The articles written during the Conference by the BIMUN Tribune will be posted here.
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20.11.2020 - Day I
Dr. Seif Hamisi - Guest Speaker of UNCCD
Doctor Seif Mutinda Hamisi is currently the leader at Forest Landscape Restoration Intitiative in Africa at World Wide Fund for Nature in Tanzania. As a former lecturer in Natural Resources Development, he has profound knowledge on environment protection and wildlife project management; he also campaigned and taught sustainable living to ensure coexistence with other species. He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1990 at the University of Nairobi from Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, and Population Biology. In 2003 he became a Doctor of Philosophy from Conservation Biology at the very same university. He also has experience in IWRM working as the Regional Program Coordinator in conservation of the Mara river with a team of experts. Having served as a conservation manager in WWF Zambia for five years, he got promoted to work for Africa Region Conservation Initiatives for WWF Regional Office for Africa in Kenya until June this year.
- Julia Perendyk
Jedi to NATO: ‘May the force be with you’
‘That’s one step of (a) man, one giant leap of mankind,’ prescribed Neil Armstrong while taking his first steps on the previously uninhibited moon. Indeed, what had started as a tiny floating ball catapulted into space by the Soviet Union back in 1957, has been steadily turning into what a half a dozen of astronauts would at the moment call their floating home. What had started merely as fiction stories centuries ago, is now a reality; the space age has started.
Back in the days, humans used to look up at the sky for inspiration, for seeking the higher power of the universe. Comparatively, modern humans now look up there for opportunities, for proclaiming the higher power themselves. Resources, communication, transportation, and even manufacturing are slowly migrating up through the altitudes of the sky by the year. Competing over overarching technologies, both literally and figuratively here, is a marathon run that countries are investing tons in. With thisin mind, the international community has a responsibility to protect.
Realizing the worth and the vulnerability of the satellites currently orbiting Earth, estimated to be a little over 2700 in number, NATO had established space as its 5th operational domain. That came around the same time the U.S. Army added a Space Force to its departmental powers. A feat that the Chinese government condemned, asserting that it threats peace.
However, this is all a new land of its kind. Whereas previous war arena, including the most recent ones like nuclear weapons, started with wars and built themselves up into peace treaties, the space arena is still peaceful -albeit some earth-bounded military usageand is aimed to be maintained this way. Avoiding a war without a precedence is no trivial task. To that end, questions arise, is a space war really evitable? Can countries come together to maintain peace and security hundreds of kilometers above sea level?
The franchise ‘Star Wars’ presented strong cases of how the mingling of politics and space needs to be treated with caution, but much like the Jedi, hopes and eyes are on this historic meeting of the NATO to secure peace where peace has never left.. yet. May the force be with them.
- Pavly Nashed
"75 Years of Uniting Nations: Overcoming Conflict to Achieve Common Goals”
The UN was first established with the purpose of creating an organization that could maintain peace and achieve common purposes as a symbol of global unity.
2020 marks a great achievement, its 75th anniversary, the diamond jubilee of a tireless effort to address common challenges, protecting the core principles of equality among states, mutual respect of national sovereignty and never-ending defence of the inalienable human rights of the individual.
A great achievement, which falls in a year sadly marked by unprecedented global emergencies.
Now more than ever, the world finds itself in a status of complete uncertainty, struggling with the current health crisis, urgent economic consequences, and the subsequent social impact of these events, severely affecting everyone’s daily life.
A time in which we see our personal liberties being extremely limited, experiencing more restrictions on our freedoms that has ever been the case in the last decades. A pandemic is a global emergency that more than others calls upon the strength of global unity, whose epicentre today we find in the UN. No longer a mere symbol, but the determinant of this union.
Overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic is a goal that indeed needs accordance, collaboration, and mutual support, nevertheless, it has also led to delicate national situations of discord, hostility, mistrust in the governmental apparatus, social conflicts.
We find ourselves with an important role today, which is to restore the belief in unity, in collaboration, in our common purposes, those principles that for 75 years have brought together nations, trying to rebuild a future after the destruction of the Second World War. Nations brought together by the hope for a peaceful and just world.
Today our hopes remain unaffected and more than ever, it is our duty to commemorate and remember the past, to address with more strength and decision the challenges of the future.
So much has been built and achieved across 75 years, and so much has to be accomplished yet.
Since its outbreak, the Covid-19 pandemic has unveiled the urgent necessity to strengthen our health care systems, to improve the global spread of information and to come together to concretize a new global establishment of data sharing.
This pandemic just adds up with several challenges that still have to be addressed with decision.
The threat of climate change, which is undermining food production, dangerously increasing the risk of catastrophic flooding due to rising sea levels, and unprecedented changes in weather patterns, whose even slightest differences may lead to drastic consequences.
The food emergency. Millions of people are yet not able to access proper nourishment and suffer from malnutrition, being extremely exposed to diseases and prevented from leading an active and healthy life.
The urgent question of the promotion of gender equality, as the threatening numbers of domestic violence and gender discrimination increase, which makes us clear that no justice will ever be granted until full equality is achieved.
The protection of children, who in large number, all around the world, are denied access to health, school, dignity, opportunities, due to the country and circumstances they were born, a distinction that, nowadays, we cannot accept any more.
75 years of Uniting Nations, overcoming warfare with harmony and unity, paying tribute to the efforts of the past and looking ahead, at the challenges awaiting us, with more determination than ever. This is the only way we can pursue our goals, justice in this world, equality among human beings: standing here, all together as a whole.
“There can be no lasting peace without justice, this cause is the cause of all humanity”
- Greta Fantoni
Are we going to learn from the past?
The surge of domestic & gender-based violence during times of crisis
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW)
The lockdowns expose what many of us have always known – our most intimate spaces, our homes, are not always safe places. A “pandemic within a pandemic” has been a hidden consequence of COVID-19 and we are confronted with the horrific reality that millions of women and children – in every country – are fighting for their survival not just from COVID-19, but from the brutalities of abusers in the prisons of their homes.
Because disasters aggravate pre-existing gender inequities and power hierarchies, violence in the home may worsen as prolonged quarantine and economic stressors increase tension in the household. Most unfortunate is while the need for survivor support is increasing, justice is proving hard to access. Resources are being diverted away from judicial systems towards more immediate public health measures. In every country, hotlines, crisis centers, shelters, as well as critical legal aid and social services, are being scaled back due to infection control measures. Many courts have closed their doors.
Sexual and gender-based violence does not begin with disasters like COVID-19. But the chaos and instability they cause leave women and girls more vulnerable.
Lessons from the past: Ebola outbreak
One of the key lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak was that epidemics leave women and girls especially vulnerable to violence. Mistakes made during the Ebola epidemic can be valuable lessons in the COVID-19 response.
Increases in sexual and gender-based violence were observed during the 2013-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Estimates concerning the scope are difficult to obtain and vastly under-reported. Survivors of violence were ignored as health workers counted the number of Ebola cases. According to some reports, Guinea reported a 4.5% increase in sexual and gender-based violence and twice as many rapes. And in the aftermath of Ebola, both Sierra Leone and Liberia saw an upswing in teenage pregnancy rates.
The parallels between the response to Ebola and COVID-19 are striking. Public health infrastructure during Ebola came to a grinding halt. In a desperate attempt to control the virus, governments employed many of the current social distancing strategies. These included school closures, curfews, and quarantines. The needs of women and girls, especially concerning sexual and gender-based violence, were largely ignored in response and recovery planning. Many organizations waited until Ebola was under control before addressing these needs. By then it was too late.
Domestic & gender-based violence today
The consequences of sexual and gender-based violence do not end when medical crises are contained. The impact of COVID-19 will be wide scale, longstanding, and likely generational. Response and recovery planning must ensure that those most impacted by COVID-19 are not forgotten.
Times of crises, such as a pandemic, have also been times we are able to boldly address the social ills and where humanity, tends to reinvent itself. We have been presented with the opportunity to reimagine and redesign our societies to be safe, vibrant and equitable. We are proving that we can come together as a united human family to holistically tackle Covid-19; let us apply an equally comprehensive, vigorous and unrelenting focus to eradicating gender-based violence as well.
- Lorencia Poçi
United Nations marks its 75th Anniversary
Celebrating in times of crisis
The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of uncertainty and challenges, including one of the worst global health crisis in its history. Will this bring us closer together? Or will it lead to greater divides and mistrust? Now more than ever we need to remember the importance of international cooperation and continue communicating openly for a better future.
In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. October 24th was the birth of today´s most important organization in the world. The UN is one of the few existing organizations that work global issues on a large scale, from sustainable development, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality, economic and social development, and more, in order to achieve their goals for a better world in the future. Nowadays the urgency for all the countries to come together and support one another has never been greater.
Keep in mind that not everything that is happening or has happened in this year is bad news. We are given the opportunity for change like it has never been there before. Changing our ways, our views, our goals for the world. Meditating and reflecting about what we have learned and how we can employ it to get through this, but also to become more conscious about the needs and struggles of others. Although this year´s celebration could not be the same as other years we have to look back on what this date truly represents, commemorating this date not only because of history, but also because of what, overtime, the UN has become for many: a symbol of cooperation, respect, tolerance and peace.
- Angélica Marisol Villarreal D.
Panic in the Orient
In the history of planet earth, no nation has known a more tumultuous history than China. Like the fine pottery of the same name, the territories now known as the People’s Republic of China seemed to shatter
more often than stay together.
Within its history, the country has had multiple dynasties, emperors, a democratic government, and a communist dictatorship at its head. However, you will discuss an important event during one of China’s Imperial dynasties, namely the Qing Dynasty.
Back in the 19th century, as economic free trade and liberalism seemed to inspire the minds of western free thinkers, China was at the head of one of the mightiest empires at the time. Its borders were vast and its riches plentiful, mostly thanks to the highly sought-after Chinese specialties like tea and silk. However, unlike the west, China had not caught on to the liberal mindset as the western nations had. It remained an isolated nation, heavily regulating trade with other nations, as it actually had little need for outside resources except for silver. This caused a heavy trade disparity between China and many of the Western nations, especially the British Empire. The British, having the largest empire in the world at the time, adored the luxury products coming from the orient. The British traded huge supplies of silver for Chinese luxury products and this annoyed the British government. They were running out of silver reserves and needed a solution, and that solution was Opium.
Opium is an extremely addicting drug. Being a cousin to modern day heroin, it had many of the same effects. It dulled pain, made you lethargic to the outside world but activated the right parts of the brain to make you feel a sense of euphoria. For that reason, it is extremely addictive and, at the time, it was craved by the population of Imperial china.
In the committee being simulated at BIMUN/SINUB 2020, delegates will be simulating the second conflict that flowed out of these events, namely the second opium war. It will be interesting to see what will change in comparison to history; Will china take back the territories of Hong Kong, will the British lose or absolutely crush the Chinese putting them under their rule as they once did with India? Only time will tell.
- Olivier Van Poppel