Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

            The Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly gathered for this morning’s meeting “For the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA).” Delegates discussed the organization’s growing funding gap and raised questions regarding its future prospects.

            To begin, the President of the General Assembly, Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa, and the Secretary General, Mr. Antiónio Guterres, introduced the role of UNRWA in providing indispensable education, healthcare and food support for Palestinian refugees. Representing UNRWA, Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl summarized the social, psychological, and material benefits of operations in Palestine, and further affirmed that additional monetary contributions would be put towards ensuring greater stability and relief in this troubled region. The Presidents of the Gaza and West Bank UNRWA Student Parliaments were invited to share the experiences of children gaining from education provision. Their recounts of the security, empowerment and purpose that the organization guarantees were admirably poignant.

            Subsequently, delegates were invited to contribute their opinions regarding this issue. The efforts of UNRWA were overwhelmingly supported, as many nations pledged financial assistance to close the funding gap. The importance of stable and predictable funding were underscored, however, the settlement of a lasting peace was determined as a constant long-term goal towards which the United Nations should strive.

Meeting: Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Date/Location: Tuesday, 25 June, 2019; 10:00-13:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

H.E. Ms. María Fernanda Espinosa, President of General Assembly;

H.E. Mr. Antiónio Guterres, Secretary-General;

Mr. Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA);

Ms. Hanan Abu Sabe, President of West Bank UNRWA Student Parliament;

Mr. Hatem Handuna, President of Gaza UNRWA Student Parliament;

Interventions from Delegates

Written by: WIT Representative, Izabela Zawartka

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Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

Today’s morning gathering of the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment (UN Women) marked the commencement of the 2019 annual session to discuss the organization’s operations, administration, and progress over the last year.

The opening statement for the conference was delivered by the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director for UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka. Following the welcome of new senior staff members and Staff Council appointments, the major achievements of the organization were described in a review of the Annual Report. Moreover, Ms. Ngucka highlighted adjustments engendered by the UN reform, difficulty in guaranteeing stable funding, and the dissemination of resources as prominent challenges.

The agenda for the remainder of the Annual Session was then presented to delegates, who were subsequently invited to provide input through participation in a General Discussion. While comments reflected uniform support for the work of UN Women, representatives from member nations put forth recommendations for strengthened commitment to specific gender-related issues such as income security, disproportionate effects of climate change on women, and the possibility of heightened cooperation with men and boys. Further, the decentralization of operations through partnerships at the country level and continued collaboration with other UN organizations were urged to improve UN Women’s efficiency and effectiveness.

 

Meeting: Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Date/Location:Tuesday, 18 June, 2019; 10:00-13:00; Conference Room 3, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

H.E. Ms. Penelope Althea Beckles, President of UN Women;

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka, Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Women;

Mr. Jean-Luc Bories, Secretary of the Executive Board, UN Women;

H.E. Mrs. Katalin Annamária Bogyay, Vice President, UN Women;

Ms. Natalie Cohen, Vice President, UN Women;

H.E. Ms. Koki Muli Grignon, Vice President, UN Women;

Ms. Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director for Normative Support, UN System Coordination and Programme Results, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Women;

Interventions from Representatives

Written by: WIT Representative, Izabela Zawartka

Towards SDG 14.1 – Addressing Lost and Abandoned Fishing Gear at Scale

Entitled “Towards SDG 14.1 – Addressing Lost and Abandoned Fishing Gear at Scale,” a webinar was organized by the Global Ghost Gear Initiatives (GGGI) to deliver information regarding the ongoing battle against the degrading impact of deserted fishing gear on the world’s oceans. It featured presentations from Mr. Andreas Merkl from UNCOA on Marine Pollution, Mr. Pingguo He from FAO, and Mr. Ben Kneppers from Bureo, who introduced their work regarding the issue of Abandoned, Lost, and Discarded Fishing Gears (ALDFG).

The problem of oceanic pollution is becoming ever more pressing, necessitating the efforts and enhanced participation of international actors to formulate a consequential resolution. To begin the webinar, Ms. Ingrid Giskes explained how the GGGI, founded in 2014, contributes to the global environmental project by specifically targeting the elimination of harmful fishing materials known as “ghost gear.” Its innovative approach is divided among the Build Evidence, Define Best Practice and Inform Policy, and Catalyze and Replicate Solutions Working Groups.

Citing the first part Sustainable Development Goals 14 (SDG 14.1), to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, Mr. Pingguo He of the FAO identified issues of marine debris, ALDFG, and ghostfishing as prominent challenges of promoting the UN agenda. Efforts to require the marking of fishing gear to improve its traceability through the 2018 “FAO Voluntary Guidelines” were discussed, as Mr. He expounded how its implementation would facilitate states’ cooperation on the issue of ALDFG as well as illegal fishing and malpractice issues.

Two pilot projects concerning the marking of fishing gear have been carried out by FAO. The first one constituted of marking gear in a small-scale Indonesian gillnet fishery. It was part of a more holistic management approach, which included educational outreach and provided incentives for small-scale fishers to retrieve lost gear. Moreover, the organization encouraged regional harmonization through collecting stakeholders’ opinion on fish aggregating devices and promoting the advantages of these devices, such as the use of biodegradable materials.

In addition to the marking of abandoned fishing gears, Mr. Ben Kneppers from Bureo introduced his company’s model to eliminate fishing net pollution. Partnering with fisheries and local communities, in 2013, Bureo established a free program in Chile to collect and recycle abandoning fishing nets into premium products such as raw materials. This approach not only provides a solution for end-of-use fishing gear but also benefits local communities with employment opportunity and funding. Expansion of operations through the creation of the Net Positiva Program has increased this model’s reach and contribution to the solution of ALDFG.

In conclusion, the innovative and bold endeavors of organizations such as the GGGI, FAO, and Bureo are critical to fight oceanic deterioration. Hearing from the session’s featured speakers was an uplifting and motivating experience for all participants of the webinar.

Meeting: Towards SDG 14.1 – Addressing Lost and Abandoned Fishing Gear at Scale

Date/Location: Tuesday, June 18th, 2019; 13:00-14:00; Online Webinar

Speakers:

Ms. Keondra Bills Freemyn, International Government Relations Manager, Ocean Conservancy;

Ms. Ingrid Giskes, Acting Director of Global Ghost Gear Initiatives;

Mr. Andreas Merkl, Co-Focal Point of the UNCOA on Marine Pollution;

Mr. Pingguo He, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO);

Mr. Ben Kneppers, Co-Founder of Bureo

Written By: WIT Summer Interns 2019

 

The Security Council on the Situation in Mali

Meeting 8547 was convened by the United Nations Security Council in order to discuss the current situation in Mali. In particular, the council considered the political crisis facing the African nation, and discussed the June 9th massacre that took place in the central-Mali village of Sobanou-Kou, resulting in the deaths of at least 95 individuals.

Statements were made by the representatives of the member states of the council, all of which began with condolences to the government and people of Mali for the recent atrocities in their country. Member nations unanimously agreed that the perpetrators of the horrific acts needed to be brought to justice.

Representatives also discussed the status of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and heard comments from Annadif Khatir Mahamat Saleh, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of MINUSMA. The importance of the continued efforts of MINUSMA in stabilizing the situation in Mali was emphasized by all member states, all of which agreed that it would be best to extend the mandate of the mission. Nonetheless, it was underscored that the mission could not serve as a permanent solution to the crisis, and many representatives outlined steps that needed to be taken in order to move towards an enduring peace.

Meeting: Meeting 8547

Date/Location: June 12, 2019; 15:00-18:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

  • President of the United Nations Security Council, Representative of Kuwait to the UNSC;
  • Annadif Khatir Mahamat Saleh, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali;
  • H.E. Tiebile Drame, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali;
  • Representative of France to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of the United States to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Poland to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Côte d’Ivoire to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of China to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Germany to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Belgium to the United Nations Security Council;
  • Representative of Peru to the United Nations Security Council;

Written by: WIT Representative Jenifer Miller

Japan’s Implementation of the SDGs

The 2019 Forum for the implementation of the SDGs was organized by the Friends of the UN Asia Pacific and the World Federalist Movement Youth Forum. The purpose of the forum was to highlight Japanese initiatives that have, and continue to, promote the Sustainable Development Goals.

The discussion was divided into three sections: the promotion of SDGs at the municipal level, the promotion of women’s equality and empowerment in society at the workplace, and business and technology leadership. Speakers from two Japanese cities, Shizuoka and Sabae City, highlighted how their cities have integrated the SDGs into the daily lives of their citizens, with events such as a SDG week, a SDG middle school student summit, and a SDG high school summit in which they plan to hear the ideas of high school girls.

Moderator, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, consistently drew speakers’ speeches back to the importance of gender equality, without which, he emphasized, none of the other SDGs would be able to be accomplished. Multiple speakers stressed the presence of impostor syndrome, or the underestimation of one’s self and paying too much attention to what others think, as an impediment to accomplishing greater gender equality in Japan.

Speakers in the business and technology section of the forum focused primarily on how both present great potential for advancing SDG goals. This possibility was discussed in terms of the food industry, and the possibility to use new technology to freeze food in its most fresh state, thus working towards goal two of zero hunger, and goal 12 of responsible consumption and production.

Meeting: An Interactive Forum Highlighting Japanese Initiatives Promoting The Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Location: Thursday, June 06, 2019; 15:00-18:15; Conference Room 11. United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers:

  • Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative (Moderator);
  • Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, Former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN, President of Global Peacebuilding Association of Japan;
  • H.E. Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations;
  • Mr. Robert Skinner, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Partnerships;
  • Mr. Fuminobu Akahori, Senior Policy Administrator of Shizuoka City;
  • Ms. Mayumi Takashima, on behalf of Mayor of Sabae City;
  • Ms. Marina Ponti, Director, SDG Action Campaign;
  • Ms. Mayuko Saeki, CEO of KIREIMO/ Vielis Inc;
  • Ms. Yukiko Ikeda, Chief Producer of TGC;
  • Mr Junji Torigoe, Representative Director of SAGAMIYA FOODS Inc.;
  • Ms.Fatima Khan, External Relations Officer, World Health Organization;
  • Mr. Takuji Otsu, Executive Director of FOUNAP SDGs Promoting Committee;
  • Mr. Yoshio Yamada, President of Technician Co. Ltd.;
  • Mr. Tomokiyo Tanaka, Shinto priest, Iwashimizu Hachimangu

Written by: WIT Representative Jenifer Miller

Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The afternoon session of the “Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” was a continuation of the debate commenced in the morning, convened in order to hear comments from member states, as well as relevant NGOs, and IGOs. Nations such as India, Japan, and Jordan expressed their support through a multitude of ways; many countries have established disability acts which provide the disabled with accommodations in the work place or in school. Specifically, initiatives have been undertaken to educate these individuals on how to reach their full potential despite their disability, and funding has been provided for tools to help them (i.e cochlear implants, books in braille). Despite the progress underscored by the participants, many also sought to emphasize the necessity of future progress, including the enactment of more comprehensive policies regarding persons with disabilities.  The great potential to be unlocked by expanded employment of PWDs as well as technologies to facilitate communal, rather than institutional care, were discussed by the Representatives of the United Kingdom and Hungary, respectively. These disability acts also push for the inclusion of disabled people in the workplace and in schools instead of isolating them from society. It was emphasized how deaf children in several countries  often don’t have the opportunity to learn their region’s sign language until five years of age or older, thus putting them behind their fellow peers. It is essential that this circumstance be put to an end, and it should be encouraged to provide help for those who need help, no matter what condition they’re in, or what disability they have.

Meeting: General Debate of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Date/Location: Tuesday, June 10, 2019; 15:00-18:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers:

  • H.E. Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr, Permanent Representative of Liberia and Vice President of the Conference;
  • Representative of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania;
  • H.E. Ms.Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender Children and Social Protection of Ghana;
  • Distinguished Representative of the World Federation of the Deaf;
    His Royal Highness, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein, President of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Chair of Delegation of Jordan;
  • Representative of the Government Minister Department for Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom;
    First Deputy Minister of Ukraine;
  • Mr. Richard Dimech, Chief of Staff of the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights, and Social Solidarity of Malta;
  • H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the United Nations;
  • Mrs. Racardia Dennis, Executive Director of the National Commission on Disabilities of the Republic of Liberia;
  • H.E. Ms. Katalin Annamaria Bogyay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations;
  • Distinguished Representative of the Christian Blind Mission;
  • Mr. Avremi Torem, Commissioner of the Commission for Equal Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Chair of the Delegation of Israel;
  • Coordinator for Social Affairs Ministry of Social Affairs, Justice, and Interior of the Principality of Andorra;
  • H.E. Mr.Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues for Ireland;
  • H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations;
  • President of China Disabled Persons’ Federation;
  • Director of the National Service of People with Disabilities of Chile;
  • Director of the National Program of Disability and Chair of the Delegation of Uruguay;
  • Director of the Social Affairs and Inclusion Department of the European Commission, Chair of Delegation of the European Union;
  • Distinguished Representative of Disabled Peoples International;
  • Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau for the Equality of People with Disabilities, Switzerland;
  • Minister at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria;
  • Representative of India

Written by:WIT Interns Izabela Zawartka, Ikonii Chiabi, and Jenifer Miller

2019 World Oceans Day: Gender and the Ocean

During the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, the Ocean Institute of Canada and the Canadian International Centre for Ocean Development promoted the idea of establishing an internationally recognized World Oceans Day. Since the 1992 summit, this day has been observed annually on June 8th. Throughout the conference, it was noted that among all of the earth’s sectors, the oceans were the most neglected. Thus, the initial purpose of World Oceans Day was to shift the world’s oceans to the center of the discussion for NGOs and government organizations.

Today, the health of the world’s marine ecology is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, with some 7 million tons of litter discharged into the oceans annually, 50% of which is composed of non-degradable, long-lasting plastic. Thousands of underwater animals, such as sea turtles and blue whales, encounter painful deaths from ingesting, or being tangled up in plastic. For instance, fish in the North Pacific region engulf an average of 12 to 24 thousand tons of plastic every year, thus resulting in severe intestinal injury, deaths, and the eventual transference of the plastic up the food chain. Due to this dire pollution, 200 “dead zones” are completely deprived of oxygen and marine life. The number of these zones has doubled every 10 years since the 1960s. Other detrimental effects include eutrophication, coral bleaching and toxic algal blooms.

Though a significant percentage of women are engaged in the maritime, fishing, and other ocean-related industries, administrative and decision-making bodies notably lack female representation. Thus, the theme of this year’s celebration was not only to highlight and raise awareness regarding this critically important absence, but to prioritize action towards its resolution. The integration of women, as has been empirically proven, is overwhelmingly beneficial for effective change. With insight into how oceanic degradation impacts local societies, women are well-equipped to produce creative and community-oriented responses such as providing necessary environmental education of future generations. Further, empowering women’s voices and granting them access to resources for large-scale projects opens the opportunity for increased overall support for the oceans’ cause and the consequent fortification of global efforts to battle climate change and related environmental issues.

During this year’s celebration of World Oceans Day, the United Nations hosted a series of events to spread awareness about the multidimensional issues associated with the world’s oceans and to applaud past successes in addressing these issues. On June 7th, 2019, the UN hosted the World Oceans Day Conference in which speakers were invited to present on the theme of “Gender and Ocean” and to tell inspiring stories about their relationships with the ocean. Furthermore, the President of the General Assembly launched the “Play It Out” campaign with the goal of combating plastic pollution on a global scale. To conclude the celebration, the World Oceans Day Photo Competition fully unleashed the story-telling power of photos and effectively shared the message of ocean preservation.

One of the stories elaborated upon during the June 7th conference highlighted the acute problem of slavery at sea. As fish stocks have diminished due to over fishing along with an increased global demand for seafood, some fishing operations have resorted to the trafficking of fishermen, threatening them to work for the operations under inhumane conditions. At the conference, Mr Tun Lin, a fisherman from Myanmar, detailed how he was enslaved on an Indonesian fishing boat for 11 years, thus exposing the appalling truth of some international fisheries – that the seafood exported to other countries and eventually brought to our plates is often a result of blood, sweat and lives. “For years,” Mr. Tun Lin expressed, “I was enslaved and my rights were violated.” He urged the UN and the world’s governments to promote the rights of fishermen by regulating policy and implementing laws to combat against slavery so as to protect fishermen from severe forms of human rights abuses.

Ms. Angelique Pouponneau, native of the Seychelles, followed Mr. Tun Lin’s story with an uplifting narrative about her many successes as a woman, and her meaningful relationship with the ocean. Pouponneau, having grown up in the matriarchal society of the Seychelles, was surprised upon traveling abroad to be trained as a lawyer as she found that she was expected to take on male attributes in order to be considered a serious professional. Following her training, she began a career grounded on the ideals of sustainable development. Her many accomplishments include the founding of an NGO dubbed SIDS Youth focused on implementing sustainable development goals in small island developing nations, setting up training workshops for female negotiators, and becoming the first female CEO of the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaption Trust.

There are many ways through which the world’s oceans can be protected, including academic research and the private sector. Researchers and corporate investments have the potential to catalyze technological advancements that could aid in the improvement of pollution tracing, cleaning waste and discovering sustainable product life cycles. Multi-sector collaboration is also an essential element of the formula to save the world’s oceans. This vital aspect was exemplified by the corporate synergy from Adidas and Parley as this collaboration showcased how plastic products could be reused and incorporated into the production of new sneakers.

Written by: WIT Summer Interns 2019

Dialogue on Energy Interconnection

During the dialogue between the committee and the non-governmental organization Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, the representative described his organization’s mission, which was to promote clean energy development all over the world, which also supports economic growth and job generation. The organization focuses on three main areas of cooperation: research and studies; information and personal exchanges; and reciprocal invitations to seminars and meetings.

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Apart from collaborating with globally renowned entities such as Bloomberg Financial, Boston University and also Columbia University on co-research projects regarding energy sustainability, the speaker also explained the organization’s intent to co-host an event with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) later this year, which focuses on energy interconnection in Latin America.

They have also been an active participant in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Environment Assembly, as they believe in the presence of mutual interest and objectives towards global sustainability between their organization and the UNEP.

Apart from the dialogue, the committee also processed applications for consultative status from numerous organizations, with the final verdict of recommending 11 groups for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on 85 others.

Meeting: Economic and Social Council – “Dialogue concerning Energy Interconnection”
Date/Location: Thursday, May 23rd, 2019; 15:00-18:00; Economics and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers: Panelist, Representatives from the United States, Mexico, Speaker representing the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization

Written By: WIT Representative Bryan Yiu

Confrontation between the US, Russia, & China on the Crisis in Venezuela

The Security Council convened, by request of the US, for an emergency session discussing the Venezuelan crisis. While the meeting began typically, with briefings on progress and problems, the morning took a turn once US Vice President Mike Pence came to speak. After arriving late, Pence turned the conversation from humanitarian needs to the need for democracy and the rule of law. He blamed the crisis on the Maduro regime, which he claimed to, in the midst of deprivation and suffering, use violence against those who oppose it, killing protesters and jailing journalists. He called the international community to remove Maduro and recognize the interim president appointed by the national assembly, Juan Guaidó, which the US attempted to do in a resolution vetoed by China and Russia. Pence blamed these two nations for directly supporting the Maduro regime out of personal interests.

Russia retaliated, saying Russia would take as much time as it needs to speak, regardless of time. Russia denied Pence’s allegations and blamed US sanctions on Venezuela for the crisis. He claimed that US desire for intervention had to do with its own geopolitical interests, citing US involvement in Latin America going back to the Monroe doctrine. He questioned how the US can speak of humanitarian assistance when it still has own damage from Hurricane Maria. He ended saying that if American is trying to make itself great again, Russia is watching.

China also responded, insisting against intervention while also saying that while “On the one hand we hear tall talks about helping the people of Venezuela, on the other hand we keep seeing more sanctions.” China called the allegations unfounded, and said that China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, nor does it impose its will, leaving unsaid the suggestion that the US does exactly this.

Meeting​: United Nations Security Council: The Situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Date/Location​: Wednesday April 10, 2019; 10:30 to 1:30; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Secretary-General António Guterres, USG for Humanitarian Affairs, Joint Special Representative of the UNHCR, Dr. Kathleen Page, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, US Vice President Mike Pence, Russia, China,  France, UK, Peru, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Venezuela

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

United Nations Security Council: The Question Concerning Haiti

The Security Council met to discuss the situation in Haiti. The meeting began with a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. Much progress had been made. Police in Haiti are more professional and are overall maintaining humanitarian standards in dealing with the country’s instability. On the socio-economic front, the IMF, Haitian central bank, and Haitian government reached a deal on March 8th for a three year loan to help the most vulnerable parts of the population. Problems do persist, however. Gangs are still clashing. The prime minister’s government has been subjected to votes of no confidence and has begun consultation for the selection of his 3rd government. Overall, the Under Secretary remained optimistic about the end of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti which is coming up soon. He recommended transitioning to a smaller political advisory group within Haiti, a sentiment echoed by later briefers and delegates.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights discussed the state of humanitarian aid going to Haiti. Structural challenges continue. There is limited employment opportunities, especially for youth. Natural disasters have inflicted damage over the past few years. Heavily armed gangs in the capital are taking advantage of the limited presence of the state. There is a 1,100 day average pre-trial detention period for prisoners, well over the limit established by international law. The results are overcrowding, lack of hygiene, and a lack of resources spent on prisoners.

Loune Viaud, the executive director of Zanmi Lasante, Partners in Health’s sister organization in Haiti, talked about sexual assault and gender inequality in Haiti. Haiti has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Cancer in Haiti primarily affects women, as 75% of Viaud’s patients are women. While the organization is doing its best, obstetric and cancer care are still lacking.

Meeting​: United Nations Security Council: The Question Concerning Haiti

Date/Location​: Wednesday April 3, 2019; 10:00 to 12:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, United States, Belgium, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Peru, Kuwait, South Africa  

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin