Partnerships for Sustainable Action

 

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In the December 20th session Professor Jan W. Dash discussed climate action as a matter of justice, ethics, and human survival. He emphasized that all SDGs are tied to climate change and that humanity has the power to reduce dangerous effects that climate change had on our planet’s health and biodiversity. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer spoke on behalf of Small Island Developing States. He discussed the 300 partnership listings and the Samoa pathway. He reinforced the Maldives’ commitment to these partnerships and the necessity of the participation of all stakeholders. H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi reiterated the need for more efficient work to ensure that the SDGs are implemented and stay relevant. He also expressed the need to ensure oceans’ health and that countries enforce nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Dr. Christine K. Durbak shared the relevant work that she and World Information Transfer have provided over the last few decades. The Conference of NGOs began the committee on SDGs in the late 1980s, when WIT was invited to join. WIT focused on connecting the global community’s resources on human health and the environment.

Dr. Judy Buster-Otto discussed mental health and quality of life resolutions in the 2030 Agenda. She explained the work of the WHO and shared how the NGO-SDG forum can work through shared input and ideas, linkages to stakeholders, and advocacy with missions. Ms. Hawa Diallo noted the 66th DPI/NGO conference held in 2016 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. She shared the goals of the conference and the action plan for a youth program/agenda. She briefly explained the next conference and the TOGETHER initiative. Ms. Emilie McGlone briefly introduced Peace Boat organization and a few related upcoming youth initiatives and summer programs. Mr. Marc Jourdan expressed his aim to promote SDGs in Dominican Republic. He shared projects in schools and towns based in recycling and sustainable agriculture. Mr. Daniel Perell explained the importance of engagement with the larger NGO body and creating platforms for NGOs to target relevant goals. The election of the of the NGOCSD-NY Executive Board for 2017 ended the session.

Meeting: “Partnerships for Sustainable Actions in 2017 & Beyond”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 20 December 2016; 13:00 to 15:00; Boss Room, Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza

Speakers: Professor Jan W. Dash (NGOCSD-NY Lead Adviser on Climate Change; Managing Editor of the Climate Portal website); H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto Ambassador of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi Ambassador and of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations; Dr. Judy Buster-Otto (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations); Dr. Christine K. Durbak (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations; Founder and Chair of World Information Transfer; President of the K. Kovshevych Foundation); Ms. Hawa Diallo (Public Information Officer; NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section Department of Public Information); Ms. Emilie McGlone (Director of Peace Boat US, New York Office); Mr. Marc Jourdan (UN Programs & Outreach Manager; Global Foundation for Democracy and Development); Mr. Daniel Perell (Global Organizing Partner of the NGO Major Group; Representative for Bahá’í International Community to the UN, New York; Chair of the NGO Committee for Social Development)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

SDG 14: Call to Action

 

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In this informal briefing on the ongoing preparations for the United Nations Ocean Conference, the President of the General Assembly, the Under Secretary-General, a special advisor to the conference co-presidents, and the Permanent Representatives of Sweden and Fiji discussed the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. They expressed that without clean and healthy oceans our, and all life’s, place on the planet would be in grave jeopardy. Since 1970, there has been a 49% decline in marine species. By 2050, the ocean is expected to contain more plastic than fish. Representatives discussed specific and necessary targets within SDG 14. They reviewed relevant dates for the upcoming global conference and other plenary meetings and stressed the need to strengthen and replicate current efforts. Moreover, representatives expressed the need to form new partnerships that involve all relevant stakeholders (including governments, the UN system, NGOs, the private sector, etc.) in the spirit of widespread, global, and inclusive participation.

The United Nations Ocean Conference will be held from June 5-9, 2017. It will follow a two-day preparatory meeting, February 15-16, 2017, chaired by the Permanent Representative of Portugal and the Permanent Representative of Singapore. The meeting will discuss partnership dialogues themes and elements for the “Call for Action.” The June conference will assess challenges, identify opportunities for action, strengthen current partnerships and forge new ones. It will be comprised of 8 plenary meetings, 7 partnership dialogues, and an additional special event commemorating World Oceans Day. The conference will also adopt an intergovernmental consensus declaration and a report with co-chairs’ summaries of partnership dialogues. Finally, a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of SDG14 will be announced at the conference in June.

Meeting: “Briefing on the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of SDG 14”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 13 December 2016; 15:00 to 18:00; UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: President of the General Assembly; H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog of the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN; H.E. Ambassador Luke Daunivalu of the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the UN; Mr. Wu Hongbo (USG DESA); Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares (USG OLA): Ms. Catherine Pollard (USG DGACM)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

Migration is a Global Challenge and a Global Chance

 

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Monday, global representatives gathered under the Ninth Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) where delegates discussed and investigated three topics: the social, economic, and legal aspects of the Global Migration Compact. Ambassador Shahidul Haque gave opening remarks. He expressed that a rise in globalization can be attributed to the fluidity in current global migration. Claiming ignorance to be a fatal mistake, he argued that migration is not a political nor social issue, but a component of sustainability and global development.

Several representatives voiced concerns on the effects of forced migration on women, children, and families. The Paris Agreements and many global partnerships since have been successful policies on aiding migrants and countries alike with forced migration. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the UN, expressed optimism  in the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, especially concerning access to healthcare resources and educational opportunities. Being an issue that only recently became an official goal of the UN, accurate research and understanding of current migration trends is vital for representatives to be cooperative and helpful in drafting global solutions.

Negative community and family perceptions of migrants versus the reality that migrants live was discussed throughout the day. Mental, social, and emotional damages endured before, during, and after the migration affect people’s roles in their host countries. Challenges also arise with historical, cultural, and language differences and barriers that migrants experience in new, host countries. Non-discriminatory and inclusive protection of safety and human rights should be a priority for migrants in host countries. Ms. Eva Sandis of the NGO Committee on Migration emphasized the need for partnership and participation in civil society in order to protect migrants on a day to day basis. Concluding remarks were made by H.E. Ambassador Shahidul Haque, “Migration is a global challenge and global chance.” It depends how the international community approaches the migration issues are the realities for millions of people.

Meeting: Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)-Troika, “Global Migration Compact”

Date/Location: Monday, 14 November, 2016; 10:00-10:35, 10:45-12:45, 14:15-16:00, and 16:15-17:00; United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 12

Speakers: H.E. Ambassador Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh and GFMD 2016 Chair; H.E. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York; Mr. Sönke Lorenz, Head of Migration Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany; Mr. Ahmed Skim, Director of Migration Affairs, Ministry in charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs, Morocco; H.E. Ambassador Mr. Mehmet Samsar, Director General for Consular Affairs, Turkey; Mr. Gregory A. Maniatis, Senior Adviser to Mr. Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for International Migration; Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Special Adviser ad interim on Follow-up to the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants; Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General, United Nations; H.E. Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration; Ms. Sadia Faizunnesa, Director General (UN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh; Mr. Gervais Appave, Senior Policy Adviser, International Organization for Migration; Mr. Enrico Fos, Minister, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in Geneva; Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva; Ms. Eva Sandis, NGO Committee on Migration; H.E. Ambassador Mr. Riaz Hamidullah, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka; Mr. Dilip Ratha, Lead Economist, Development Prospects Group and Manager DEC-PREM Migration and Remittances Unit, World Bank; Mr. Arturo Cabrera, Former Deputy Minister for Migration, Ecuador; H.E. Ambassador Javier Carbajosa Sánchez, Ambassador at Large for Migration Issues; Ms. Megdelawit Kidane, Global Coalition on Migration (GCM); Ms. Lynn Shotwell, Executive Director at Council for Global Immigration; Ms. Nahida Sobhan, Minister, Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, Bangladesh; Mr. Ryszard Cholewinski, Migration Policy Specialist, International Labour Organization; Mr. Erica Usher, Senior Director at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Canada; Mr. Samson Lungo, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN in Geneva; Mr. Craig Mokhiber, Chief, Development, Economic and Social Issues Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Pablo Ceriani Cernadas, Vice-chairperson, Committee on Migrant Workers; H.E. Ambassador M. Shameem Ahsan, Permanent Representative of bangladesh to the UN in Geneva; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Professor Michael Doyle, University of Columbia, New York; Mr. Christian Leffler, EU Deputy Secretary General in charge of Economic and Global Issues in the European External Action Service and In Charge of Migration Issues

Written By: Janet Lee, WIT Representative

1 + 4 = 16: Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace

 

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The DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16” was conducted to promote Sustainability Development Goals 1 (eradicate poverty) and 4 (provide quality education), and their relationship to Goal 16 (attain peace and justice for inclusive societies and institutions), outlined in Agenda 2030.

Panelists shared their stories of activism in relation to each goal to convey that activism can start at a young age. Ms. Frances Simpson Allen and Mr. Sering Falu Njie emphasized that in order to for the SDGs to be successful, young people must be active and central in the SDG progress.

Ms. Pilar Harris, a NYU student and Urban Practice Fellow and Ms. Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow of the African Leadership Foundation, both stressed that Goal 4 has influenced and motivated them in their personal activism. Ms. Harris worked on the “Lyrics on Lockdown,” an educational program that works with incarcerated women in Rikers Island Women’s Prison, located at New York City’s largest jail complex. Ms. Mvurya emphasized the need to focus on the quality of education, as students are not provided with adequate resources for success in her home area of Kenya. Mr. Austin Schiano, Partnership Director of the Give Me 5 Campaign, expressed that his campaign is integral to Goal 1. The Give Me 5 Campaign focuses on the fact that only 5% of global military funds are needed to help alleviate, and eventually eradicate, global poverty.

Each panelist highlighted the importance of their work in relation to achieving Goal 16, which is to promote peaceful and inclusive communities centered on sustainable development. By granting every child access to quality education and in working to eradicate poverty, Sustainability Goal 16 can move societies away from exclusive practices and towards a reality where all can prosper.

Meeting: DPI/NGO Youth-Led Briefing, “1 + 4 = 16, Targeting Poverty and Education for Peace.”

Date/Time/ Location: Thursday, 3 November, 2016; 11:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Maxine Davila, Youth Representative, WAFUNIF; Jadayah Spencer, Youth Representative, New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence; Jeff Brez, Chief, NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events, Department of Public Information; Mitchell Toomey, Director, SDG Action Campaign, UNDP; Pilar Harris, NYU Student, Urban Practice Fellow; Sering Falu Njie, Deputy Director, Policy, UN Millennium Campaign; Austin Schiano, Partnerships Director, Give Me 5 Campaign and Member of Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs New Leaders Program; Umazi Mvurya, Development Fellow, African Leadership Foundation; Frances Simpson Allen Programme Management Officer, Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth at United Nations

Written By: Leticia Murillo and Donna Sunny, WIT Representatives

El Niño, A Continuing Global Threat

 

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In this session, the General Assembly discussed the environmental and socioeconomic effects of El Niño, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with extreme and dangerous impacts on global weather patterns. H.E Mr. Peter Thomson began and stated that El Niño has directly affected over 60 million people globally. The negative effects on communities worldwide have been profound, including malnutrition, waterborne diseases, and limitations to healthcare and educational resources. Additionally, he highlighted El Niño’s detriment to the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. In many cases, El Niño’s weather patterns have already undermined progress made since the SDGs were implemented in 2015. H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez brought attention to Peru’s exceptional vulnerability to natural disasters given its geography. As a result, Peru has instituted preventative measures and increased focus on risk management. He noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set clear global targets for disaster risk management.

The Representative of Ecuador added that the peak period of El Niño ended in May, however the economic impacts remain difficult to measure. He explained that El Niño has decreased harvest crop volumes, destroyed rural infrastructure, and increased food insecurity in the region. He emphasized the importance of the government prioritizing water accessibility. H.E. explained that water can be used for energy and agricultural irrigation as well as for drinking and sanitation. In addition to the federal government taking action, he acknowledged the importance of coordinating solutions with local governments to ensure the safety to all people in Ecuador. He urged other countries to adopt a proactive, rather than reactionary, approach to natural disaster, and stated that Ecuador’s early actions can save thousands of lives.

Meeting: Plenary Meeting, “Action-Oriented Recommendations to Address the Socioeconomic and Environmental Impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño Phenomenon,” (Item 13).

Date/Location: Wednesday, 2 November, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez, Permanent Representative of Peru; Distinguished Representative of Ecuador

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

50 Years of Human Rights Covenants

 

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Wednesday, October 19th,  the General Assembly celebrated and discussed the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). His Excellency Peter Thomson began by summarizing the success that the Human Rights Covenants have had over the past fifty years. He stressed that the covenants have transformed lives by changing constitutions and laws and legally obligating states to recognize and protect individual human rights. He iterated the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and argued the need for the Agenda and the covenants to proceed jointly. Additionally, he pointed out that the adherence to the covenants is necessary in achieving SDG 16 (promoting peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development), upon which all the other SDGs are reliant. Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also expressed the idea that promoting human rights pushes states toward greater stability. Furthermore, he argued that the Paris climate change agreements found their roots in the ICCPR and ICESCR, and they promote the right to highest attainable standard of health. The Representative of Chile on Behalf of the Latin American states added that the ICCPR and ICESCR are both closely linked to sustainable development, an integral part of human rights.

Mr. Waleed Sadi expanded on the importance of the coordination and cooperation between both of the covenants. He pointed out that the United States had both signed and ratified ICCPR, but had only signed ICESCR. The Representative of the United States expressed the importance of promoting human rights in the United Nations and emphasized a strong commitment to doing so. Additionally, she argued that the ICCPR guarantees steady progress towards the goals outlined in ICESCR.

Meeting: “Implementation of Human Rights Instruments: Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016; 10:00; General Assembly Hall

Speakers: His Excellency Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly; His Excellency Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations; Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mr. Waleed Sadi, Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Representative of the Asia-Pacific group; Representative of Georgia on behalf of Eastern European states; Representative of Chile on behalf of Latin American states; Representative of the United Kingdom and Ireland on behalf of the Western European states; Representative of the United States

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

Launch of “Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster”

The launch of the report, “guidelines to protect migrants in countries that are experiencing either conflict or natural disasters”, served as a concrete contribution to addressing the problems that migrants could face come the large movement of refugees in September. Panelists commented on the fact that recent events have shown how vulnerable migrants really can be during a crisis in their host country. Sir Peter Sutherland was thanked for his efforts in 2013, calling on the United Nations to make take initiative on this issue and urging both government agencies and community organizations to work harder in ensuring beneficial knowledge to all, regardless of immigration status. It was also mentioned that there will be two UN summits this summer that will focus primarily on migrant protection during vulnerable times and discussing the global responsibilities all countries share in helping these migrants. Noted, was that the MICIC guidelines have served as a model for state-led guidelines that are focused on practical application. It is also important to note that MICIC has not produced anything binding or legally obligating, but rather a piece of a much larger set of policies to improve migrant protection.

Ms. Lourdes Yparraguirre mentioned that 10% of Philippinos are located in over 200 countries worldwide, which is why policies and programs have been created to address their crisis situations. Many other countries are said to have no record of who the incoming migrants are and where they are from. It has become obvious that guidelines are needed to be set to protect these migrants and the United States and Philippines are the ideal leaders, said panel members. The 10 key principals were then reviewed by the panel on the notions of the need to focus on preparedness, emergency response, and post-crisis action.

Meeting: Launch of “Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of the Philippines, the United States Mission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM))

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 15, 2016; 10:00-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Ms. Lourdes Yparraguirre, Representative of Philippines mission to the UN; Sir Peter Sutherland, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration;

Written by: WIT Representative, Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

 

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

The New Frontier of Food Security

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    The meeting opened with Ms. Barthelemy presenting notable points regarding the recent reports on agriculture development, food security, and nutrition. Not only is “sustaining rapid progress in reducing hunger” feasible, but “investing in sustainable food systems will benefit numerous other goals such as eradicating poverty and combating climate change.” A global political commitment to this endeavor is needed.

    From here the floor opened for statements. South Africa, on behalf of Group 77 spoke first. While there has been considerable progress made, there is still much to do as progress has been extremely uneven.

    Sierra Leone, on behalf of the African Group, noted that investment in sustainable agriculture has proven to be twice as effective as any other type in reducing poverty. They asked for specific assistance in eradicating child malnutrition which still is prevalent in many regions of the world, especially Africa.

    Bangladesh, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, noted that the last 30 years have reduced malnutrition by 10%. Guyana, on behalf of Caricom, observed that the annual investment of $267 billion is needed to end hunger. Myanmar, on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, noted that over one billion people live in extreme poverty, and 75% of them live in rural parts of developing countries. Australia focused on its commitment to delivering an outcome on export competition.

    Having graduated out of the FAO World Hunger map, Brazil can demonstrate that “social protection measures help break the cycle of rural poverty and vulnerability, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures. Their “Zero Hunger Program”, Mexico’s “Cruzada Nacional Contra El Hambre” and Niger’s “3 N Initiative” must be increasingly shared as successful poverty-combating initiatives.

Meeting: 2nd Committee, 25th Session

Date/Location: 11/2/15, Conference Room 2

Speakers: Marion Barthelemy, Officer in Charge, Division of Sustainable Development, DESA; South African Representative; Mr. Sheku Mesali, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Sierra Leone to the United Nations; Mr. Andalib Elias, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh; H.E. Ambassador George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana; H.E. U Kyaw Tin, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Senator Barry O’Sullivan, Cairns Group; Mr. Eyal Sela, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel; Nicaraguan Representative; Belarusian Representative; Ms. Cindy Eu, Delegate, Permanent Mission of Singapore; Russian Representative; Brazilian Representative; Qataran Representative; Sri Lankan Representative; Sudanese Representative; Mrs. Nicola Barker-Murphy, Counsellor, Jamaica; Gabonese Representative; H.E. Mr. Antonio Gumende, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Mozambique; Chinese Representative; Thai Representative;  Japanese Representative; Mr. Mishaal K. Albannai, Third Secretary, Kuwait; H.E. Mr. Wilfried I. Emvula, Ambassador & Permanent Representative, Namibia; Mr. Jean-Francis Zinsou, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin

Written By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Stephen Morrison/AusAID

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