Three draft resolutions, but still the same aims in the WHO

Now that the merging process is over in the World Health Organization, all countries find themselves arguing about the strengths and weaknesses of the three draft resolution they have. Even though each country seeks its personal interest, all of them are standing against the same issue, Antimicrobial Resistance. For instance, countries such as Ukraine admitted being in favor of the 1st draft resolution as its “clauses benefit and can help much better the country”. Nevertheless, the delegate affirms that that resolution emphasizes on aspects such as the awareness campaigns and education, which he believes are crucial. Indeed, he claims that “there are few laws regarding the use of antibiotics, and people remain unaware of the situation”. In Ukraine, prescription are not needed to buy those drugs. Although this is illegal, there is still a lot of over-the-counter selling.

Besides, according to the UK, one of the authors of that first draft resolution, the plan that they have set called DAIS, Development of Awareness, Innovation and Surveillance, focuses on a much efficient awareness, which is “key to developing countries as they need to be properly educated on the matter”. Although the UK supports the first draft resolution, the country is still open-minded to combining with the other drafts. “Everyone wants the same things, he says, but it all comes down to the preciseness and effectiveness of each clause”.

Obviously, the same sentiments were expressed by Germany, who invites other delegates to debate and amend the third draft resolution. As an author of that draft, the country thinks one of its advantages are that it includes the developping countries, through the creation of GARAR, Global Association Responding to Antimicrobial Resistance. In fact, that body works on both regional and global level, “providing immediate funds and care, having the objective to build up long term infrastructure”, as told by the German delegate.

To cut a long story short, all countries hope to reach an agreement by the end of the conference, and are convinced that the amendment process could lead to the resolution that suits all countries’ policies.

 

The Times of India.

An open letter to a terrorist

To the man who shot my parents,

It took me a while to digest the news. It took me a while to accept that someone could be so far gone as to not reflect on his deeds, to be incapable of empathizing.

When the news was brought to me, I was picking out a cake for their anniversary. Do you understand what that means? Because I don’t think you could be half as dedicated to your religion as they were to each other; or perhaps you don’t understand because it isn’t inscribed carefully enough in the Quran. I could use bigger words, playing with sentences was something my grandfather taught me well. But I fear that you will not understand those either.

Is your god so weak that he needs you to defend him?

I pity you. I pity you because you will never know the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby or her soft gentle hands that put you to sleep. I pity you because clearly your father never taught you what it means to be a man. I pity you because your world is built on violence and sadism instead of love and compassion. Mostly, I pity you because all you will ever know of this beautiful world is guns and destruction.

You see, I was ten when my mom told me and my brother that death was natural. I wish I understood then, she was just subtly telling me that she and dad won’t always be around. I wish I’d finally learnt how to make that ginger tea and sew a button on occasion.  I wish I could make dad proud before you decided to take him away.

But then I realized something. I realized that my father was proud that I wasn’t raised like you. That they know the value of the knowledge they passed on and they know I was better than seeking revenge. I realized people miss them, they will always hold that special place because we won’t allow them to be lost into oblivion. But you? Your own damn god will be placing a bet on your death, and you will be forgotten like the remaining ashes of a fire that caused nothing but fear and loss. You will roam these empty streets as mere shadows of the past. You will learn that words are mightier than a sword; mighty enough to help collapse an entire world once uttered, mighty enough to destroy lives.

I remember when mother spoke the most beautiful lies in the world to me, cradling my head in her lap, she spoke of unicorns and rainbows built on promises of a better world. Now, those lies are stuck under the debris along with her remains and with them lies my heart, sanity and humanity.

As I walk around the city, I survey the remains of the battleground. Hearing the echoes of the cries that helped build this ground brick by brick and have now broken it missile by missile.

If you win, know, that the taste of victory will be as bitter as acid on your tongue and the tears that were shed and wounds that bled will hang like an albatross around your neck. You may conquer the world, but with no one left to inhabit it.

Regards

The girl who will smile regardless.

Pressing Political Divide — The Dual Code

In the grand, well-lit, and futuristic looking ballroom of the Legal Committee, a present and heated debate is ongoing. Hundreds of countries separate into two opposing blocs each supporting their own working paper. It seems that the room was divided by development level, with one bloc representing China, Russia, and South Africa, and another developing countries such as Argentina and Saudi Arabia. The political disagreement is intense when it comes to identifying commonalities and making compromises.

Under the topic of Offshore Resources and the Law of the Sea, major disagreement occurred on which issue should the committee address. The delegates of Mexico and of Saudi Arabia both expressed that the two blocs agree on matter of environmental regulation, demanding more administration by the UN Legal Committee. However, they diverge later on in the working papers about whether the Committee should address issues of landlocked countries accessing the ocean, or devote their resources to the territorial disputes in areas like the South China sea. The two areas are supported by developing and developed countries, respectively.

A number of developing countries, mainly in Middle East and Africa, have issues reaching the resources of sea and the oceanic trade-routes due to their geographic location. However, the access to the ocean is a crucial part contributing to the international relationship of small countries. Therefore, the bloc is demanding more support for oceanic access from the UN.

On the other hand, the stronger countries, including China, Germany and Singapore, addresses more disputes over territories, as well as accountabilities for environmental problems. The delegate of Argentina told the HIR that the working paper intends to “hold nations accountable to the waste in ocean”, and to encourage progressing “bilateral relationship together”. The delegate of Tunisia gladly provided the HIR with list of over eighty countries on the signatory, showing strong support for this working paper.

A Nigerian Alarm

A scene of panic unfolded in the Special Summit on Terrorism held earlier today. The news of 100 people being held hostage in Nigeria by members of Boko Haram had stifled the confident delegations from around the world. “It really changed our perspective on how we were to handle our current topic and our future involvement,” said the delegation from Finland.

Terrorist recruitment through means of social media led to the initial assembly of this summit, and these events seemed to have perpetuated a faster and more efficient plan to contain inspirations of terrorism. “In the beginning, we were focused on specific means of education, and while this still remains a focus, we have now shifted to look at more forceful and militaristic ways of preventing the spread of terrorism.” Finland was currently in discussions with countries such as the United Kingdom, Russia and China to formulate a draft resolution that would allow for developed nations to educate and lead military operations inside these countries.

Estonia partnered with the United States to create a draft resolution that would lead to less troops being sent into these countries, and focusing on more self-reliant means to build up economy and independent success.

“We are going to resolve these issue of terrorism recruitment from developing nations, and we are working very cooperatively with others countries to find a reasonable solution,” a confident Italian delegation told me. Finding the most effective plan is certainly on the forefront of every delegations mind, and the hostage situation in Nigeria has acted as a wake up call to find this plan quickly before it is too late.

WHO Knows What’ll Happen Next?

Who knows anything about anti-microbial resistance? Antibiotics? Bacteria? Most don’t bother learning more than what you’d find in an average biology textbook. The word antibiotics brings to mind the medicine you have when you get the flu, penicillin, and if you have a really good memory, Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered the drugs. But I’ll tell you who does know a lot about them, who has to know it because it’s part of the job description – WHO knows.

The WHO is the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations organization. The WHO knows that antibiotics are chemicals produced by certain special microorganisms. They have the ability to kill or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Anti-microbial resistance is the acquired resistance of a microorganism to an anti-microbial medicine which was previously used to treat it. This resistance is a threat to the treatment and prevention of a range of bacterial, parasitical, and viral infections that grows wider each year. Because of this, healthcare and research costs are increasing, surgeries like C-sections are becoming increasingly harder to perform, and more people are suffering, as microbes get sensitized, from diseases that used to be easier to cure. That’s why the WHO believes there is a need for immediate action, and all countries need to contribute.

That’s also why the WHO is currently discussing draft resolutions. The committee was, this evening, engaged in a question-answer session with the writers of Draft Resolution 1.3, with a panel of the six most important contributors answering questions about their paper. The purpose of this is the ironing out of kinks in the resolution. The delegates of Mozambique, Germany, Nicaragua, Senegal, the Ivory Coast, and Bahrain were in the process of explaining how and why their resolution would be effective, if passed.

However, the entire committee wasn’t completely sure that this was the best option. The questions that arose brought to light many of the concerns delegates had with regard to certain clauses of the question paper. The delegate of the USA had doubts about funding, and said that investment in anti-microbial research was at an all-time low. Where did they plan to produce investors from? The delegate of France wanted more specifics about the global fund the resolution proposed for all nations. It was supposed to be accessible to all nations in times of crisis, but France wasn’t so sure that it would be that simple. How did the six author countries know exactly what the needs of the other countries were, and what would prevent a country from siphoning money from the fund for its own purposes, even when there was no emergency?

Despite the concerns the committee had, the writers managed to answer. According to them, innovation funds would be set up all over the world by the Global Innovation Fund. This would focus on funding and recognizing scientists in antibiotic research who are normally simply published in scientific journals. They would also work with organizations to help scientists in developing countries. In response to questions about the creation of a global health fund, they proposed the establishment of global platforms for constant communication and discussion between the countries of the world. Hospitals, doctors, and science and health experts would also submit reports on the condition of the country in question before it could receive any funds, so that the country’s crisis could be confirmed as a real one.

But this was the discussion surrounding a draft resolution and not a true solution to the problem. All countries need to reach a consensus so that something can be done about anti-microbial resistance, which will, if carried out effectively, help what could grow to be millions of people all over the world.

 

Working Paper Controversies Wade into WCW

“World Conference on Women.” Words displayed on the screen in front of Room Back Bay A triggered my curiosity as I strolled my way through the busy, crowded hallway on the Second Floor last night. Carefully, I pushed open the wooden doors ahead of me and tiptoed in, only to find myself in the middle of a heated discussion on Topic Area A of the World Conference on Women: The Legality of the Commercial Sex Industry.

The delegation of the United States argued for the importance of working paper 1.5, a working paper that would be accessible to the varying policies of different governments. Describing other working papers as being “only specific to one policy and one aspect of the problem, such as criminalization, legalization, etc,” U.S. called attention to working paper 1.5 again, urging for its significance on resolving the existing problems prevalent in the sex industry. In agreement with the U.S., the delegation of Belgium was in strong support of working paper 1.5, which would undertake existing problems of the legalization of the sex industry, particularly the protection of sex workers, the enforcement of laws in countries, availability of contraceptives, and the issues of sexually transmitted diseases.

The delegation of Iran, on the other hand, disagreed. Suggesting working paper 1.1 would be the only paper that “suggests effective solutions to the key problem, sexual trafficking,” Iran emphasized on the necessity of establishing organizations to support victims who suffer from STDs, as well as a close-knit collaboration between nations on an international level to combat the issue of sex trafficking.

Following Iran’s strong support of working paper 1.1, the delegation of Myanmar introduced working paper 1.2 after its successful merge with working paper 1.3. The delegation of Myanmar claimed “it is hard for find jobs for prostitutes,” urging the importance of implementing a rewarding system between nations.

Throughout this committee session, the World Conference on Women had an array of underlying dissents within nations on the issue of the legality of the commercial sexual industry. The passing of working-paper seemed difficult in a short time with five different working-papers on the table and delegates’ inclination to focus on one aspect of the issue that concern them the most. Nevertheless, the merging of several working papers shed light on potential consensus and a faster dynamic within the committee in the future.

Everybody’s a “politician”(WHO follow up)

The consensus once reached in the World Health Organization has broken down, leaving many third world countries feeling unaccounted for. “The different blocs are pitted against each other like politicians” said Afghanistan, commenting on the throat cut debate that is adding to the frustrations in the room. One of the most prominent draft resolutions, Resolution 1.1, seeks to control antimicrobial resistance through a multi-step plan that includes educating the public through workshops to create awareness, improving healthcare facilities and laboratories, regulating the agricultural sector to control spread of the microbes, a tax-reduction incentive program to compel companies to research antimicrobial resistance, and finally funding.

Many third world countries feel as though Resolution 1.1 simply fails to step into the shoes of developing nations and take a look at antimicrobial resistance through their eyes. “Some people are calling for a complete ban of antibiotic use on food, but for smaller nations, that just isn’t possible” said Madagascar, who believes that while limiting antibiotic use on agriculture may help eradicate the problem, as one of the most impoverished countries in the world,  Madagascar believes that “food security comes first and foremost.” Ghana echoed similar sentiments saying that she “feels like people aren’t listening…antimicrobial resistance is a major problem in developing nations not developed nations.” Ghana also feels that there isn’t enough focus on developing nations in resolutions, stressing the importance of this in her logic that “if we can’t eradicate microbial resistance in developing nations they can never become developed nations.” Afghanistan agreed with this assertion, citing the fact that the current agricultural industry cannot support the 7 billion (and rapidly growing) world population.

Moreover, Resolution 1.1 cites usage of the Global Innovation Fund to provide financial compensation for research and infrastructure. The only caveat is that developing nations wouldn’t be able to choose where the funding given to their nation would go. Instead developing nations are expected to apply to the program and then can participate only after they are chosen. This plan doesn’t give developing nations much freedom or power in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, making developing nations less autonomous then they already are.

Ghana cites a major merge between resolution papers as a reason for the “understanding gap” between developed and developing nations. As tension grows so does the debate between third world and first world countries, we can only hope that amendments will be made to pacify the discourse.

Future Nuclear War Ahead?

The SPECPOL (Special, Political and Decolonization Committee) met one more time this Friday night to continue their discussion about colonization in of outer space.

Many developed countries agreed to send help to developing countries, especially in cases of asteroid extraction crises. The committee then propose colonizing other planets, developing a monetary fund and a new organization to control, and encouraging the privatization of space. Although working papers and speeches were made supporting these ideas, many delegations found the discussion on space colonization unfair on the part of developed countries because environmental concerns on Earth are more pressing.

“There are developing and colonized countries supporting imperialists counties when the topic is exploration and colonization of outer space, which is absurd. by doing this, they are ignoring our world and the sustainability of it. They are all just trying to find a ‘escape valve’ to all these problems and make profit over it”. The statement by the Equatorial Guinea represent the indignation of some delegates about some actions taking place in the committee. He also said that the developed countries are using the poorest ones to develop their own spatial race.

Bolivia, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea and South Africa wish to found an international organization to regulate and inspect outer space exploration under international jurisdiction.

However, while these discussions were taking place, Donald J. Trump himself showed up in the committee room talking about the USA delegation plan of building a nuclear power plant on lunar land. He also declared that all the profits used in the construction, transportation and storage of the necessary materials will all be provided by particular enterprises. Giving that, at the end, the United States president mentioned that there was no need for the people to pay taxes or duties for these projects.

Yet the announcement generated turmoil and unease. some delegations claimed that the United States was trying to take nuclear weapons to the moon, infringing on UN laws. Others think that was at least disrespectful for a president to come to a committee to say the USA would not be paying for the program. A few groups are also afraid of facing a probable future nuclear war that can devastate both the Earth and the Moon territory.

All Women Are Created Equal

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By Parmita Protik Das, CNN

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(CNN)—On approaching the Dais, CNN received rave reviews from the delegates in the Commission on the Status of Women. The Dais said that the delegates were performing astoundingly well and were on their fifth working paper. The Dais members informed me that the delegates were vacillating between criminalization of prostitutes, legalization of prostitutes or a combination of both. The Dias mentioned the wide range of issues the delegates covered including stigma, access to contraceptives and the social implications of prostitution.

The working papers had similar foundations such as provision of oral contraceptives and sex education classes. Some delegates believed in targeted efforts to help women facing economic troubles and advocated strongly for providing rehabilitation to women who were forced into prostitution or who wish to exit the trade. They believe women have the fundamental right to choice and establishing that right is the goal of the CSW. Regulations on mega-brothels were proposed for countries such as Germany and a particularly innovative solution was training law enforcement to identify signs of duress in prostitutes which could indicate sex trafficking. The reference to the success of the Polaris Project in the USA helped ground the delegates’ arguments in reality and they expressed their aim to establish similar projects worldwide.

Delegates in one bloc recognized that the legalization of prostitution would aim to protect the rights of sex workers, particularly in terms of rights to dignity and choice, freedom from stigma and respect for their privacy. They believed these objectives fell under the jurisdiction of the CSW. They believed that there should be a partnership between private and public institutions to increase the standard of life these prostitutes have. The underlying rhetoric in their arguments was that prostitution did not cause any third party harms and so should not be criminalized in and of itself. In fact, they said, prosecution would exacerbate the outlying problems.

Another bloc decided to take a more realistic approach. A delegate said, “We will allow nations to follow their own legislation regarding the legality of prostitution so that we do not breach any nation’s sovereignty which would be against the mandate of the UN”. They emphasized rehabilitation and the establishment of role models for the prostitutes. They proposed training (to reintegrate former prostitutes into the legal workforce), health classes, and provisions for testing for STDs. They recognized that prostitutes were particularly vulnerable to abuse- rape, violence, drugs- so they needed protection. Furthermore, these delegates believed that countries could work together and coordinate their efforts to stop sex trafficking through sharing “tips and tricks” and suspected sex traffickers should be monitored heavily.

Delegates emphasized that increased access to education would prevent prostitutes from being exploited and falling into the cycle of poverty. They encouraged incentivizing families to educate their children and thereby prevent families from opting into prostitution purely out of financial need.

On a broader level, they proposed a UN Trust Fund made of NGOs, willing countries and UN bodies to provide money to create schools for children of prostitutes. They suggested a three tier plan- Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation. The plan included the proposal to mobilize citizens to detect and report trafficking, initiating government programs to stem the online recruitment of children and utilization of mass media to raise awareness. The delegates hence demonstrated that they understood how cultural differences between countries affect this hot-button issue.

No Fracking Way!

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) is hard at work discussing their first issue: the geopolitics of alternative oil sources. Namely, the committee asks if countries should continue and expand a recent trend of fracking – the process of drilling into the earth to extract underground chemicals. This process has prompted many environmental concerns, as it uses a lot of water, may cause small earth tremors, and deters many energy firms from pursuing renewable energy sources.

The UNEA is ready to tackle this issue head on and are currently discussing seven working papers. Solutions to move away from shale gas range from encouraging countries to invest in renewable energy sources such as “solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal energy, and hydroelectricity” (working paper 3), to encouraging the “implementation of a transitional timeline to confirm hat shale gas be used solely as a ‘bridge fuel'” (working paper 5).

There are also countries like Venezuela, Qatar, and Angola, who think fracking should stop, especially due to the effects it can have on water supplies, but unlike others, believe that there is no need to move towards green energy because “using petroleum is good where it is.”

On the other end of the spectrum are countries like Argentina, the United Kingdom and the United States, who believe, as they open in their position paper (working paper 1) that the contributing countries believe the shale gas “is one of the best options to replace fossil fuels, but must be regulated.” To that end, they have created a commission to “sponsor scientists who will assess the damage hydraulic fracturing could inflict on the environment” and standardized regulations that all fracking countries must follow.

While these solutions are well thought out, and bring together many countries, there are, as in any committee, many similarities across papers. Because of this, when all seven working papers are presented in front of committee, delegates begin to point out minute differences rather than collaborating.

Seven working papers represent an astounding amount of ideas, but in the end, the Environment Assembly can only pass one resolution. To do so, they’ll have to narrow down their ideas and learn to compromise across papers.