Gender equality is the concept in which men and women deserve the same rights and opportunities. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the United Nations has regarded the importance of this human right by making it a central goal of the UN’s eight Millennium Development Goals. These objectives serve as a framework for eradicating poverty and encouraging global development. The gender equality goal aimed to “promote gender equality and empower women”; more specifically, it expected to “eliminate gender disparities in primary education and secondary education, preferably by 2000, and in all levels of education, no latter than 2015.” Fifteen years later, the UN has concluded in its final MDG report that even though gender gaps in access to education have narrowed, uneven progress has been made toward achieving the target at its core. As a result, many disparities remain in all levels of education: secondary and university education levels remain highly unequal and in many parts of the world women continue to face all kinds of discrimination in access to education, work, economic assets or participation in government.
Education is the fundamental principle that enables citizens to develop their own perspective of the world. As Malala Yousazfai said at the United Nations, “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”. Education gifts people with a voice, it allows understanding of your rights and duties, and it provides a person with the knowledge to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. However, despite the importance of receiving an education, in 2012, 58 million children were still out of school. Moreover, there are huge gender gaps in youth literacy rates. According to the United Nations 60 per cent of the adults and youth who lack basic reading and writing skills are women. It is crucial to think over this data and to take measures in this regard.
Before discussing about environmental sustainability, we should know the meaning of it. Environmental sustainability involves making decisions and taking actions that are in the interests of protecting the natural world, with particular emphasis on preserving the capability of the environment to support human life. Among 8 MDG goals, ensuring environmental sustainability is one of them.
The objectives of ensuring environmental sustainability are improving the sustainable management of natural resources, ensuring low emission project, transport systems, saving energy, promoting agriculture, reducing climate related threats towards the countries, sustainable access to safe drinking water including basic sanitation and by 2020, improving the living standards of around 100 million slum dwellers. Continue reading
Assertion for rights have become more pronounced now than ever before. It has been brought about by political and social transition that has come in the form of democracy. While right to life, liberty and property are epitomized as inalienable human rights by several political philosophers and subsequent documentation in numerous Charters, Conventions and Constitutions, of late, right to expression has gained momentum. Within it, right to criticize has found its place among the people to the extent that it has become a common activity —so many people, in one way or another, participate in it . Complaints, gossips and anonymous complainants in news forums are quite popular amongst us.
I have been reading Steve Biko’s “I Write What I like” and in it he opens up my eyes and names things I have been thinking about but have failed to give names to. Biko tackles lots of issues from colonialism to racism and imperialism. Biko confronts the issue of white guilt stemming from the past and how white South Africans, particularly, deal with this guilt. “Basically the South African white community are a homogeneous group of people. It is a community of people who sit to enjoy a privileged position they do not deserve, are aware of this, and therefore try to spend time trying to justify what they do and why they are doing so. Where differences in political opinion exist, they are in the process of trying to justify their position and usurpation of power” Steve Biko. Biko further suggests that white South Africans become liberal in hope to overcome their guilt, and not because they understand what black South Africans have been through, are going through and will continue to endure. Whilst Biko wrote the article during the epitome of Apartheid, his Black Consciousness (BC) ideals still prove to be necessary. It is however imperative that black people do not use BC ideals to perpetuate racism, for populist tactics that are likely to degenerate their countries into states of anarchy that undermine the democracies that were attained through blood, sweat and sacrifices.
International humanitarian law (IHL) is a universal code established to protect victims of armed conflicts. At first, the rules were not written, they were a matter of tradition, but over time they were enshrined in international treaties becoming laws of compulsory compliance. Nowadays, the main rules of international humanitarian law are contained in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977.
The laws set out in this treaty encompass two fields. On the one hand they protect people outside of the combat (civilians, the wounded and sick and people who are detained). On the other hand they restrict and forbid the usage of some weapons in warfare. The aim of IHL is to narrow the scope of hostilities without taking into account the moral status of the parties. The article is a complaint against the lack of importance given to these rules and its continuous violations which aren´t condemned.
After the Second World War most countries committed to obey IHL when they signed the Geneva Convention, but if we analyse some of the latest international news we can see that these rules are constantly violated. There is no guarantee that they will be enforced and the consequences of infringing the laws have not yet been resolved. Here are just a few examples of the ceaseless violations of IHL, which have occurred this year and have not yet been punished.
The rules of customary IHL say that victims of armed conflicts must be given medical care and that deliberate attacks against medical facilities, staff or transports are a violation of IHL (rule110). However, it is not difficult to find evidence of violations to this law. Last July, Al-Shifa medical compound and refugee camp in Palestine were struck by a missile and rockets, several civilians were injured and killed, and the hospital came under fire several times.
Without a doubt this a serious violation of IHL as the line had not been drawn between legitimate military objectives, which are the only legal targets to attack, and civilian ones. Another rule (rule 90) says that torture and inhuman treatment is prohibited, but since the breakout of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, armed groups from both sides have been accused of carrying out tortures, arbitrary detentions and abductions.
Although this issue has been addressed several times in the UN General Assembly, accountability processes have not started up yet. Rule 104 makes reference to the principle of distinction in saying that the religious practices of civilians and people who do not take part in the hostilities must be respected. Every person shall be treated regardless of his or her religion, sex, race, wealth, etc.
However, in many parts of the world this law have not been respected. Some countries such as Iraq and Syria are involved in religious and racial conflicts in which human rights principles have been constantly violated. In some regions of Iraq, such as Baghdad, religious centres have been destroyed, and in Syria people are persecuted for their religious beliefs.
After all these examples it is clear that the international community is not taking IHL seriously. On the one hand governments are not making any effort to preserve a certain degree of humanity in times of war, and on the other hand institutions have not yet settled clear accountability measures to punish such violations. Although the main international law-enforcing bodies of the United Nations as well as peacekeeping forces have voiced their concern over IHL violations, there is no evidence that makes us think that international law infractions will cease, as there are no serious accountability measures.
This issue is of extreme importance as it concerns the lives of millions of people who are suffering from hostilities, which have nothing to do with them. It is important to instruct soldiers and spread the principles of IHL in order to provide protection to the victims of armed conflicts and to make sure that the violations are being detected and tried in court. Otherwise, these rules would be worthless and dignity of life wouldn´t be protected.
• IHL Rules
• Syria violations of humanitarian law (video)
• BAYLIS, John; SMITH, Steve, OWENS, Patricia: The Globalization of World Politics: “An Introduction to International Relations”. Editorial Oxford, 2010.
• ICRC statement to the United Nations
• Inside a Gaza hospital during Israeli ground offensive. BBC News (video)
Education has two faces: learning and teaching.
People learn from each other as they teach each other. This means that from the moment you have learned and understood something, you can teach it.
The principle falls in line with the words of the American author and humourist, Mark Twain:
“It is noble to teach oneself, but still nobler to teach others!”
This quote is one of Model International Delegate’s philosophies to share something meaningful with people, so that they can pass it to others in return.
We, at MID, see education as a game, an important one; where there are winners and losers.
Why do people fail where others succeed?
Resources often make the difference. Specific knowledge is something you purchase and this fact brings a new element into the game: wealth.
Individuals can be rich either with their money, or with their knowledge; therefore creating a circle. People with money can afford higher education and people with knowledge can generate higher income. MID is there to hide the money matters in order to give everybody a chance of becoming something more.
Model United Nations around the world are very good schools. They often are student-led conferences for large scale youth participation and established at arelatively low cost. MUNs give every attendee the opportunity to improve his or her research and writing ability, analytical thinking, and communications skills.
Albert Einstein once said:
“The only source of knowledge is experience.”
Model United Nations is all about reversing the faces of education, giving young minds, notwithstanding their socio-economical background, the opportunity to learn from each other, teach each other, and therefore, impact their own destiny.
MUNs are one of Model International Delegate’s main focuses. Though they are excellent tools to educate people, some challenges prevail.
MUNs around the world have no common grounds. It’s a little bit like: “Do whatever you want”. This is a problem for the quality of MUNs and for the UN members that are concerned about how MUNs take place.
That is why we collaborate with organizations such as UNYANET and UNDPI in order to establish internationally recognized standards.
This way, MUNs will have a better visibility towards the United Nations and other institutions. Improved RoPs will increase conference quality and participation. And so on, our educational target will be reached.
Of course, working on these standards is not our exclusive activity. Model International Delegate is involved in several other activities with little or no relation towards MUNs. At the end, it’s all about inclusive and participative education.
We believe simulations and role-plays are the best tools for sharing knowledge and empowering one other. So, you can consider MID like a knot between the strings in the MUN world. In collaboration with the concerned UN departments, UNYANET, and with MUN delegations all around the world we want to build, together, a stronger,
safer and better future for everybody.
To conclude, the most important thing to remember about MID is the word “everybody”. MID is a tool for everybody, made by everybody. You are part of it from the moment you embrace it:
“Making a better world with a better education”
Consultant at Model International Delegate
The United Nations is not a finished product. And perhaps it never will be. UN Women as the youngest entity of the United Nations is a good example for the continuing renewal of the UN. It was ‘born’ in 2010, bringing together resources and mandates of four previously distinct parts of the UN system. By creating this institution, the UN General Assembly established one entity to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Considering that not one single country on this planet has yet achieved gender equality, the task of UN Women is tremendous. Worldwide, women suffer violence and discrimination, face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. In fact, gender inequality is one of the most persistent human rights violations of our time.
UN Women takes on this challenge and is a strong champion for women and girls, basing its work on landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Most recently, UN Women has launched its HeForShe campaign with the prominent support of the English actress Emma Watson. In the heart of the campaign lies the idea that gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that affects all of us – women and girls, men and boys. We all benefit socially, politically and economically from gender equality in our everyday lives. When women are empowered, the whole of humanity benefits. Gender equality liberates not only women but also men, from prescribed social roles and gender stereotypes. As Emma Watson put it in her speech that went viral: Men and boys should ‘have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.´ Gender equality is not a question about men or women nor a fight between the sexes. Gender equality is a shared vision of human progress for all.
A country example shows how far we are still from a gender equal world: The Dominican Republic, a middle-sized state in the Caribbean, exemplifies the long, rocky road ahead. One in five Dominican adolescents has been pregnant at least once, the maternity mortality rate is almost double the projected Millennium Development Goals, the rate of intimate feminicides is one of the highest in the region, and every-day sexism is part of the social reality. UN Women has established a National Programme in this country which aims to change public policies, i.e. the structural framework, in order to accelerate the progress towards gender equality. However, the underlying challenge is to change mentalities and perceptions. Men who are socially pressured to ´be a man´, own as many women as possible, be the strong part in a relationship, the provider in a family, the ‘macho’ and ‘tigre’. Women who perceive their societal role as limited to birth-givers, care-takers and accessories of men. Public policies are an important starting point for accelerating the social transformation to a more equal society in which everyone can live a life free of stereotypes and prescribed gender roles. UN Women is working towards this change – unfortunately, like many UN entities, with very limited resources. Transforming politics and minds – as long as it might take – will eventually lead to a full realisation of human rights for everyone. This is worth all the efforts.
Through the 29th and 30th of August, the 6th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum was celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. The theme for this year’s Forum was “Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Diversity for Common and Shared Values”, gathering heads of state and state representatives, academics, journalists and religious leaders from around the globe for a short but intense summit divided into break-out sessions dealing with such diverse topics as inter-religiosity in education or the treatment of migration stories in the media. Along with the Global Forum, a Youth Event took place during the 28th, where 100 youth from 41 different countries were selected from more than 3000 applicants to work together under the topic “The Role of Youth in Promoting “Unity in Diversity” through Education, Media, and Migration” in order to create youth-led recommendations which would be afterwards delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
I was one of the 100 lucky youths to actively participate in the Youth Event and attend the 6th UNAoC Global Forum, an experience I would like to share with a few words. The 28th was a very busy day. A briefing awaited us at 6:30 a.m. to go through the schedule of the day so there was little time to suffer the jet lag. Once at the convention center, after a welcoming speech delivered by the UN High Representative for the AoC Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, we split into four break out session with small discussion groups dealing with four main issues: Education, Media, Migration and Entrepreneurship/Employment. Every group consisted of around 25 participants but also of international observers and resource personnel. Amidst the 25 participants there was a facilitator, who mediated the discussion, two note-takers and a time tracker, who was to ensure the very packed schedule we had for the morning was adequately followed. Aside from a participant, I was also an active discussion member, serving as one of the note-takers in my small discussion group, which was in charge of creating recommendations dealing with the issue of migration. I felt happy and relieved to see that even though our roles had been strictly compartmentalized in theory, during the discussion the team of active participants helped each other in an effort to create a welcoming environment for everyone to contribute with their thoughts, to lead the discussion toward what were considered core issues and to phrase them in the shape of recommendations that would satisfy the whole of the group.
If there is something to learn from sitting at a table with 25 people you have just met, from many different countries and obvious different backgrounds, but all with a clear goal to achieve (and a tight schedule to do so) is that it can become frustrating, and at the same time incredibly intense and inspiring. Whatever you consider to be the pressing issues in your country, your culture or the political system you live in, they are probably not of much importance to someone living on the other side of the world, and that is OK. By sitting at such table one hears (probably for the first time) about the issues of the other. We learn to listen, we practice empathy, and struggle to compromise. With an exercise like this one it is also made clear how painfully difficult it must be in a real meeting between state representatives, as every word is questioned over and over and a single sentence feels like a great achievement. By the afternoon, after a quick lunch and even quicker visit to the Taman Ayun temple to clear our minds, the recommendations were ready to be read out loud, tweaked a little bit and declared finished. An inspiring speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, including a short but amusing Q&A, closed the day. Many ran to shake his hand or take a selfie, only a few succeeded. After a huge group photograph it was time to go back to the hotel.
A few days after the Youth Event, all of us back in our countries, we receive an email from Francesco Candelari, one of the incredibly professional AoC staff that accompanied us during the whole trip: our recommendations will in fact reach the desk of the Secretary General and will also be given to the Secretary General Envoy on Youth Ahmad Alhendawi. But bear in mind, thousands of recommendations are produced by the international community every year and not all of them can be properly followed up. Expect no miracles, is what he is stating politely. Even so, at the end of the day, it is not that important if our recommendations are actually taken into account. What matters is the chance of getting to know like-minded, brilliant people and, through talking to them, opening small windows into their worldviews, their cultures and hopes for the future. All the conversations I had during the three days of the Forum, however brief, have helped shape me into a better, more open and understanding person. I believe it felt the same to my fellow youth participants, and that is a very good step towards become a future leader, if it is the path of any of us to become one. After all, that is what the UNAoC Youth Event was truly all about.
Auditing, a familiar term, is used in the corporate world more frequently. Among various types of auditing, IT auditing is one of them. Before discussing about IT auditing, it is necessary to give you a brief idea about what do we mean by auditing? Auditing is the process by which a competent, independent person accumulates and evaluates evidence about quantifiable information related to a specific economic entity for the purpose of determining and reporting on the degree of correspondence between the quantifiable information and established criteria.