Commemorating World AIDS Day

 

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To commemorate World AIDS Day, various NGOs discussed the significance of civil society’s role in responding to gloabl HIV/ AIDS. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) cannot be eradicated without vaccines, and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) develops in some people after exposure to HIV. People living with HIV can avoid developing AIDS if they are tested and receive treatment early. Dr. Padmini Murthy, global health director/ professor at New York Medical College, considered AIDS as an issue of gender equality. Women are more prone to AIDS due to biological makeup. Getting tested is a high-priority following unprotected sex, or in cases of sexual assault. According to Dr. Murthy, women are less likely to be proactive in obtaining and initiating condom use during intercourse due to societal gender roles in heterosexual encounters. She sighted education and empowerment as key factors in discontinuing this pattern. Simon Bland, director of the UN AIDS office of New York, tested the audience’s knowledge on statistics surrounding HIV/AIDS. Currently, 37 million people live globally with AIDS. The majority of new HIV infections are in young women having heterosexual sex. Only 60% of individuals living with HIV are aware of their positive status.

Eric Sawyer, co- founder of ACT UP and the Housing Works and Health Gap organization, discussed initial responses to AIDS in 1981. There were extreme stigmas. Fear and neglect of diagnosed individuals made living with HIV/AIDS that much more frightening and isolating. Many who tested positive were fired, evicted, and shunned. Only two funeral homes in New York City were willing to embalm HIV positive bodies. However, 35 years later, Deborah Levine, executive director of Love Heals, happily announced that last year no child was born HIV positive in NYC. Molly McHugh, Communications Director of Grassroots Soccer (GRS), stated that GRS offers support to HIV positive youth by referring them to treatment and providing them with safe and supportive spaces.

Meeting: Briefing on “HIV and AIDS: How can civil society revitalize the response?” (on the occasion of the World AIDS Day) (organized by the NGO Relations, NGO Relations and Advocacy, and Special Events Section, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information (DPI))

Date/ Time/Location: Thursday, 1 December 2016; 13:15 to 14:30; United Nations Headquarters, Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Dr. Padmini Murthy, Global Health Director/Professor at New York Medical College and NGO representative; Simon Bland, Director of UN AIDS office of NY; Eric Sawyer, Co- Founder of ACT UP and Housing Works and Health Gap; Deborah Levine, Executive Director of Love Heals; Molly McHugh, Communications Director of Grassroots Soccer

Written By: Donna Sunny, WIT Representative

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A Resolution Toward Peace in Afghanistan

 

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On Thursday, November 17th, the General Assembly convened to address the resolution regarding the current situation in Afghanistan. Delegates expressed concern over issues within the war-torn nation and pledged to provide assistance to help rebuild the country. Delegates addressed the need to support the country in its efforts to strengthen the government. This must be done by fighting corruption and providing military and financial assistance. Delegations of Pakistan and the United States promoted negotiation settlements between the Afghani government and the Taliban to help achieve peace. However, the delegation of Afghanistan disagreed stating the government refuses to cooperate with the Taliban and any other organizations that continue to oppress the Afghani people.

Terrorist organizations prominent within Afghanistan have made it increasingly difficult for citizens to live safely. The deaths of millions of innocent people and the illicit drug trade as a source of income continues to threaten security. Last year alone, as highlighted by Lithuania, there were 11,000 civilian casualties, with 25% of those being children. By uniting international communities and working together, the fight can be won against violence and terrorist organizations. Additionally, gender inequality has been an issue within Afghanistan that delegations aim to address with the resolution. It was continuously stressed throughout the meeting that all forms of violence against women must be combatted. Women have become increasingly involved in political and social progress and creating spaces to empower women in this way can build peace. With political, social, and economic instability, Afghanistan has struggled to provide for the Afghani people. The resolution, on which no delegation has disagreed, will help promote the redevelopment of the troubled nation.

Meeting: General Assembly, 47th Plenary Meeting on the Situation in Afghanistan

Date/Time/Location: 17 November 2016, 10:00 to 13:00; United Nations Headquarters, General Assembly Hall

Speakers: Mr. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representatie of Germany; Mr. Mahmoud Saikal, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan; Mr. Mahmadamin Mahmadaminov, Permanent Representative of Tajikitan, Mr. João Pedro Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union; Ms. Michele Sison, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States; Mr. Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China; Mr. David Yardley, Counsellor of Australia; Mr. Vladimir K. Safronkov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia; Ms. Farzana Zahir, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives; Mr. Güven Begeç, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey; Koro Bessho, Permanent Representative of Japan; Mr. Michael Bonser, Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs of Canada; Mr. František Ružička, Permanent Representative of Slovakia; Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India; Ms. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan; Mr. Román Oyarzan Marchesi, Permanent Representative of Spain; Mr. Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium, Ms. Raimonda Murmokaifé, Permanent Representative of Lithuania; Ms. Inga Kanchaveli, Counsellor of Georgia; Mr. Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy; Mr. Ihab Moustafa Awad Moustafa, Minister Plenipotentairy of Egypt; Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh; Mr. Gholamhossein Dehghani, Deputy Permanent Representative of Iran; Mr. Barlybay Sodykov, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan; Mr. Tofig Musayev, Counsellor of Azerbaijan; Mr. Georgi Panayotov; Permanent Representative of Bulgaria

 Written By: Leticia Murillo, WIT Representative

 

Women and Girls in STEM

 

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Wednesday, the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) held a meeting concerning the advancement of women in science and the effects that media has on stereotypes in STEM. H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez stated that the SDGs are founded on science, technology, and innovation. He emphasized that gender equality is vital to their success. He related the International Day for Women and Girls in Science to SDGs 4 and 5 and stressed that setting up a commission for gender equality ensures future progress in sustainable development. He then explained that Malta would hold a conference in February focusing on science, gender equality, and sustainable development with an emphasis on the effects of the media. Ms. Rola Dahlan followed by adding that the adoption of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, if implemented properly, will lay ground for gender equality and women’s empowerment in science and technology. She stated that organizations can help by aligning their strategic direction to achieve full participation in science and access to high quality education.

Ms. Marie Roudil expressed that women account for only about 30% of researchers across the world, with the gender gap widening at higher levels of decision-making. She added that access to clean drinking water is necessary for dealing with climate change in a world with a constantly rising population. Mr. Maher Nasser explained that when young girls are put in an environment where stereotypes dominate, they do not perform as well as boys in STEM. However, when those stereotypes are not reinforced, girls perform just as well as boys. Mr. Navid Hanif concluded the meeting and expressed that the participation of women and girls in STEM varies dramatically by region. It should be noted that the terms “STEM” and “science” were used interchangeably throughout the meeting.

Meeting: Briefing on the “International Day for Women and Girls in Science” (co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Malta and the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT))

 Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 16 November 2016; 10:00 to 11:00; Conference Room 11

 Speakers: H.E. Mr. Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations; Ms. Rola Dahlan, Secretary-General of Women in Science International League; Ms. Marie Paule Roudil, Special Representative and Director of UNESCO Liaison Office; Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach, UN DPI; Mr. Navid Hanif, Director, Office of ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UN DESA; Ms. Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, UN DESA

Written By: Anna Prisco, WIT Representative

 

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

Valuing Women in Global Value Chains

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations held a side event on March 17th  during the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The side event focused on the role women play in global value chains, “the full range of activities that are required to bring a product from its conception, through its design, it’s sourced raw materials and intermediate inputs, its marketing, its distribution and its support to the final consumer.”

Ms. Simonetta Zarrilli moderated and opened the side event by expressing that global value chains offer women opportunities, yet present constraints. H.E. Anne Lammila listed priorities, such as stable democracies and the supporting of businesses in developing countries, when considering policy regarding the empowerment of women and global value chains. H.E. Lammila also expressed that although it is important to tackle issues concerning working conditions, international trade has increased employment for women, empowers women with better wages than traditional domestic work, and provides independence.

Following, Mr. Joakim Reiter shared UNCTAD’s gender sensitive lens. He reiterated that there are both pros and cons for women in global value chains, highlighting issues like the consolidation of farms, increased use of pesticides in commercial farming, and the lack of labor rights for women. Mr. Reiter detailed that in order to address these issues in global value chains, the “pandora’s box” of women’s issues must be opened. Next, Ms. Sheba Tejani shared her views about the impact of industrial upgrading, and its impact on gender inequality. She spoke of economic and social upgrading that must be done in global value chains. She used Kenya’s flower industry as an example of this.

Meeting: Trade and global value chains: how to address the gender dimension?

Date/Location: Thursday, March 17th, 2016; 11:30-12:45; Conference Room A, UN Headquarters, New York, New York

Speakers:  Simonetta Zarrilli, Chief, Trade, Gender and Development Section, and Gender Focal Point;  H.E. Anne Lammila, Ambassador-at-Large, Global Women’s Issues and Gender Equality of Finland; Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General, UNCTAD; Sheba Tejani, Assistant Professor, Political Economy, New School

Written By: WIT Representative Yume Murphy

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Enacting Gender Equality Legislation

 

 

The event was hosted by the IPU and UN Women to highlight the important role of parliamentarians in ending discriminatory laws and implementing legislations that promote gender equality within countries. Recalling both the 1995 Beijing world conference and the ratification by 189 states of the CEDAW, importance was placed upon the urgency of finally realizing gender equality. As Ms. Mensah-Williams noted, it is time that parliaments ensure that women empowerment is both protected as well as promoted throughout their legislation. Parliaments must become gender-sensitive entities. “Let us complete the unfinished business of women empowerment. It can no longer be business as usual.”

Mr. Glemarec noted that only through the attainment of gender equality can a sustainable future be reached. Parliaments can ease this process through passing/reforming legislation, voicing concerns of their constituents, ensuring that gender laws are adequately financed, and holding their governments accountable.

Mr. Claros explained that the World Bank has surveyed through constitutions to examine how countries use their laws to discriminate against women. Of the 173 countries surveyed, only 18 of them had laws across all areas that did not discriminate in some way. Ms. Duncan, shared the launching of a new UN Women database that lists gender equality provisions in constitutions across 195 countries: constitutions.unwomen.org/en.

Ms. Emaase said that KEWOPA has managed to pass and repeal legislation in a male-dominant parliament through lobbying, advocacy, and collaboration. Through the creation of the 2010 Kenyan constitution, KEWOPA has also gained greater voice in parliament.

Mr. Chauvel further highlighted the importance of supervising the gathering of data and statistics at the national level. In achieving the SDGs, it must be ensured that no one is left behind in data reporting. He urged that the economic situation of women be considered holistically and not be compartmentalized.

Meeting: “The Power of Legislation for Women’s Empowerment and Sustainable Development.”

Date/Location: Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.; ECOSOC Chamber

Speakers: Ms. M. Mensah-Williams, President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians; Mr. Y. Glemarec, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, UN Women; Ms. Y. Hayashi, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Mr. A. Lopez Claros, Director, Global Indicators Group, Development Economics, World Bank Group; Ms. Y. Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now; Ms. B. Duncan, Justice and Constitutional Advisor, Leadership and Governance, UN Women; Ms. M.O. Emaase, Member of the National Assembly (Kenya); Mr. C. Chauvel, Team Leader, Inclusive Political Processes, Bureau for Policy and Programmes Support, UNDP

Written By: WIT Representative Emilie Broek

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

The Introduction of Planet 50-50

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Today, Ms. Falk introduced the agenda for the event concerning making gender equality a reality by 2030, as well as, Ms. Amor, who sang “I Am a Girl.” Then, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke of the need to end harmful practices against women, which was reinforced by H.E. Mr. Lykketoft and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, who added that concrete steps aiming at further integrating women in politics and in the workforce need to be explored. H.E. Mr. Patriota stressed that CSW needs to work harder to implement gender equality as no country has yet achieved it.  H.E. Ms. Nusseibeh mentioned that central to UAE’s development policy has been focusing on integrating women into politics and urging girls to follow careers in STEM fields.  Next, Ms. Adams spoke of the need to tackle obstacles in financing gender equality, which was reinforced by Ms. Nathan, who mentioned the importance of public-private partnerships in this area.  Then Ms. Ptacek spoke of the need for better education for girls, while Ms. Singh gave her account of being an acid attack survivor.

In the second part of the event, H.E. Ms. Hamamoto mentioned the Gender Champions Initiative, to which over 100 heads of institutions in Geneva have signed gender parity pledges for. Next, Ms. Wainaina, Mr. Drennan, and Ms. Gallach mentioned that their reasons for being advocates for gender equality were rooted in their individual observations of the traditional roles of women in their childhood, in the criminal justice system, and in the field of journalism. Then, Ms. Terada and Dr. Dahlerup respectively spoke of the need to have greater instruments for monitoring the hiring processes at workplaces. Lastly, Ms. Fleming and Ms. Montgomery performed “How Can I Keep From Singing,” which was followed by Ms. Dora, Ms. Greene, Ms. Hardon, Ms. Frasier, and Messrs. Blake’s performance of “One Woman.”

Meeting: International Women’s Day Special Event: “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”

Date/Time/Location: Tuesday, March 8, 2016; 10:00-12:45; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Ms. Pamela Falk, Mistress of Ceremonies (MC), United Nations (UN) Resident Correspondent, and CBS News, TV, and Radio Correspondent; Ms. Tennille Amor, Singer; Secretary-General (SG) Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations (UN); His Excellency (H.E.) Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA); Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); His Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); Her Excellency (H.E.) Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United Nations (UN); Ms. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Board of the Global Policy Forum (GPF); Ms. Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President for Public-Private Partnerships at MasterCard; Ms. Fátima Ptacek, Youth Activist and the Voice of “Dora the Explorer”; Ms. Monica Singh, Activist and Acid Attack Survivor; Ms. Renée Fleming, Opera Singer; Ms. Jessie Montgomery, Violinist, Music Composer, and Educator at the Albany Symphony Orchestra; Her Excellency (H.E.) Pamela Hamamoto, Permanent Representative of the United States (U.S.) to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva; Ms. Carole Wainaina, the United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Human Resources (HR); Mr. Peter Thomas Drennan, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General  (USG) for Safety and Security; Ms. Cristina Gallach, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Communications and Public Information; Ms. Saori Terada, Adviser for Gender Integration to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Dr. Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University; Ms Andrea Dora, Ms. Alexa Greene, Ms. Imari Hardon, Ms. Ann Frasier, Mr. Thomas Blake, and Mr. William Blake (Broadway Singers)

Written By: WIT Representative Shubhangi Shukla

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: 50/50 x 2020

 

Gender Equality and Sustainable Development

The meeting opened with Ms. Puri giving an overarching statement on how crucial the empowerment of women is towards overall human and sustainable development, and how there is significant space for more forward movement.

The first panel focused on institutional arrangements for gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Mr. Patriota questioned how countries are editing policies to ensure effective equality. Mr. Jieyi noted the importance of women on the international community, and commented on crucial aspects of equality implementation. Ms. Bird spoke about the importance of civil society and businesses.

Mr. Mazeiks pointed out the Beijing platform for equality, and said it continues to be very relevant.  Mr. Donoghue continued by saying that in reference to Agenda implementation, it is crucial to keep gender perspective systematically mainstreamed into initiatives. Mr. Grant acknowledged the issues surrounding indigenous women and girls in Canada.

The second panel of this conference focused on efforts to finance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ms. Khan began the discussion by pointing out that insufficient prioritization of gender equality has lead to severe lack of financing. She then emphasized the need to place steps at the national level to monitor and track gender equality.

Mr. Lauber continued this sentiment by stating that empowering women is not only morally right, but also economically smart. This means implementing anti-discrimination laws and closing the gender wage gap. Ms. Thani agreed and pushed for a gender-inclusive approach to sustainable development.

Later, the panel addressed the negative impact of income inequality and its correlation to gender inequality. Ms. Carpentier called for gender-aware trade while Ms. Adams urged for better public financing, especially within the UN. Finally, Ms. Lizarde concluded this panel with her statement on translating recent gender equality commitments into concrete steps.

Meeting: Implementing the 2030 Agenda to Accelerate Realization of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls

Date/Location: Thursday, January 21, 2016; UN Headquarters; Conference Room 2

Speakers:

Panel 1: Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN-Women; Topic Introduction Ms. Christine Brautigam, Director, Intergovernmental Support Division, UN-Women; Moderator H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations; H.E. Ms. Gillian Bird, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Janis Mazeiks, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Michael Grant, Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations; Ms. Anita Nayar, Director of Regions Refocus

Panel 2: Ms. Zohra Khan, Policy Advisor, Governance and National Planning, UN-Women; H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Jurg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United States; H.E. Ms. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United States; H.E. Mr. Geir O. Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United States; Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, UNCTAD New York Office; Ms. Barbara Adams. Chair and Senior Policy Advisor to the Global Policy Forum; Ms. Rosa Lizarde, Global Director for Feminist Task Force

Written By: WIT Representatives Olivia Gong and Julianne Jeon

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: United Nations

United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport

Action_on_the_Ground_Peace_through_sport_540This meeting focused on incorporating sports into the work to achieve sustainable development goals. Mr. Ban Ki-moon addressed how sports can, “keep kids in school, promote leadership, encourage healthy lifestyles, and empower marginalized communities.” Mr. Kutesa emphasized that sports can teach young children about teamwork, leadership, fair-play, and resilience, stating that “sports have the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Dr. Bach discussed how the IOC has made a positive impact on the world by donating more than 90% of all its revenue to different sport organizations and players.

Sir Craven stated that sport is the antithesis of war, as it unites all types of people, improves self-discipline, and teaches fair-play. Mr. Donoghue discussed how sport will be harnessed over the next 15 years, with hopes that it will be possible to recognize the power of sport in sustainable development and peace in the post-2015 agenda. Ireland is a strong example of a country in which athletics, such as soccer and rugby, act as essential parts of society, economics, and culture.

Mr. Kim discussed the inclusive nature of sports to foster peace and dignity. He hopes that Gwangju Universiade 2015 will have positive impacts worldwide. Ms. Ruggiero explained how sports can impact women and minority groups–they can help women confidently take control of their own well being, and can also help integrate different socially excluded groups back into their communities.

Dr. Blauwet mentioned that sports can be used as a tool to empower the disabled population as well as to positively stimulate economies, as seen in Beijing and Sochi. Ms. King delivered a powerful discussing the idea that access to sport equates to empowerment, which in turn can bring about powerful change. Ms. Farrell, an advocate for sport development and peace, closed by reiterating that leaders developed today are the footsteps to the the future of tomorrow.

Meeting: United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport
Date & Location: 15 April 2015, Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary- General; H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly; Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee; H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the UN, Co-Chair of the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace; H.E. Mr. David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN, CO-facilitator of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda; Mr. Angela Ruggiero, Olympic gold medalist, Member of the International Olympic Committee; Dr. Cheri Blauwet, Paralympic gold medalist, CHairperson of the Medical Committee of the International Paralympic Committee; Ms. Billie Jean King, Former no. 1 tennis player and advocate for gender equality; Ms. Asha Farrell, youth coach, A Ganar, Barbados
Written By WIT Representatives: Paige Stokols and Brian Lee
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