Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

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Today’s afternoon meeting held by the UNAIDS council presented a panel of well renowned HIV/AIDS activists, expressing their plea for the continued support of the UNAIDS program in order to one day have an AIDS-free society. The President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, began by praising UNAIDS’ commitment in acting swiftly and their intensified efforts to end HIV transmission. Five years since the UN has joined forces in the global fight to end child transmission of AIDS, significant progress has been made. Noted, was the fact that since inception, 33% of pregnant women now have access to treatment that allows them to stop AIDS from transferring to their newborns. Speakers addressed that an AIDS-free generation requires much more action that is aligned with Agenda 2030. Transmission rates must decrease significantly between mothers and their children by scaling up treatment for the mothers. Work on the ground, directly with the affected population and promotion of access to treatment and funding to countries that are overwhelmed by the epidemic need to be considered.

The Executive director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, then took the stand and thanked all the countries that are joining the UNAIDS mission to eliminate children born with AIDS. He mentioned that stigma is still one of the biggest challenges behind the fight against HIV/AIDS and that member states must all partner up to stop it. A video was shown of the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya thanking the 21 Sub-Saharan African countries for their unwavering support and partnership. It was mentioned that the only 100% effective way to stop the transmission of AIDS from mother to child is to target adolescent girls and ensure their prevention from getting infected. The meeting ended with the General Assembly President thanking all who participated and showed.

Meeting: Delivering an AIDS-free Generation

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, June 8, 2016; 13:15-14:45; Conference Room 3

Speakers: Ms. Whoopie Goldberg, Host of the View; Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of UN General Assembly and Ambassador of Denmark; Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive director of UNAIDS; Mr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health in South Africa, Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia; Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF; Annie Lenox, acclaimed singer and songwriter and founder of SING; Deborah Birx, Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to combat HIV/AIDS; Piyasakol Sakolsataydorn, Minister of Public Health of the Kingdom of Thailand

Written by: WIT representative, Amirali Agha-Khan

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

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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

 

Ebola Trend Report In West Africa

   Mr. Nabarro briefed the UN on Wednesday on Ebola and the work he has been doing. He mentioned that the number of people with Ebola in West Africa has declined in recent months even though the outbreak is not completely over. The good news is that transmission of the virus has stopped in Liberia and Sierra Leone and both countries are in a 90-day period of enhanced surveillance as they are determined to avoid a recurrence. The trend in Guinea is also positive and the country started its own countdown to having an interval of 42 days after the last case. Mr. Nabarro expressed his delight in the leadership that has been shown in all 3 of the affected countries and also at the way in which the international community continues to be engaged.

He also discussed his priorities going forward. First and foremost, Mr. Nabarro wants to ensure that survivors are able to maintain good hygiene, practice safe sex, receive psychological and medical support, and in some cases economic support as well. He also wants countries to have the capacity to protect, detect, and to respond in place to any possible resurgence. Finally, Mr. Nabarro wants to honor those affected by outbreak by making sure that such deadly diseases are dealt with in a better manner in the future.

For the WHO, Mr. Nabarro also had three recommendations that have been accepted by the WHO’s director-general. They included the WHO being neutral and free of political pressures, instituting a powerful and integrated program for outbreaks and emergencies, and independent oversight of the organization.

Meeting: Press briefing by the Spokesperson [Guest: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola]

Speaker: Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Ebola

Written By: WIT Representative Tania Makker

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

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

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

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

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

Achieving Sustainable Development Through Employment Creation and Decent Work for All

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

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

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

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

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

Contribution of Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport to Sustainable Development Goals

06-20-transportSustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) is a network that integrates sustainable transport into worldwide policies. Comprehensive sustainable transportation plans reduce negative environmental and security outcomes and advance progress towards fulfilling the SDGs. Aimée Gauthier asserted that, because SDGs are highly ambitious but non-binding, they could aim to set a higher standard for sustainability in transportation. However, tracking data poses a problem–to confront it, she recommended distinguishing between personal and public transport, measuring how many people live near transport, and encouraged people to consider walking and cycling.

Don Chen called transportation the “cornerstone” for development because encompasses more than simply mobility. Indeed, maximizing accessibility and location efficiency, along with mobility, would help people across all the socioeconomic spectrum. With regard to non-state actors’ involvement, Chen believed that the risk capital model allowed funded groups to make innovative progress in research and statistics. He predicted a growing role for non-state actors in infrastructure development.

Ms. Flax introduced 100 Resilient Cities, which partners with cities to develop strategies that prepare for shocks and stresses. This global network of cities share a broad, holistic view of resilience within which transportation plays a significant role. It is important to protect transportation infrastructure so that it may contribute to positive externalities.

Mr. Salamat addressed the role that the UN plays with regard to sustainable transport by dividing its functions into three categories: analytical, operational, and motive. Ms. Weisbrod believed there should be a focus on maritime transportation. Millions of people using ferries in the developmental world are being overlooked. Intra-urban ferry access should be a mode for transportation, and would help alleviate congestion in cities.

Meeting: Contribution of Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport to Sustainable Development Goals
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room A, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Moderator Karl Peet, SLoCaT Sustainable Transport Research Coordinator; Aimée Gauthier, Chief Program Officer, Institute for Transport and Development Policy; Don Chen, Director, Metropolitan Opportunities Unit and Just Cities Initiative, Ford Foundation; Leah Flax, Project Manager, 100 Resilient Cities; Mohammad Reza Salamat, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Roberta Weisbrod, Executive Director, Worldwide Ferry Safety Association; James Goldstein, Research Director, Communitas Coalition
Written by WIT Representatives: Ellie Guner and Alis Yoo

Power of Collaboration – Women, Technology, and Social Innovation

Women-working-international-resizeThe purpose of this meeting was to talk about women’s equality in the private and business sectors and in collaboration with civil society. Mr. Molinari focused on moving capital around businesses run by women, stating that “women are not looking for handouts; they are looking for access to capital.” Gate Global Impact has partnered with organizations like Microsoft and OPEC to invest in technologies and ways to disrupt the means by which capital is formed. Ms. Scott discussed the various “thermostats of inequality,” using data from 2013 in European countries like the Czech Republic and Hungary. The female-to-male ratio for tertiary education and professional jobs in these countries was favorable from a gender equality standpoint, but that same ratio for labor participation, similar pay for similar work, and roles and wages was not equal.  Ms. Scott also discussed the Russian Doll Effect, which is the idea that if girls are not nourished as children, poor states of health will remain in the family for generations. Professor Ritschelova continued by discussing reasons why women do not represent a larger percentage of the labor force. She cited a lack in education–499 million women worldwide have no education–and access to information as the two most significant reasons.  Ms. Macdougall talked about providing incentives so that banks will invest more capital into women. Ms. Chowdry also spoke about the importance of financial inclusion of women and integrating them into the economy more fully.

Meeting: Event on “Power of Collaboration: Women, Technology, and Social Innovation- Creating the Future of Inclusive, Sustainable Economies” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic and the Impact Leadership 21)
Date & Location: 25 March 2015, Conference Room 2, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ambassador Edita Hrda, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations; Ms. Janet C. Salazar, CEO and Founder of IMPACT Leadership 21; Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury, Former Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the United Nations; Mr. Constance J. Peak, CFO, Chief Strategist, and Co-Founder of Impact Leadership 21; Mr. Amir Dossal, Global Partnership Forum Chairman; Mr. Vincent Molinari, CEO of Gate Global Impact; Professor Linda Scott, DP World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Professor at the University of Oxford, Founder of Double X Economy;  Professor Iva Ritschelova, President of the Czech Statistical Office; Ms. Lisa Macdougal, Representative of Goldman Sachs; Ms. Nalia Chowdhury, TeleConsult Group Chairman, formerly Grameen lead on Village Phone Project; Ms. Elizabeth Isele, Founder and President of Senior Entrepreneurship Works
Written by WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Community and Policy Action to Empower Women

2415633098_37d02e886aMs. Colakovic discussed the status of women in Bosnia, where 25% of peacekeepers are required to be women. Currently, 10 safe houses for women exist and victims of domestic violence are now more encouraged to report violence to NGOs and agencies working on issues related to domestic violence and protection. Ms. Colakovic stated that the most common form of violence is psychological followed by physical and sexual abuse.

Ms. Sisic asserted that to feel safe and protected is a human right. Violence against women and girls is a global human rights issue fueled by a global power imbalance. She stated that political action–not just political will–must be increased. Ms. Swahn explained that gender based violence and the global burden of alcohol are both barriers for development. People who are intoxicated have increased risk of rape and sexual violence, and very little research exists in areas where high levels of alcohol use take place, such as in African countries. Mr. Cortez introduced an initiative that UNDP and WHO are working together on to reduce alcohol consumption.  The goal of this conference is to interfere with health policy specifically in Africa, where alcohol policies have gotten stuck in draft phases.

Ms. Rojhani discussed how non-communicable diseases affect women and how they undermine sustainable development. At least half of the 40 million people with HIV are women, and women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV. Women in general are less responsive to health systems because of a lack of screening, a “one size fits all” approach, and lack of access.

Meeting: Three Major Epidemics Burdening Women: Community and Policy Action to Empower Women (organized by the Permanent Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina and IOGT International)
Date & Location: 18 March 2015, Conference Room E, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Kristina Sperkova, IOGT International; Aldijana Sisic, UN Trust Fund to End Women Against Violence; Adis Arnautovic, CEM Bosnia and Herzegovina; John Mututho, NACADA Kenya; Clifton Cortez, UNDP HIV, Health & Development Group; Ariella Rojhani, NCD Alliance; Monica Swahn, Georgia State University; H.E. Mirsada Colakovic, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN
Written by WIT Representative: Paige Stokols
Edited by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey

Leaving No One Behind: Tackling Inequalities In the Post-2015 Development Agenda

A.post-2015_12The meeting began with H.E. Anna Maembe’s remarks on Tanzania’s successes and challenges regarding sustainable development. As she pointed out, Tanzania has made significant achievements, like reducing its infant mortality rate and increasing primary education enrollment. It has, however, also faced difficulties in reducing poverty in rural areas as well as mitigating gender-based violence.

H.E. Juan Sandoval emphasized the need for reliable data in measuring social progress with a human rights perspective. He stated that the inclusion of youth, members of local and provincial communities, as well as the use of national indicators is necessary for sustainable development.

Mr. Roche stated that no target is achieved within a country unless all social groups meet the target, and that disadvantaged groups need to “catch up” in order to achieve national success. He addressed framework issues, disproving the belief that inclusion of marginalized groups inhibits progress. In fact, most of the countries that reduced inequality gaps and did not exclude disadvantaged groups achieved 6% faster progress.

Lastly, Mr. Bhattacharya addressed the issue of the meaning of “Leave No One Behind.” The definition, in the context of a universal agenda, applies to inequalities within countries as well as amongst them. He also stated that convergence is the common core issue in the goal of closing inequality gaps, and systemic concerns are the strongest interventions in achieving this.

Meeting: Leaving no one behind: Tackling inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda
Date & Location: 19 March, 2015, Conference Room 8, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers:
Elizabeth Stuart, Research Fellow, ODI; Jose Manuel Roche, Head of Research, Save the Children; Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Chair, Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals; Peter van der Vliet, Dutch Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN; H.E. Anna Maembe, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children, Tanzania
Written By WIT Representative: Elise Freeman
Edited by WIT Representative
: Philip Bracey