Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.
International Community Must Address Deepening Links between Migration, Development, Acting General Assembly President Tells Special Event
The United Nations General Assembly held a special event to discuss migration and development, including three panel discussions, entitled “Migration and development: Drivers and impacts”, “Facilitating labour mobility: Protecting migrant rights”, and “Towards the 2013 high-level dialogue and beyond”.
Acting General Assembly President Rodney Charles (Trinidad and Tobago) urged the international community to address the increasingly complex nature of migration and the deepening relationship between international migration and development. Shifting the emphasis away from the former predominant view on migration – with the goal of zero migration – Mr. Charles mentioned a few of the multitude of reasons for migration, including employment, family reunification, escape from poverty, violence and conflict, and others in the aftermath of disasters or environmental changes.
On International Day, UN chief, rights experts urge broad support for victims of torture
Marking the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined United Nations independent human rights experts and urged all Member States to accede to and fully implement the Convention against Torture and to support the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. More specifically, Member States are urged to improve efforts to promote a victim-centered approach, including access to redress and rehabilitation services. UN independent experts also emphasized that traumatized victims often struggle to obtain the physical and mental rehabilitation, justice, and compensation to which they are entitled.
Mr. Ban noted that the Committee against Torture, the Geneva-based body tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Convention, together with other UN human rights mechanisms such as the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Torture, are vital to strengthen a victim-oriented approach that also includes a gender perspective.
UN officials highlight key role of entrepreneurs in addressing development issues
Senior United Nations officials highlighted the essential role of young entrepreneurs in addressing global challenges and urged Governments to foster enabling business environments to help achieve sustainable development.
Speaking at the Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development in New York, President of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, stated that “[Entrepreneurs] must be encouraged to stand at the frontline of socio-economic change, in the service of sustainable development...They are the ones who are often best placed to take the first crucial steps towards breaking the cycle of poverty in their surroundings.”
Mr. Jeremic also noted that at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held last year in Brazil, countries recognized that Governments alone would not be able to achieve all commitments on sustainable development, and that the contribution of civil society and the private sector was crucial to innovation.
Security Council: force commanders of UN peacekeeping missions brief on main challenges
Military leaders from three United Nations peacekeeping missions in Africa briefed the Security Council on security challenges and detailed what is needed to support the “blue helmets” under their command, in an effort to more effectively assist local authorities and protect the people of the countries in which they serve. According to military officials, greater use of advanced military technology by UN peacekeepers would assist in efforts to minimize vulnerabilities and capitalize on opportunities.
Deputy UN chief calls for action on all fronts to end scourge of human trafficking
Speaking at the 13th Alliance Against Trafficking in Persons High-level Event, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson urged Governments, the private sector, civil society, the media, and ordinary citizens to help combat human trafficking, stressing that ending this scourge requires action on all fronts.
“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something,” Eliasson stated. He explained that individuals from different parts of society could contribute in different ways, including providing legal advice, sparking governmental action, and contributing monetarily.
The High-level event in Vienna was hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and aims to shed light on a range of financial, social, and legal factors surrounding the ongoing debate on globalization, migration, inequality, and trafficking.
UNICEF and Libya sign agreement to improve basic education system
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Libyan Government signed an agreement aiming to improve the basic education system in the North African country. The agreement calls for implementation of education policies, including the development of an education management information system, validation of early learning development standards, and the promotion of early childhood care. It will also support teachers’ training, risk education, and the establishment of inclusive education mechanisms in schools.
Vital resources needed as UN prepares to deploy mission in Mali, Security Council told
As the African-led mission in Mali, known as AFISMA, prepares to transfer responsibility to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), top officials are calling on Member States to contribute critical resources, including personnel and equipment, to Mali – still recovering from a conflict between Government forces and Tuareg rebels that uprooted hundreds of thousands of people since January 2012.
MINUSMA, established by the Security Council in April, will be responsible for supporting Mali with key tasks such as implementing the recent ceasefire accord and preparing for next month’s elections. The bulk of AFISMA’s military units will be ‘re-hatted’ and transferred to MINUSMA.
UN reveals progress in lowering HIV infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa
The United Nations agency spearheading the global AIDS response, known as UNAIDS, reports that new HIV infections among children have been reduced by 50 percent or more in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the latest progress report on the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive (Global Plan), Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia have reduced new HIV infections among children by half since 2009, while Tanzania and Zimbabwe are also making substantial progress. The report also indicates that there were 130,000 fewer new HIV infections among children across the 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa – a drop of 38 per cent since 2009.
UN climate change body applauds US climate change strategy
Officials from the United Nations climate change body, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have applauded President Barack Obama’s climate action plan, calling it a critical move forward on the path towards a new global climate agreement. The plan includes proposals to cut carbon pollution in country, prepare for impacts of climate change, and galvanize international action.
“When the United States leads action, it also encourages more rapid international efforts to combat climate change by strengthening political trust, building business momentum and driving new technology solutions,” stated UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres.
The US announcement comes amid ongoing UN-led negotiations on a universal treaty on climate change by 2015, which would enter into force in 2020, with the goal of keeping global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Security Council Adopts Text Urging Targeted Sanctions against Perpetrators of Sexual Violence during Armed Conflict
The Security Council held an open debate on women, peace, and security to address combatting crimes of sexual violence in armed conflict, culminating in the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2016 (2013). The resolution calls for the inclusion of sexual violence in the definition of acts prohibited by ceasefires and in ceasefire-monitoring agreements and urges the United Nations sanctions committees to apply targeted sanctions against parties committing sexual violence during armed conflict.
The Security Council further demanded that armed groups and armed forces immediately identify and release women and children forcibly recruited into their ranks. The Council also reiterated its demand that all parties to conflict cease all acts of sexual violence and enact specific time-bound commitments, including codes of conduct and military, as well as police, manuals, to prohibit such violence and hold violators accountable.
The Council also addressed the need to fight impunity and called upon Member States to investigate and prosecute perpetrators in their respective jurisdictions.
Topic In Focus
Samantha Power: Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
President Obama nominated Samantha Power to succeed Susan Rice as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Power, a longtime foreign and national security adviser to Obama, made her name as a writer, winning a Pulitzer Prize for her 2002 book, “A Problem From Hell,” described as unsparing account of why the United States did so little to prevent genocide during the 20th century.
Her supporters believe she will bring both intellect and a passion for human rights to the position. She was the founding director of the Carr Center For Human Rights Policy at Harvard and taught global leadership and public policy at the Kennedy School of Government. She is also a Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the National Security Council