International Year of the Family

arton3606The meeting began by Ms. Yang’s introduction of the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the objectives of the International Year of the Family and its follow-up processes. She explained the strong correlation between family policies and sustainable development, with an emphasis on the way in which poverty reduction can be facilitated as a result of formulating sustainable family policies.

In enlisting members’ support of the resolution concluded in the report outlining the outcome of the 54th Session of the Commission, Mr. Jinga introduced the deliberations result and thus the resolutions that contain states’ action on the recommendations presented. He also stressed that the political guidance provided by the Commission is crucial to eliminate poverty at 2030 by leaving no one behind. Further, he expressed his concern that in the midst of globalization, technological advancement and social development – drivers of inequalities that are continuingly growing, it is important for relevant stakeholders (civil society, academia, nation states and private sector) to clearly identify different inequalities and their drivers by including vulnerable and marginalized group in policy formulation, therefore translating commitment into result by 2030 under the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

To add-on the discussion on alleviating gender inequalities, the Representative of Mexico cited the amendment of it’s own constitution by avoiding discriminatory languages in classifying people with different gender and sexual orientation, therefore creating an equal society – a successful move that could be taken reference of.

The Commission concluded the meeting by approving three draft resolutions as outlined by the said report for the adoption by ECOSOC with one on the Commission’s future organization and working methodology, another on social dimensions of the new partnership for Africa’s development, followed by the last one on strengthening social development in the contemporary world. Whilst the first and the last resolutions were endorsed unanimously by consensus, a rare vote was required by member states on the second one, with a vote of 26 in favour, 16 against, with no abstentions. A point observed by the writer is that those in favour are predominantly developing countries whilst naysayers are mostly developed ones like Japan.

The meeting was then adjourned, and would be resumed on 3th June, 2016 at 10:00 with follow-ups that include but not limited to questions related to international cooperation on economic and environmental issues.

Meeting: The 28th Meeting of Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Social and human rights questions: Social development, Session 2016

Date/Time/Location: Thursday, 2 June, 2016; 15:30 – 18:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: His Excellency Mr. Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations; Former Chair of the Commission for Social Development of the Economic and Social Council, Ms. Wenyan Yang, Chief of Social Perspective on Development Branch, United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development, President of the Meeting, Representative of Mexico

Written by:  WIT Representative, Raphael LEUNG

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

 

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

Enacting Gender Equality Legislation

 

 

The event was hosted by the IPU and UN Women to highlight the important role of parliamentarians in ending discriminatory laws and implementing legislations that promote gender equality within countries. Recalling both the 1995 Beijing world conference and the ratification by 189 states of the CEDAW, importance was placed upon the urgency of finally realizing gender equality. As Ms. Mensah-Williams noted, it is time that parliaments ensure that women empowerment is both protected as well as promoted throughout their legislation. Parliaments must become gender-sensitive entities. “Let us complete the unfinished business of women empowerment. It can no longer be business as usual.”

Mr. Glemarec noted that only through the attainment of gender equality can a sustainable future be reached. Parliaments can ease this process through passing/reforming legislation, voicing concerns of their constituents, ensuring that gender laws are adequately financed, and holding their governments accountable.

Mr. Claros explained that the World Bank has surveyed through constitutions to examine how countries use their laws to discriminate against women. Of the 173 countries surveyed, only 18 of them had laws across all areas that did not discriminate in some way. Ms. Duncan, shared the launching of a new UN Women database that lists gender equality provisions in constitutions across 195 countries: constitutions.unwomen.org/en.

Ms. Emaase said that KEWOPA has managed to pass and repeal legislation in a male-dominant parliament through lobbying, advocacy, and collaboration. Through the creation of the 2010 Kenyan constitution, KEWOPA has also gained greater voice in parliament.

Mr. Chauvel further highlighted the importance of supervising the gathering of data and statistics at the national level. In achieving the SDGs, it must be ensured that no one is left behind in data reporting. He urged that the economic situation of women be considered holistically and not be compartmentalized.

Meeting: “The Power of Legislation for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development.”

Date/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians; Mr. Y. Glemarec, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, UN Women; Ms. Y. Hayashi, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Mr. A. Lopez Claros, Director, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics, World Bank Group; Ms. Y. Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now; Ms. B. Duncan, Justice and Constitutional Advisor, Leadership and Governance, UN Women; Ms. M.O. Emaase, Member of the National Assembly (Kenya); Mr. C. Chauvel, Team Leader, Inclusive Political Processes, Bureau for Policy and Programmes Support, UNDP

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Giant Leaps for Women-Kind

The 60th Commission on the Status of Women held its first ever youth forum today. Importance was placed on training a new generation of youth to become leaders. This generation will include young women, but also men who will be allies in initiatives such as “HeforShe.”

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka noted that an alliance has been struck between women and youth with the potential to change the world. Currently, women are found globally at the bottom of economic ladders and it is thus crucial for Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda to be met. It is young women who must take charge of the agenda for change to be actualized. The agenda does not call for baby steps, it calls for giant leaps.

Next, Mr. Alhendawi stressed the importance of youth inclusion in UN discussions. It is time we make noise and make it be known that we can no longer just do business as usual. We must take big steps towards protecting gender equality. SDG #5 is at the heart of all we do.

Mr. Karkara noted that we are about to transform the world. Year 2015 was a giant leap for women, year 2016 will be a great leap for young women-kind. It is time for young women to take their destinies within their own hands. With the advent of the “LEAP’s” framework of Leadership, Economic Empowerment, Action, Participation, Partnerships, and Inter-generational participation, both young men and women can be empowered as allies to achieve gender equality.

Ms. Banerjee further evoked the promising future of the 2030 SDG’s. Unlike the MDG’s which sought improvement, the SDG’s will transform the world and leave no one behind. Equipped with 17 goals and 169 targets, young people must mobilize together to achieve Planet 5050 by the year 2030.

Meeting: “Youth Forum at the 60th Commission on Status of Women.”

Date/Location: 9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Friday, March 11, 2016; Salvation Army

Speakers: Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director; Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbodzvanda, Secretary General World YMCA; Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth; Ms. Anita Tiessen, CEO of WAGGGS; Mr. Ravi Karkara, Senior Advisor Strategic Partnership and Advocacy UN Women; Ms. Lopa Banerjee, Representative of the UN Women

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: 盘磬

Taking Steps to End AIDS by 2030

http://images.aidsmap.com/v634770091686170000/file/1052488/resize/w386~r0~f0/212_global_aids_funding.png

Today, there was a meeting on the modalities and organizational arrangements of HIV/AIDS, held by the General Assembly. The Co-Facilitator began with a statement on the necessity to find common ground in Paris by the 4th of December. Next, the meeting was decided to be titled as Organization of 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. The following conclusions were made throughout the meeting: PP3, which is a proposal to determine the modalities by December 2015; PP5, which is welcoming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, emphasizing its other goals and targets of the Agenda; PP4bis, proposed by Africa Group, was recognized to support that AIDS remains an urgent global health and development challenge and the persistent challenges in the fight against this disease.

It was requested that the President of the General Assembly finalize the organizational arrangements for this meeting and draw a list of relevant civil society, private sectors, and academic institutions and NGOs who may participate in this meeting by March 2016. According to the World Health Organization, HIV currently affects almost 78 million people, with 39 million deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, and 37 million people living with HIV by the end of 2013. As the disease progresses, the committee invited intergovernmental organizations and entities and non-governmental members of the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint Programme to participate and consider initiatives in support of the discussions and outcomes. Various alterations were made in the wording of the texts of the proposals, some statements being made by the United States, the European Union, and Canada, to clarify the goals being presented by the Organization. With the resolutions made today, the Organization hopes to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Meeting: High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Date/Location: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015; 10:00-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-Facilitator of the Economic and Social Council Chamber for the Organization of the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Prevention Is Better Than A Cure: Making Global Crises Less Risky

Hands Holding a Small Globe --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The meeting opened by asking what lessons have been learned and what actions can be taken regarding successful crisis mitigation.

Ms. Kaffa-Jackou spoke about her country Niger, which is a landlocked and least-developed country where 75% of it is desert. This leaves a region that is subject to recurring droughts, growing terrorist activity, and epidemics. One successful program started in Niger is the 3N initiative which not only bolsters early warning mechanisms towards climate change and food insecurity, but also establishes dedicated productive agriculture among farmers to later distribute to other Nigerians in need. This involves also teaching farmers in most affected areas of desertification to improve the quality of soil and prevent disease. They have also started to use drip crops using irrigation systems.

Mr. Waglé focused on the systemic problems. For example, in Nepal, six months after the earthquake, not one dollar of contributed aid had been applied towards recovery. An effective risk management system at the national and global levels needs to be established, along with the balance between preparation and coping. The distinction between development aid and restoration aid should be more blurred, as many restoration projects will take years, and thus become part of the country’s development.

Mr. Anthony gave a presentation about CCRIF’s successful crisis mitigation model for the Caribbean, which has been copied in other areas of the world. It has provided parametric insurance for Caribbean governments which has been able to consistently make payment of financial liquidity within 14 days after a catastrophe. It would be terrific to have one ultra-viable organization that has been renamed to pool risk across the world.

The speakers from the LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDs expounded on the many dangers their countries are facing. Mr. Sareer said one “cannot think of disaster reduction separately from climate change.”

Meeting: Panel discussion on “A crisis mitigation and resilience building mechanism for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States”

Date/Location: Friday, October 29, 2015; 10:00-13:00, Conference Room 2

Speakers: Chaired by Ms. Chantal Uwizera (Rwanda), Rapporteur of the Second Committee Moderator; Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; Her Excellency Rakiatou Christelle Kaffa-Jackou, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigerian Abroad, Republic of Niger; Mr. Swarnim Waglé, former Member of the National Planning Commission, Nepal; Mr. Isaac Anthony, Chief Executive Officer, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF); His Excellency Abulkalam Abdul Momen (Bangladesh), Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries; Her Excellency Mwaba Patricia Kasese-Bota (Zambia), Chair of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries; His Excellency Ahmed Sareer (Maldives), Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States

Written by: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: http://laurazera.com/speaking/

Sustainable Air Capabilities in the United Nations Field Operations: The National Response

++ MedevacMr. Nebrat opened the meeting with a video demonstrating the effectiveness and durability in challenging environments of the Sky Transformer, an advanced Ukrainian rescue helicopter. One Sky Transformer can substitute for up to four regular helicopters, making it an environmentally conscious form of air support. Due to the long-range surveillance capabilities of the helicopter, reaction can be more immediate, and threats can be identified and assessed more quickly. Night vision capabilities allow search and rescue teams to continue missions that squads aboard other helicopters without this technology would have to suspend. More lives that are presumably lost due to such suspension could be saved once this critical time window is opened. Also, on-board operators on the Sky Transformer are be responsible for analyzing data, allowing for more precise action. While explaining the technological advancements the helicopter showcases, Mr. Nebrat stressed capability-building and versatility as the most key operational tenets in providing sustainable air support to field operations.

Following this, Mr. Vasiliyev highlighted the main strengths of satellite communications. Satellite communications deliver real-time video more accurately and effectively with a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) component, which adds images to the transmitted audio and data. This also allows medical teleconferences, which permit direct, real-time contact between on-board medics and specialists at headquarters. Lastly, Ms. Popovska explained the medical perspective of these missions. One of the ultimate tasks of peacekeeping missions is saving lives, so immediate medical action is necessary to avoid casualties. Transportation issues can be solved by including a fully equipped medical complex within the helicopters. The configurations of the proposed medical complex allow for 24/7 intensive care, emergency medical evacuation, and diagnosis and treatment of the injured.

Meeting: Sustainable Air Capabilities in the United Nations Field Operations: The National Response
Date & Location: 16 April 2015, Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Andriy Nebrat, Commerical Director, Ukrainian Helicopters; Mr. Yuriy Vasiliyev. Deputy Head, Satellite Communications; Ms.Kateryna Popovska, Business Development Manager, Ukrainian Helicopters
Written By WIT Representative: Elise Freeman
Edited By WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Meeting on the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide

13604167335_0958c8da2b_bThis meeting commemorated the creation of the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide. Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson opened the panel by focusing discussion on developing tools to mobilize action.

Permanent Representative Gasana (Rwanda) stated that we are still witnessing major human rights violations in the Central African Republic, Sudan, Iraq, and Kenya that warrant our resolve. Though it is impressive to see the international community’s commitment since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Gasana believes that political will is lacking. Of course, in addition to political will, genocide prevention also requires civilian protection, warning systems, and swift, decisive action based on those warnings. Gasana believes that the current conflict-solving model, in which the Security Council manages genocide rather than preventing it, is problematic. He called upon the Security Council to collaborate more with the Special Office for the Prevention of Genocide.

Mr. Dieng stated that the statement “never again” is already a sign of failure: we must continue to take every effort to prevent what happened in 1994. Furthermore, he wanted everyone to refer to the “genocide in Rwanda” as the “genocide against Tutsi in Rwanda in which Hutu and others who opposed the genocide were killed.” Dieng acknowledged that genocides are not committed in a vacuum; there are usually warning signs. He challenged the international community to pick up on these early warnings of impending violence and immediately begin taking preventative action.

In the Q&A session, someone asked if an overly cautious approach, in which every human rights violation was deemed a genocide, would undermine the significance of the term ‘genocide.’ Eliasson responded that, rather than trying to distinguish ‘genocide candidates,’ we need to analyze each country’s risks on a case-by-case basis.

Meeting: Meeting on the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Manual on Human Rights and the Prevention of Genocide
Date & Location: 11 April 2015, Conference Room 11, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General; Eugène-Richard Gasana, Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations; Adama Dieng, UNSG Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide; Felice D. Gaer, Director of AJC’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; Roberta Cohen, non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo

United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport

Action_on_the_Ground_Peace_through_sport_540This meeting focused on incorporating sports into the work to achieve sustainable development goals. Mr. Ban Ki-moon addressed how sports can, “keep kids in school, promote leadership, encourage healthy lifestyles, and empower marginalized communities.” Mr. Kutesa emphasized that sports can teach young children about teamwork, leadership, fair-play, and resilience, stating that “sports have the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Dr. Bach discussed how the IOC has made a positive impact on the world by donating more than 90% of all its revenue to different sport organizations and players.

Sir Craven stated that sport is the antithesis of war, as it unites all types of people, improves self-discipline, and teaches fair-play. Mr. Donoghue discussed how sport will be harnessed over the next 15 years, with hopes that it will be possible to recognize the power of sport in sustainable development and peace in the post-2015 agenda. Ireland is a strong example of a country in which athletics, such as soccer and rugby, act as essential parts of society, economics, and culture.

Mr. Kim discussed the inclusive nature of sports to foster peace and dignity. He hopes that Gwangju Universiade 2015 will have positive impacts worldwide. Ms. Ruggiero explained how sports can impact women and minority groups–they can help women confidently take control of their own well being, and can also help integrate different socially excluded groups back into their communities.

Dr. Blauwet mentioned that sports can be used as a tool to empower the disabled population as well as to positively stimulate economies, as seen in Beijing and Sochi. Ms. King delivered a powerful discussing the idea that access to sport equates to empowerment, which in turn can bring about powerful change. Ms. Farrell, an advocate for sport development and peace, closed by reiterating that leaders developed today are the footsteps to the the future of tomorrow.

Meeting: United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport
Date & Location: 15 April 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary- General; H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly; Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee; H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, CO-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda; Mr. Angela Ruggiero, Olympic gold medalist, Member of the International Olympic Committee; Dr. Cheri Blauwet, Paralympic gold medalist, CHairperson of the Medical Committee of the International Paralympic Committee; Ms. Billie Jean King, Former no. 1 tennis player and advocate for gender equality; Ms. Asha Farrell, youth coach, A Ganar, Barbados
Written By WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Achieving Sustainable Development Through Employment Creation and Decent Work for All

SustainableDevelopment112614This meeting focused on the idea that education systems, both in developing countries as well as developed ones, are not equipping their youth with the skills needed for all of the jobs in today’s work. As such, many speakers addressed the need to provide professional opportunities through entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, and skills development.

Mr. Prado stressed the need to invest in women as a form of economic growth, and Ms. Vazquez discussed her company, WEConnect International, which works to help educate women and businesses about market demands. When women have equal capacity to compete, they are able grow businesses and create jobs.

The U.S. Representative asked the panel how to address people with low entrepreneurial spirit, and whether technology does not benefit some people. To this, Vasquez answered that beyond some social safety nets, an individual must educate themselves in order to be valued in today’s labor force. Furthermore, she stated that poor, uneducated people do contribute to innovation through technology, as seen with self-taught solar technology engineers in rural India. An EU representative then asked how governments could promote apprenticeships and dual learning systems. Sims answered that the problem with apprenticeship programs lies in incentivizing employers.

On the topic of integration, a Representative of Trinidad and Tobago called for the creation of industries that would allow women to work at home with flexible hours and green enterprise policies. The Russian Federation’s Representative discussed how government assistance to graduates, in the form of apprenticeships and employment search aid, helped integrate them into the workforce.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council, 2015 Integration Segment, 19th meeting “Achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all”
Date & Location: April 1st, 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Antonio Prado, Deputy Executive Secretary, ECLAC (moderator); H.E. Ms. Omobola Johnson, Minister, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Nigeria and Chairperson of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD); Zachary Sims, Co-Founder and CEO of Codecademy; Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International; Ron Bruder, Founder of Education for Employment;
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Alis Yoo