; Ms. Mary Chege, Director, Development Finance International; Ms. Lise Kingo, Moderator, Executive Director, UN Global Compact; Mr. Scott Mitchell, President and CEO, Sumitomo Chemical America; Ms. Joy Marini, Executive Director, Johnson and Johnso;  Mr. Igor Runov, Under Secretary-General, International Road Transport Union (IRU);

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: Alex Margolick

Points of Ukraine: Putin’s Widening Grip

Vitaly Klitschko talks with pro-European integration protesters at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev.

Today, Ms. Holland began the panel discussion by introducing the agenda of the event, which concerned examining different perspectives on the continuing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.  Then, Mr. Karatnycky provided an overview of the history of the conflict and the potential obstacles that may impede a negotiated settlement to it.  He elaborated that though President Vladimir Putin is using hard tactics to maintain control over Crimea, he has triggered the latent sentiments of a large contingent of Russians and elites that never wanted Ukraine and Crimea to separate from Russia.  Additionally, he mentioned that the main problem regarding using diplomacy to end the conflict stems from Russia’s unwillingness to reach an agreement with Ukraine.

Next, Dr. Nikolayenko spoke of the effect of the conflict on the civil society and citizens of Ukraine.  She stated that with over 8,000 Russian soldiers present in Ukraine and 9,100 human casualties that have resulted in death, the conflict has led to a growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country and a slowdown of Ukraine’s economy.  Additionally, she mentioned that the Russian government’s influence over the Russian media has led to misrepresentations on the reporting of the conflict and swayed public support in President Putin’s favor.  Lastly, Ms. Arno talked about fleeing Russia after protesting President Putin’s inauguration in 2012 and the punishments other pro-democracy Russians face in the country due to their political views.  She also reinforced the idea that President Putin’s control over Russian media outlets have helped to build support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Additionally, she mentioned that the Free Russia Foundation that she founded seeks to give a voice to pro-democracy Russians and Ukrainians embroiled in the conflict.

Meeting: The Panel Discussion on “The Continuing Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine”

Date/Time/Location: Monday, April 18, 2016; 18:00 – 20:00; New York University (NYU) School of Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 210

Speakers: Ms. Mary Holland, Moderator and Director of the Graduate Lawyering Program at New York University (NYU) School of Law; Mr. Adrian Karatnycky, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Ukraine in Europe Program at the Atlantic Council; Dr. Olena Nikolayenko, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University; Ms. Natalia Arno, President and Founder of the Free Russia Foundation (FRF)  

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo: Reuters

Security Council Meeting on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria

The Security Council Chamber held its 7659th meeting. The meeting was on the
adoption of the agenda regarding the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the
Congo Report of the Secretary-General. The council voted on the draft of the resolution,
and it received 15 votes in favor. Thus, the draft had been adopted unanimously.

The President of the Security Council then gave the floor to the representative of the
Democratic Republic of Congo. The representative first gave thanks to the delegation for
the knowledge and competence they had in this task. He discussed two issues: elections
and the fight against armed groups in the region. With regard to elections, he stated that
the country intends to run elections that are in line with the standard of the international
community. The representative noted that the government is pursuing the eradication of
armed groups to allow a peaceful life for its people. However, this can only be achieved
with the support of all countries in the region. In addition, the representative said we must recognize that noncooperation of countries in the region is a danger that could
compromise these efforts. After the representative gave his statement, the President adjourned the meeting.

Shortly after, the Security Council held its 7660th meeting on the adoption of the agenda regarding the situation in the Middle East. The President gave the floor to Mr. O’Brien, and he said that there has been much progress on humanitarian access in Syria. Since the beginning of the year, the UN has reached 150,000 people through convoys. However, he noted that this is only a first step to what is required. Humanitarian conditions remain dire, and there are still 4.6 million people who are in need of assistance. After the briefing from Mr. O’Brien, the President adjourned the meeting.

Meeting: Security Council: 7659th meeting; 7660th meeting

Date/Location: Wednesday March 30, 2016, 10:00 –10:30; Security Council

Chamber

Speakers: Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Mr. Stephen

O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief

Coordinator

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alexander Margolick

Photo Credit: Stan Honda/AF

To Embrace Autism Together

The conference was convened to discuss ways in which the global community can address autism through the SDGs.  As a panelist, H.E. Mr. Momen highlighted the importance of perceiving people with autism as individuals. We must accept their differences, for they are also human and thus have the same essential human rights. He further noted that there can be no talk of health without addressing mental health. Ms. Ban Soon-Taek stated that the equal participation of people with autism is required in order to create the inclusive societies laid out in the 2030 Agenda.

Ms. Wright reminded the assembly that 193 member states have voted to help the nearly 70 million people with autism. Through her organization’s initiative, Light it Up Blue, 147 countries have pledged to light their countries blue in dedication to the rights of people with autism. Starting with the Empire State building, 10 of the world’s tallest buildings would join the initiative and “go blue”. She further acknowledged the accomplishments of the coordinated Autism Speaks and WHO initiative: “Parent Skills Training for Caregivers of Children with Developmental Delays and Disorders”. The program delivers both parents and families with the skills needed for the management of developmental disorders such as autism. The goal is to empower families to take control.

Next, Dr. Nabarro claimed that effective development is one in which all people can participate in as much of life as possible. Thus, the treatment of autism must move beyond simply a health issue and enlist wider societal involvement. Dr. Shore shared his own experience as an autistic child and the ways in which his parents helped in his development and return to school. We must look at what a person with autism can do and move from awareness to acceptance and finally appreciation.

Meeting: “Addressing Autism: Strategies for the Global Community in Relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

Date/Location: April 1, 2016; 15:00-18:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN; H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the UN; H.E. Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of India to the UN; Ms. Ban Soon-Taek, Spouse of the UN Secretary-General; Ms. Suzane Wright, founder of Autism Speaks; Dr. Stephen Shore, Professor at Adelphi University in New York; Dr. David Nabarro; Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Closing the Digital Gender Gap

The final side event of the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women hosted a panel discussion on closing the digital gender gap. Ms. Riazi began the presentations by sharing her personal story about pursuing a career in STEM. She highlighted the issue of girls’ hesitations to join the field of technology, despite being avid users of it. Later, she cited multiple statistics on the value of having women in the workforce, particularly in technology. According to her, achieving an end to digital divide between men and women could add up to $12 trillion in economic growth.

Next, Mr. Garcia emphasized that better steps have to be taken to obtain clear data on Internet users and digital literacy. Effective data can lead to stronger public policies. Following, Mr. Musharakh shared what his country, the United Arab Emirates, has done to close the digital gender gap. Fifty-seven percent of women in UAE universities pursue STEM. They are encouraged to not only be users of technology, but also become content creators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Although UAE has been successful, Mr. Musharakh admitted that there is still much more to be done globally.

Ms. Lindsey introduced her Connected Women initiative, which will increase the proportion of women in the customer base by 2020. She also stated that women are willing to use up to 10% of their income on mobile ownership because it is a tool of empowerment. Finally, Ms. Ball wrapped up presentations by pointing out that mothers with access to technology would benefit their children and family.

Meeting: Technology Empowering Women: Closing the Digital Gender Gap to Achieve Agenda 2030

Date/Location: Thursday, 24 March 2016; Ex-Press Bar; UN Headquarters; NYC

Speakers: Gary Fowlie, Head of ITU Liaison Office to the UN (moderator); Atefeh Riazi, Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Information Technology Officer, UN Office of Information and Communications; Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the UN; Jamal Al Musharakh, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN; Dominica Lindsey, Senior Manager of Research Strategy & Evaluations GSMA Connected Living; Andrea Ball, Executive Director of American Mothers

Written By: WIT Representative Julianne Jeon

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Centro de Investigacion Para La Accion Feminina

The Disconnect Between Religion and Extremism

This meeting was held to discuss the issues surrounding extremism, particularly religious extremism.

Dr. Hamad started by noting political and economic improvements relate to the establishment of peace and increasing how long peace lasts.

Dr. Tangara mentioned how the enemy, in this case ISIS, is more sophisticated than many acknowledge. ISIS has taken to attacking societies by attacking their culture. Additionally, he stated that it is important to replace the ancient education that tends to have xenophobic ideals.

Mrs. Lodico commented on the importance of separation of state from religion, and of religion from state. She noted how the world lacks enlightenment, contributing to the number of jihadists. Finally, she discussed how social media has played a proliferating part in the spread of ISIS Propaganda. She said that they began with a single propaganda video, and since then their social media presence has only decreased. Additionally, she pointed out how Nazis never celebrated the genocides that they perpetrated, and yet ISIS has streamed their atrocities thanks to their access to social media. Finally, she stated that fights against ISIL needed to be holistic.

Dr. Durbak noted that Dr. Al-Suwaidi’s book exposed the exploitation of Islam by ISIS. She stated how individuals fell into ISIS as a result of issues in their environments, and pointed out how the uneven distribution of resources can lead to exploitation, powerlessness, and distress.

Reverend Dr. Thomas noted the similarities between some concept of mirages and the story of Jesus in the bible. He pointed out that in extremism, there is a disconnect between religion and reality, and noted that extremism is not confined to any particular region.

Meeting: Forum on “Extremism-A threat and a challenge that needs to be addressed”

Date/Location: Thursday, April 7, 2016; 10:00-12:00, Conference Room 8

Speakers: Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Secretary General, World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations; H.E. Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the UN; Mrs. Yvonne Lodico, Founder Grace Initiative, Former Director, UN Institute for Training and Research, NY; Dr. Christine Durbak, Chair and CEO World Information Transfer; Rev. Dr. Douglas Thomas, Adjunct Professor of Religion at Lincoln University, Oxford, Pennsylvania; H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)

Written By: WIT Representative Olivia Gong

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Valuing Women in Global Value Chains

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations held a side event on March 17th  during the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The side event focused on the role women play in global value chains, “the full range of activities that are required to bring a product from its conception, through its design, it’s sourced raw materials and intermediate inputs, its marketing, its distribution and its support to the final consumer.”

Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli moderated and opened the side event by expressing that global value chains offer women opportunities, yet present constraints. H.E. Anne Lammila listed priorities, such as stable democracies and the supporting of businesses in developing countries, when considering policy regarding the empowerment of women and global value chains. H.E. Lammila also expressed that although it is important to tackle issues concerning working conditions, international trade has increased employment for women, empowers women with better wages than traditional domestic work, and provides independence.

Following, Mr. Joakim Reiter shared UNCTAD’s gender sensitive lens. He reiterated that there are both pros and cons for women in global value chains, highlighting issues like the consolidation of farms, increased use of pesticides in commercial farming, and the lack of labor rights for women. Mr. Reiter detailed that in order to address these issues in global value chains, the “pandora’s box” of women’s issues must be opened. Next, Ms. Sheba Tejani shared her views about the impact of industrial upgrading, and its impact on gender inequality. She spoke of economic and social upgrading that must be done in global value chains. She used Kenya’s flower industry as an example of this.

Meeting: Trade and global value chains: how to address the gender dimension?

Date/Location: Thursday, March 17th, 2016; 11:30-12:45; Conference Room A, UN Headquarters, New York, New York

Speakers:  Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Section, and Gender Focal Point;  H.E. Anne Lammila, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women’s Issues and Gender Equality of Finland; Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD; Sheba Tejani, Assistant Professor, Political Economy, New School

Written By: WIT Representative Yume Murphy

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

The Female Antidote to Violent Extremism

The high-level event, co-hosted by the European Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in partnership with the United Nations, the United States, and Norway, sought to discuss women’s role in countering violent extremism (CVE). The event began with opening remarks, which lasted the greater portion of the event, chaired by Mr. Alistair Millar.

First, Ms. Mara Marinaki commended progress that has since been made surrounding the context and understanding in which women and violent extremism interact. Similarly, Dr. Sarah Sewall emphasized the need for advocacy and women’s empowerment. “Strong women are able to combat these neolithic visions,” Dr. Sewall explained. She also stressed the need to view women’s right, not as a tool or security policy, but as a goal in itself. Both Dr. Sewall and Ms. Tone Skogen, called for women’s involvement and voice in political processes. Mr. Weixiong Chen concluded the opening remarks with a well received statement reminding attendees that violent extremist groups do seek women, and to consider the motives that drive women to violent extremist groups.

A panel discussion followed which discussed strengthening women’s roles in countering violent extremism, protecting right from violent extremism, and a more cross cutting approach to reaching boys and men. Mr. Yannick Glemarec shared the Security Council’s Resolution 2242, which seeks to improve the implementation of its Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. Ms. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini stressed the need to frame CVE more positively. “All of our language is against something; what are we for? Extremists groups offer positive benefits and try to refraining social justice for their agenda, what is our side positive story?” she questioned. At the conclusion of the event, the Global Center and Hedayah announced a preview of their joint publication entitled, A Man’s World? Exploring the Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism.

Racial Bias Among Women

Today, there was a meeting co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Brazil and the United States Mission to the United Nations in commemoration of the International Decade for Persons of African Descent: Recognition, Justice, and Development. The welcoming remarks were made by Ambassador Duarte, who mentioned both the US and Brazil’s shared past of slavery, present of social challenges, and aspiration of ending gender discriminations. With young black women accounting for 80% of female homicide rates in Brazil, there needs to be a change in Brazilian policy. Ms. Butts moderated the panel discussion.

Ms. Alexander shared an excerpt from her poem about Venus Hottentot, a South African woman who moved to London to become an entertainer but instead became caged and characterized as a circus freak. She believes that one of the challenges for women of color is that identities have been so misdefined, existing under the shadow of stereotype — this historical imperative has affected her creative outlet and poetry.

Ms. Ribeiro spoke of her personal experience as a woman in academia who confronted a world that was entirely black, white, and eurocentric. Black culture and contributions are denied and never reflected on TV or academia. She stated, however, that new technology has made it possible for black women to have a presence on the Internet: she herself runs an online column. Ms. Sterling and Ms. Nascimento spoke of the need for movements to conjoin and to take an intersectional approach. In the last 10 years, there was a 10% decrease in homicides in white women and a 64% increase in black women. This shows that the policy against women in Brazil are not reaching black women, and these panelists were the voices that brought light to the necessity to make a change.

Meeting: Women of African Descent: Shaping Racial Identity

Date/Location: Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016; 13:15-14:30; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ambassador Carlos Duarte, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil; The Honorable Cassandra Q Butts, United States Mission; Elizabeth Alexander, Ford Foundation Director; Valdecir do Nascimento, Brazilian activist, Executive Coordinator of Odara – Black Woman Institute; Djamila Ribeiro, Brazilian Political Philosopher; Chery Sterling, Director of Black Studies, The City College of NY

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Rhee SC, & Lee SH (2010)

 

A Baseline for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Today’s meeting focused on why sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential to achieve the SDGs and gender equality. The moderator introduced the panel speakers and stated that NGLS is working hard to build support between the UN and civil societies.

The first speaker was Ms. Namasivayam, and she explained that SRHR is often vaguely understood and an overlooked component in development, yet its role is fundamental to achieving sustainable well-being for all. SRHR has two key components already captured in the SDGs: health and gender equality. She noted how access to health services is critical especially for low-income communities, and acts as a social leveler to reduce inequalities. She also said that fundamental freedoms such as who and when to marry enable autonomy and decision-making for women.

The second speaker was Ms. Nessa, and she explained the statistics behind the sexual and reproductive rights for context. 64% of women aged 20-24 are married before the age of 19, 31% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 already have one child, and 30.8% of school dropouts start an early sexual and reproductive role. She explained that one of the key challenges of SRHR is a lack of political will of the policy makers and executives.

Another notable speaker was Ms. David, and she discussed the sexual and reproductive health programs in the Philippines. She stated that there is weak implementation of such programs, as the Philippines is one of 2 countries in the world with no progress in MMR reduction. Abortion is illegal in the country, but estimates put the number of induced abortions at 600,000/year, resulting in 100,000 hospitalizations for abortion complications. However, she said that there is a growing demand among civil societies and the media for policy changes. After the panelist speakers, the floor was open for questions.

Meeting: Universal Access to SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights)

Date/Location: Wednesday March 23, 2016, 13:15 – 14:30, Conference Room 7

Speakers: Susan Alzner, UN-NGLS and moderator; Ms. Managala Namasivayam, Senior Programme Officer of ARROW; Ms. Habbibum Nessa, Naripokkho; Rina Jiminez David, member of board of directors at Likhaan; Dr. P. Balasubramanian, Rural Women’s Social Education Centre

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Jade Beall