HLPF Informals

www.un.orgThe session was organized by the co-facilitators to get comments from member states and permanent observers of the United Nations, on the Ministerial Declaration for the 2016 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. Ambassador Gustavo, in his opening remarks, stated that this is the first to follow-up and implement the 2030Sustainable Development Agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo explained that the Ministerial Declaration, which was sent in a letter from the Co-facilitators to all permanent representatives and permanent observers on 13 June 2016 contain potential elements of the draft Ministerial Declaration.

Ambassador Gustavo further highlighted the importance of the “Global Sustainability Development Report” which was included in the Ministerial Declaration, stating that the scope of the report is one important component of the follow-up and review process for the 20130 Agenda on Sustainable Development and will inform the HLPF to make policy decisions to reduce poverty.

After the brief introductory statement, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor to all permanent representatives and member states to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

After comments from member states, Ambassador Gustavo opened the floor for other organizations or permanent observers to the United Nations to comment on the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.

The major call from the different organizations was the need for global partnerships at all levels to achieve the global sustainable development agenda.

Ambassador Gustavo ended the session by thanking all for the interventions and participation despite the short notice to prepare for this session. He handed over the floor to his Co-facilitator, Ambassador Gillian to give her final comments.

In her final words, Ambassador Gillian thanked everyone for their constructive work and that she looks forward to working with all on the HLPF.

Meeting: Informal consultations on the draft ministerial declaration of the high-level political forum on sustainable development for 2016, convened under the auspices of the Council, and the high-level segment of the 2016 session of the Council, convened by the co-facilitators (Australia and Peru).

Date/Time/Location: 16 June 2016/15:40 to 18:00/ Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-facilitators from Peru (Ambassador Gustavo) and Australia (Ambassador Gillian Bird), delegates member states, stakeholders and NGO representatives.

Reported by:   Fred Yonghabi

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Technology and the Sustainable Development Goals

Todays morning meeting revolved around realizing the potential science, technology and innovation has to help us achieve our SDGs. Mr. Kamen began by emphasizing the importance of creating scientists and engineers from our youth equally throughout the world. He showed two videos of his technology program, FIRST, a foundation that makes science just as enjoyable and entertaining to our youth as sports. He advised member countries to figure out a way to include their own FIRST programs in their respective states. Professor Co from Northwestern University continued the general assembly by promoting member states to work towards a future that can take advantage of our recourses and youth, such that one-day gasoline can be generated when needed and done so through renewable energy that will not contribute to climate change. He explained that partnerships of nations and a classification system of modern knowledge can make government funded research more accessible and help align target research with SDGs.

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Both Ambassador Joon and Secretary General Ki-Moon gave statements regarding the power of science and innovation. Mr. Ki-Moon stated that tech and innovation must not be limited to SDG17 or confined to the use of new technologies and software, rather innovation is a mindset and attitude we must utilize. He also noted that the Multi-Stakeholder forum will take place each year until 2030 to allow all sectors of society to work together and look outwards to include greater cooperation through parliaments. Mr. Nakicenovic represented the Group of 10 and spoke about their belief in the importance the forum holds in terms of STI and how central it is to human development and is the primary mechanism for achieving SDG. His plan is to increase the sustainable development plan of agenda 2030 and create a 2050 plan.

Meeting: Multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

Date/Time/Location: Monday, June 6, 2016; 10:45-13:00; Conference Room 1

Speakers:  Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of United Nations; Ambassador Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC; Mr. Dean Kamen, American entrepreneur and founder of FIRST; Professor Dick T. Co, Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University; Komal Ahmad, Founder and CEO of COPIA; Mr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Deputy Director General/ Deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied System.

Written by: WIT representative Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator Modou Cham

Photo: www.ssr.titech.ac.j

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

 

2015 Winter Youth Assembly: Bridging the Gap Between Youth Employment and Global Development

YABanner1The 2015 Winter Youth Assembly empowers the youth to become active members of their communities and participants in the shift from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ms. Bokova stated that each person is unique and that individual voices matter for shaping a better future. Representative MacDonald focused on the necessity of introducing gender equality to younger ages to create a stimulating social environment and workforce, saying that men need to understand that discrimination against women is not just a woman’s issue, but humanity’s issue. Governments should focus on planning their own conferences instead of waiting for regional ones.

Representatives from the UN Youth Delegate Program discussed their experiences and promoted the involvement of younger people in delegations. Being a part of the global decision forum enables youths to be active at the UN as opposed to just being observers. Mr. Alhendawi emphasized that current business communications must change and be directed towards the younger audience. The commitment of the UN is not to work for the people, but with the people. Twenty years ago, delegates made an agreement to help young people succeed. The Secretary General is requesting that each delegation take on at least one young member by September. Youth movements and representatives are essential for creating frameworks that support the young people of the future. Representative MacDonald explained that one must know and understand what their rights are before they can advocate for them.

Ms. Thomas introduced three members of the Microsoft YouthSpark Team. Microsoft works to ensure that as many young people as possible have the skills they need to get employment and advance finding opportunities. As the world is becoming more technology enabled, an education with computer science is becoming increasingly important.

Meeting: 2015 Winter Youth Assembly: Bridging the Gap Between Youth Employment and Global Development
Date & Location: Wednesday, February 11th, 2015. Conference Room 2, UNHQ, New York.
Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Simona Miculescu, Permannet Representative of Romania to the United Nations; Patrick Sciarratta, Executive Director of FAF; Irina Bokova, Director-General United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO; Henry MacDonald, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the United Nations; Ahmad Alhendawi, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth; Yvonne Thomas, Microsoft
Written By WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Event on: “Globalization and Sustainable Development: The Role of Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Private Sector”

sdg2All representatives at the event on “Globalization and sustainable development: The role of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector”emphasized that each individual is a part of one humanity. NGOs should increase their participation in globalization with the UN and the private sector.

President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser started the meeting by highlighting the importance of technology in our daily lives. Technology not only impacts economic growth, but also benefits the globalization of public policy and social structure. Moreover, the demand for globalization and sustainable development increases the need for international cooperation and government support. He and other representatives agreed that a stable government is required and governments thus need to work with NGOs and the private sector to make globalization more efficient.

Dr. B. K. Modi stated that the UN and NGOs cannot be separated and should work together with each other. Ambassador Michele Klein-Solomon said that globalization is a great benefit for the world because it gives positive aspects to all current and subsequent generations. However, he stated that there are unbalanced opportunities between individuals. Therefore, governments should fairly handle human capital to have more opportunities in peoples’ lives. Multi-cultural areas have become a norm in society rather than an exception and migration should be supplemented with education to promote cultural development.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury and Mr. Gary C. K. Huang claimed that globalization cannot create more division or disparity. There are three objectives of globalization: education, sustainability, and transformation. More students should be in schools to get quality education to create global citizenship. Dr. Tageldin Hamad insisted that women should be always included in communities like NGOs in globalization. NGOs have an obligation to not ally with any particular government and to not be controlled by government bodies.

Ms. Isha Judd stated that sustainable development  should be based on children, as they always focus on unity and love. Since children never think about fear or lack, they teach us how to meditate and nurture. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati compared today to a global boat. We are on the same boat and have an equal responsibility for globalization. Dr. Manohar Shinde stated that globalization needs to have global perspectives on economic and non-economic issues. Ms. Sharon Vosmek argued that very few numbers of women are working in the society. She emphasized that we live in a global community and women should be treated equally as men.

Meeting: Event on “Globalization and sustainable development: The role of governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector” (co-organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the Global Citizen Forum)
Date: 31 October 2014
Location: Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, UN HQ, New York
Speakers: Ambassador Tariq Al-Ansari, H.E. President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Dr. B.K. Modi, Dr. Thomas Walsh, Ambassador Michele Klein-Solomon, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Ambassador Noel Sinclair, Dr. Tageldin Hamad, Ms. Isha Judd, Mr. Kelly Wright, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Dr. Manohar Shinde, Ms. Sharon Vosmek, and Mr. Gary C.K. Huang.
Written by WIT Representative: Minji Han

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey and Aslesha Dhillon

Special Event: Responsibility of States: State of Play and the Way Forward

6365386329_f24a5e7976_zThe Permanent Missions of the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal, and South Africa co-organized a special event on the legally binding status of the “Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts.” Opening statements were made by Mr. Divel Tladi and Mr. Pavel Šturma, members of the International Law Commission (ILC). Professor Šturma stated that the draft articles are not yet “legally binding documents but enjoy a high level of authority” i.e. they are often referred to by international courts and tribunals.

Mr. Tladi asserted that the current trend of treating the ILC’s products without further deliberation and the input of states was dangerous for the international community. Assessment of the Commission’s approach should be addressed through a convention in which developing states could contribute. The Director of the Czech Republic’s International Law Department echoed a concern of Daniel Bethlehem, that codification would enable broad responsibility for states. Thus even those who provided military aid to other states have committed a wrongdoing in certain cases.

Dr. James Crawford, one of the contributors to the “Responsibility of States Act”, emphasized that though a convention may be progressive, countermeasures and varying views on multinational criminal responsibility would make consensus “virtually inconceivable”. The legal advisor to the Polish Foreign Minister also did not support the provocation of a conference, to which Portugal firmly disagreed. Earlier, a Portuguese legal advisor called conventions “the natural output of ILC work” that enables more stability.

Meeting: Special event on “Responsibility of States: State of Play and the Way Forward”
Location:
Conference Room 7, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date:
29 October 2014
Written By WIT Representatives:
Alis Yoo and Brian Lee

Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey and Aslesha Dhillon

Discussion on the Eradication of Poverty


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The agenda of the Second committee was ‘the Eradication of Poverty and Other Development Issues.’ The meeting began with a discussion among representatives from a variety of countries and organizations about the implementation of the second United Nations decade for the eradication for poverty. Her Excellency, Ms. Anna Marie Menendez Perez, President of the Trade and Development Board (UNCTAD) and permanent representative of Spain to the United Nations, spoke on the reports of the trade and development board, which focused on tackling inequality through trade and development a post-2015 challenge.

The conclusion of the trade and development board was to decrease inequality among countries, stimulate higher rates of trade, and increase the productivity of least-developing countries. A recommendation from the trade and development board was to catalyze investments in Africa to ensure transformative growth in order to strengthen the managerial capacities of African policymakers and leaders.The board also looked at the evolution of trade and agriculture and its effect on poverty eradication, sustained development, and employment. Throughout the meeting there was a call for a global post-2015 development agenda by several delegates.

Representatives from countries in special situations including least developed countries and landlocked developing countries spoke on the challenges these countries within in special situations face. There was a consistent consensus among delegates for the recommitment of the Instantbul Programme of Action. The representative of Sudan said that the Instanbul Programme of Action’s goals can be met if economies work together in order to create job opportunities, improve health, education, and technology.

Meeting: Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee), 19th Eradication of Poverty and other development issues
Date: October 23, 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, UNHQ, New York.
Speakers: His Excellency Mr. Sebastiano Cardi of Italy; Excellency, Ms. Anna Marie Menendez Perez, President of the Trade and Development Board (UNCTAD) and permanent representative of Spain to the United Nations; Individuals who spoke on behalf of groups in special situations included representatives of Myanmar (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Malawi (on behalf of the African Group), Benin (on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries), European Union, Brazil, Malaysia, United States, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, New Zealand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Morocco, Russian Federation, Togo, Kazakhstan, Japan, Turkey and the Solomon Islands.
Written By WIT Representative: Eman Osagie

Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

The Human Rights Situation in North Korea

images (1)The Permanent Missions of Australia, Botswana, and Panama co-organized a panel discussion on the human rights situation in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, featuring the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK (COI). Kim Hye-Sook and Jung Kwang-Il gave statements on the “systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations” in political prisoner camps.

Representing the Commission of Inquiry, Justice Michael Kirby delivered a keynote speech. He, and later the representatives of Canada and the U.S., asserted the transparency of the COI’s 2013 Report on Human Rights in the DPRK. The report aimed to disclose North Korea’s “crimes against humanity” and the need for tribunal in the International Criminal Court. Though acknowledging the DPRK’s recent willingness for engagement, Justice Kirby requested a show of action in which, the DPRK makes the report available to its citizens and allows international machineries to enter the country.

Former North Korean citizen Kim Hye-Sook described the deplorable health and education conditions in labor camps. Former North Korean Jung Kwang-Il described the nine months of severe torture he endured in a prisoner camp, and the lasting physical and psychological damage.

The representative of the DPRK questioned the COI report’s “nature of political plots”, its use of leading questions, and the report’s assumptions of the DPRK’s legal handling of human rights. Justice Kirby assured the use of non-leading questions and lack of political motivation by directing the representative towards the online interview transcripts. Despite Kirby’s request, the representative of the DPRK denounced Kim Jung and other witnesses, as defectors.

The European Union and Japan mentioned a resolution based on the COI report, to soon be presented to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. Botswana supported their resolution, having broken diplomatic ties with the DPRK upon release of the COI report.

Meeting: Panel discussion on “The Human Rights Situation in North Korea”
Location: Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 22 October 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Alis Yoo
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Role of Forensic and Medical Sciences in the Investigation and Prevention of Torture

6365386329_f24a5e7976_zMendez discussed his report on the use of forensic science to combat torture, as it still persists in over 100 countries. Ms. Reventlow, Denmark, Switzerland, and Mendez, believe it’s the state’s obligation to prevent and investigate torture through medical/forensic examination. Denmark and Switzerland feel it’s essential to establish a standard for legal investigations. Denmark and Mendez also believe victims should be given rehabilitation and reparations.

Switzerland deems the eradication of torture a matter of political will and insufficient resources. Another cause maybe the lack of medical and forensic personnel training, which prevents proper documentation of torture cases. It is also pointed out that torture investigations must follow the Istanbul Protocol because it analyzes the physical and psychological effects of torture. Doctors, lawyers, judges, and prosecutors must become educated in this Protocol. A significant type of torture comes from interrogators trying to coerce a confession. This causes official medical examiners to be influenced by the department inflicting the torture.

Mendez insists on implementing safeguards to ensure that examinations are credible, independent, and objective. Some states may reject the Istanbul Protocol because they claim they are too poor, but Mendez and Hansen point out these examinations are not expensive. Rodley explains how forensic evidence can greatly affect the outcome of a torture case. He also mentions that victims of torture may face deportation because officials do not want to deal with these “undesirables”.

Hansen explains his work with the Protocol and its legal implications. He strongly recommends the use of the Protocol, and explains that the major aspect of forensic examinations lies in consistency. Finally, Hansen mentions that time does not affect the significance of forensic examinations. The conference concluded with the need to establish a framework to deal with torture cases, and the need to raise awareness of the issue.

Meeting: The Role of Forensic and Medical Sciences in the Investigation and Prevention of Torture and Other Ill-Treatment (co-organization by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Permanent Missions of Denmark and Switzerland, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (ICRT), Amnesty International and the American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law’s Anti-Torture Initiative)
Date/Location: October 22nd, 2014; Conference Room 7, UN HQ, New York.
Speakers: Switzerland, Denmark, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee Sir Nigel Rodley, Director of IRCT’s legal and advocacy team Ms. Miriam Reventlow, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez, and Dr. Steen Holger Hansen from the University of Copenhagen’s forensic medicine department.
Written By WIT Representative: Ellie Guner
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon

Funding Requirements for Third International Conference on Financing for Development

financeThis meeting focused on the financial organization for the third International Conference on Financing for Development, which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 to July 16 of 2015. The goal of the Conference was to assess the progress made in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration. This meeting did not focus on all aspects of funding for the Conference, which the title may suggest. Instead, this meeting emphasized additional funding through voluntary contributions to the FfD trust fund. The Chair stated that this upcoming Conference is funded by voluntary contributions, both public and private.

The estimated budget calls for three outputs, or “clusters”. The first output is for inclusive engagement of country representatives, non-governmental organizations like Unicef, and institutional stakeholders in the Conference and in its preparatory process. The second cluster in the estimated budget is for compendium of policy papers. A set of policy papers will be used to inform individuals and business sectors on interactive hearings of sustainable development financing and goals. The last output for funding is for public outreach and communication.

Money raised for this cluster will go towards mobilizing promotional outreach through social media, posters, and public information materials. The Chair leading the discussion then emphasized his invitation of member states and other donors to donate voluntarily to the trust fund. Countries that have already made pledge contributions include Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Each trust fund in DESA is division specific, so funds cannot be taken out of different trust funds to support the upcoming Conference. The Chair concluded by stressing the importance of urgency to get donations in, later stating that organizations should not be shy to make a modest contribution.

Meeting Topic: Briefing for Member States on “The funding requirements for third International Conference on Financing for Development” (organized by the Financing for Development Office of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA))
Date: 22 October 2014
Location: Conference Room E, UN HQ, New York.
Written by WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Aslesha Dhillon