Briefing for Commission on the Status of Women on the Preparations for Session 63

 

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Commission on the Status of Women 62nd Session, 2018 http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/csw

Date/Location​: Wednesday December 12th, 2018; 10:00 to 12:00; Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

The Commission on the Status of Women met to discuss the planning for the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference. The priority theme of the 63rd annual CSW is female access to social services, protection, and infrastructure. The commission looked to past conferences and an expert group from early September, drawing on past themes. These included rural women and girls, women and work, and sustainable development goals. The briefing delivered by the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women highlighted important points. Safe sanitation, especially in relation to menstrual hygiene needs, is still lacking. Moreover the gender pay gap persists internationally. Today, only 41% of the world’s mothers with newborn babies receive maternity leave. Inequality of leisure time exacerbates the situation. This time, as the Director noted, is used by men on improving job skills. Women, however, are busy doing domestic work and taking care of the family. All of these messages and others will be expanded in CSW 63, with involvement across age groups and gender lines.

 

The logistics of the conference were also discussed. Conference rooms 11, 12, A, B, and 1, will be used for side events of the conference. Over the years, the number of these events has grown dramatically from 128 in 2013 to 241 in 2017. A particularly prominent event will be an panel on March 12th. Divided into 3 parts, at first 3-4 speakers will engage in questions from one another. Ministers and officials will participate in a subsequent debate. Finally in the third part, individuals and NGOs will contribute to the general conversation. Other opportunities of the conference will include a youth forum, and a high level event done by the President of the General Assembly, separate from the CSW but done in parallel and touching on these themes.

 

 

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Daily Press Briefing by the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

Portrait SG

Secretary-General, António Guterres https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/biography

Date/Location​: Wednesday January 2, 2012; 12:00 to 13:00; Press Briefing Room (S-237), United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

The briefing by the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General touched on several tragic events. On January 1, a statement was issued by the UN on the attacks on UN representatives in Somalia. The statement strongly condemned the attacks and all violent means. A village in Mali was also attacked by unidentified armed elements, with 37 civilians killed, in what was possibly ethnic conflict. There are more wounded, and precise circumstances of the attack are yet to be confirmed. Additionally, on December 29, a major storm made landfall in the Philippines, killing 85 and affecting 2,000. Local authorities have since made contact with humanitarian representatives from the UN.

Other humanitarian disasters include, continuing displacement in Myanmar of ethnic populations and large rainfall in Syria, destroying humanitarian centers there. UN organizational forces are on the ground, attempting to assist the situations. However, in the case of Myanmar the problem has been worsening over years, and in Syria refugee numbers are only increasing.

Another news update was that on December 31, the UN Secretary-General appointed Robert Piper of Australia as Assistant Secretary-General to the United Nations Development Coordination Office. Piper had previously worked as the head of Development System Transition Team. A final note included annual UN dues. 152 out of 193 of these were paid as of December 31.

Questions that followed the briefing included information about implementation of the Stockholm agreement. The spokesperson responded that the UN was hard at work, releasing regular progress reports, and placing a team on the ground. When asked when the UN planned to deploy the second phase of implementation, no information was given. There was then a question concerning Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO. The spokesperson could not offer any comment besides the secretary’s strong desire that all member states support all UN bodies.

 

 

Evaluations from the Executive Board of UNDP/UNPF/UNOPS: Plenary Meeting 6

The Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA, and UNOPS came together to reconsider revised points to UNFPA’s policy for the prevention, response to and elimination of gender-based violence and harmful practices. Both the Director of Evaluation Office representative and the Executive Director touched upon updating policies to specify definitions, principals, and standards that have been previously established within the UNFPA. Four established areas regarding transparency highlighted within the UNFPA Evaluation Policy were discussed, with emphasis on joint evaluation (assessment of UN agency inter-relationships, i.e, UNFPA and WHO) and system-wide evaluation (assessment of UN as a whole). The Executive Director emphasized on result based management to take lessons learned from prior experiences to implement into new policies locally, regionally, governmentally, and internationally.

Delegates agreed on the necessity of UNFPA and cooperation between countries as well as sectors within the UN as a whole. The delegate from Switzerland on behalf of 20 other countries raised general concerns on resource allocation as well as the idea of system-wide joint evaluations, which was countered by the Director of Evaluation in explaining that resource allocation protects funding for the centralized evaluation core. Transparency will be combated with continued annual budget reports. More details regarding gender and human rights updates were also requested. Mexico highlighted a demand in attention for sexual and reproductive health treatment, specifically in younger people to strengthen political, economical, and social ties while Belgium voiced concerns for budgeting issues.

Meeting: Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme/United Nations Population Fund/United Nations Office for Project Services – Plenary Meeting 6

Date/Location: 23 January 2019, Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Executive Board: Director of Evaluation Office representative; Executive Director of UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS; Burkina Faso; Switzerland (on behalf of 20 other countries); Mexico, Botswana, Belgium, Sweden

Written By: WIT Representative Jessica Shi

Security in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov Region

On the 25th November 2018, Ukrainian military vessels were seized by Russia en route a transfer from the Dead Sea to the Azov Sea through the Kerch Strait. Russian Suzdalets began escorting the Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait. Crimea is Ukrainian territory, regardless of Russian troops utilizing the area as a military base. Russia stated Ukrainian vessels were not to travel through the strait alone as there were international sea restrictions present, regardless of the fact there were no restrictions. The seizing of these military vessels were a clear international violation by Russia of the UN Charter Article 2, Helsinki Accords 1975 Final Act, and the International Humanitarian Law. Accusations of discriminative actions towards Ukraine by Russia were brought up in an informative video shown to the committee provided by the Minister of Ukraine. Madame Minister of Ukraine highlighted the violated legal issues behind Russia’s actions and emphasized the detained sailors and vessels should immediately be released.  

All speaking delegations were in agreement with the aggression exhibited by Russia towards Ukraine. All countries were in accordance with justice for Ukraine. The United States has transferred two coast guards to maintain sanctions against Russia in the benefit of Ukraine and support for respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty was displayed from all delegations. The International Court of Justice was urged to step in and take action. Letters were submitted to the tribunal with an outline of the clear violations performed by Russia; priority was given to the detained navy personnel and crew in hopes of bringing the sailors home. A resolution titled “The problem of militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov” was drafted and will be presented to the UN General Assembly on 17th December 2018.

Meeting: Security in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov Region

Date/Location: 5 December 2018, Conference Room 4

Speakers: Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko, Minister of Ukraine Olena Zerkal, United States, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Sweden, Germany, Listonia, Croatia, Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Canada

Written By: WIT Representative Jessica Shi

Ambassadorial-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel region

This meeting discussed the current status of peacebuilding in the Sahel region of Africa which includes the countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, as well as others. The mayor of the Burkina Faso town of Dori began this meeting calling for more accountability of finances as much monetary aid never reaches the Sahel region. He mentioned that 85% of people in the Sahel region are under the age of 30 with 85% of people involved in pastoralism. This a region with many young people but little opportunity for economic development. There needs to be an emphasis on resources to support education and more profitable jobs that develop the Sahel. Women and children need to be empowered and feel safe with more nurseries and subsidies to start projects that support economic development. Furthermore, it is clear that the young people of the region have the capability to transform the Sahel into a prosperous area but need stable governmental and financial institutions to accomplish this.

Meeting​: Ambassadorial-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel region

Date/Location​: Monday November 12th 2018; 15:00 to 18:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth                                Ms. Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director UN Women                                                                Mr. Ahmed Aziz Diallo, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Dori, Burkina Faso                H.E. Dr. Ion Jinga, Chair of Peacebuilding Commission

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

 

 

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East: Plenary Meeting 26

This meeting, part of the 4th Committee on Decolonization Committee, discussed the need for the continued finance of UNRWA, a UN entity established in 1948  that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinian Refugees. UNRWA Commissioner General Krähenbühl mentioned that UNRWA continues to exist because of, “failure.”  Representatives of Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt preceded to claim Palestinians right to land when making their statements and explained they will continue to assist in its funding. The representative of the European Union claimed the need for more microfiancing for Palestinian refugees. The representatives of Australia and Jordan shared their views on the Palestinian question, mentioning a two state solution. The positive news was that the UNRWA deficit has decreased from 406 million to 66 million. Mr. Krähenbühl made his closing remark calling for prevention and conflict  resolution focus for member states so that UNRWA no longer needs to exist one day.

Meeting​: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East: Plenary Meeting 26

Date/Location​: Monday November 12th 2018; 10:00 to 13:00; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

Mr.Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner General

H.E Dr. Sima Sami Bahous, Permanent Representative of  Jordan

Representative of India

Representative of Tunisia           Representative of Malaysia

Representative of  Lebanon        Representative of Indonesia

Representative of Norway           Representative of Venezuela

Representative of   Egypt             Representative of UAE

Representative of   Kuwait           Representative of Sudan

Representative of    Ecuador        Representative of Russia

H.E Mr.Mauro Vieira, Permanent Representative of Brazil       

Representative of Holy See          Representative of   Japan   

 H.E Mr.Tore Hattrem, Permanent Representative of Norway        

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker

 

Economic Costs of the Israeli Occupation for the Palestinian People: Briefing to Member States on UNCTAD

The Israel/Palestine conflict has impacted the daily lives of the Palestinian people since 1948. The UNCTAD was requested to assess the impact of Israeli policies onto the Palestinian people given the General Assembly report A/73/201. A foundation must be established to achieve a just and lasting peace within the two countries through three steps: assessing the economic cost of the Israeli occupation, reporting the unjust actions and the cost assessed for evidence, and documenting the rights and losses of the Palestinian people.

Assessing the economic cost of the occupation begins with Area C, which imposes a cost roughly around 25% of Palestine’s GDP. As the Palestinian population is exchanged with Israeli population into this area through settlements, there is a massive loss of opportunity, culture, and unity from the Palestinian people and economy. Through the construction of the separation barrier in the West Bank as well as the illegal settlements of Israeli civilians, Security Council resolutions 446 (1979) and 2334 (2016) are violated. Particular sectors of the Palestinian economy–agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, communications and tourism–are directly being affected by Israeli policies. Roughly around 60% of agricultural land is no longer accessible in addition to more than two-thirds of grazing land in the West Bank. From contaminated water, fish populations have drastically diminished and an emphasis was placed on documenting specific numbers pertaining to how the environment is affected by Israeli policies. Palestine is unable to personally solve the contamination due to the Israeli occupation.

There is an urgent need to establish a systematic and comprehensive framework to the UN system. Cuba emphasized reaching out for help to create a network of countries to combat the legal suffering of the Palestinian people. Assessing, documenting, and reporting to the GA on the Israeli occupation cost for the Palestinian people is a priority.

Meeting: Briefing to Member States on the findings of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report to the General Assembly (A/73/201) on the Economic costs of the Israeli Occupation for the Palestinian people

Date/Location: 28 November 2018/Conference Room 9

Speakers: UN Coordinator of Palestinian People, UN Coordinator of Israeli People, Cuba

Written By: WIT Representative Jessica Shi

 

Women, peace, and security

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Women with the Afghan National Army Air Force & International Force during an International Women’s Day celebration in Kabul. Photo: Sgt. Dustin Payne.

The meeting began with acknowledging the fact the first woman president had won the election in Ethiopia. This gave way into the discussion of the political and economic empowerment of women. Women need to be apart of peace and security agendas. Many already are, but they need to be further supported in reducing any challenges. There has been progression, especially within women’s groups who focus on this large issue. Although there has been progress, there is still a long way to go.

Women peace workers help. Women can be quickly drawn into the conflict and be severely affected by it, so more women need to be able to speak on their behalf. Women are better aware of their community needs. Gender equality programming is needed to address the devastating effects by building sustainable peace. There has been a systematic failure to bring women in peacekeeping. Women are constantly excluded. It was brought up that there is a significant gap with what it is said in UN chamber and what is actually going on in the world. Superficial efforts need to come to an end and they need to become concrete.

Women are active and resilient. They have negotiated ceasefires, safe zones, drawn up protection plans. This includes women from various countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, among others. They need to be enabled to do even more. One main way to give women this chance is education. During the conflict, girls are more likely to be out of primary schools. Child marriage is high in these conflict areas. Not only is a girl likely to not be attending school, but she is likely to get pregnant. Maternal mortality is almost twice the global ratio in conflict and post-conflict areas. Education is a catalyst for equal participation.

The way the world views the role of women needs to be changed. Women are perceived to not have the skills or knowledge to handle these important roles. Greater participation of women in political life causes a stronger path for peace. Global peace and security are enhanced when helping women. It was said that no woman needs to be given a voice, there just needs to be more listening.

Meeting:  Women and peace and security

Location/time/date: Security Council Chamber, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 25, 2018

Speakers:

  • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • Ms. Randa Siniora Atallah, General Director of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling
  • Her Excellency Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser for Gender and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women
  • Ms. Narjess Saidane, Permanent Observer of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie
  • Ms. Amarsanaa Darisuren, Senior Advisor on Gender Issues of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
  • Ms. Clare Hutchinson, Special Representative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General for Women, Peace and Security
  • Secretary-General, His Excellency António Guterres
  • Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • Yoka Brandt, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
  • Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office of Germany
  • Simona Leskovar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
  • Iryna Herashchenko, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

Globalization and Interdependence

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Globalization offers both opportunities and challenges to the world. The world has been progressing, however, some nations are extremely more developed than others proving that there is an inequality between countries. No concrete action in combating inequality between countries.  In order to properly move forward, developed nations must help developing nations advance in areas they lack in.

One trend that is always innovating is technology. New technologies have lead us to the fourth industrial revolution. The rapid pace of science and technology has fundamentally changed economies and societies. There has been economic growth as we are recovering from global economic crises. Developing nations have growing GDPs, however, they are far from reaching the goal of eliminating inequality by 2030. Therefore, while keeping progress within ethical boundaries, we must create and share opportunities with them.  Technology transfer is vital to the development of countries. In terms of the economy, international trade is also important for development. There needs to be both economic growth and an eradication of poverty. With respect to national policies, the trade should also be non-discriminatory.

We must also tackle climate change on a global scale. Emissions reduction are not meeting what is needed and environmental protection must be a priority. Without doing so, industries are promoting future natural disasters. Speakers also brought up the topic of global migration and refugee crisis. Migration is a population change, and governments need to be able to provide better transit and destination for these large flows of international migrants. Contrary to what some people believe, migrants provide economic and social development in host countries. They add fresh skills to the economy, making migration an enabler of development. However, they need full respect for human rights, regardless of their migration state. Effective social communications in host countries are needed to combat issues like xenophobia. Migrant children are also a vulnerable population, and measures must be taken to provide for their health and education.

Globalization will help the world, but as mentioned, it is far from being equal, and therefore, need more multilateral cooperation to prepare for the future.  There needs to be more of an equitable spread of globalization as we attempt to make progress toward the goal of sustainable development.

Meeting:  Economic and Financial Committee: Globalization and interdependence – Item 22

Location/time/date:Conference Room 2, UN HQ-NYC; 10:00 PM – 12:45 PM, October 19, 2018

SpeakersDirector of the International Organization for Migration (IOM),   Economic Analysis and Policy Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Written by: WIT Representative Yasmeen Razack

Conflict Resolution and Ensuring Access to Justice in Developing Nations Workshop

This meeting, headed by Columbia Law School,  served as a workshop to understand the process of mediation in conflict resolution. Mediation involves parties attempting to negotiate to reach an agreement. Mediation was introduced with two case studies, from Nepal and well as Iraq and Syria. In the case of Nepal, Nepali women recieve training to serve as mediators in small towns and focus on issues of inequality. This initiative resulted in the 2010 Mediation Act of Nepal. In the case of Iraqi and Syrian refugee camps, leaders in the refugee camps work to stop clashes over access to water among the camp. After these case studies, attendees of the workshop were put into groups and given a conflict with a goal of creating an alternate dispute resolution.

The conflict involved the fictional country of Hogsmeade with two ethnic groups, the wealthier Slytherins and the Gryffindors, who continue to fight over access to a river as a water source. After working in groups, the meeting came to an end with each group sharing their alternative dispute resolution. Each group resolved the conflict with different factors as priorities and details varied. Overall, the workshop helped stimulate the very difficult process of conflict resolution in the international arena. 

Meeting​: Conflict Resolution and Ensuring Access to Justice in Developing Nations Workshop

Date/Location​: Friday October 26th 2018; 15:00 to 18:00; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​:

H.E Mr.Marco A. Suazo, Head of Office, UNITAR UNO

Ms.Alexandra Carter, Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School

Mr.Shawn Watts. Associate Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School

Written by: WIT Representative Mariam Elsaker