Past UN Days

UN Day 2009

UN Day 2009

The Charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945. From that time on it served as the foundation to maintain international peace and security. More than six decades later, in a completely changed environment, with new actors and unprecedented challenges, we want to know:

How must a people-centred security approach complement today’s traditional security policies of nations in order to enhance sustainable peace and prosperity for all human beings?

In order to reflect on this question and to find answers, GIMUN and the NGO Liaison Office at UNOG gathered students, academics, UN officials, diplomats, and NGO representatives.
Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the UNOG, opened the ceremony and delivered his remarks. Following speeches and a keynote address on the concept of Human Security, participants were asked to actively contribute to the discussion. Panel introductions and debates took place in five small groups dealing with pressing issues in the domains of environment, health, food, economy, and politics & security.

The outcome of this event was drawn to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Have a look at the final reports of this event:

Panel 1 : Climate Change as a Security Threat. Why, when and for whom ?

Panel 2: Taking Stock of Global Health Security – Or Whose Security is it Anyway?

Panel 3: The Role of Food Security: What kind of Approach is Needed to Enhance Effectiveness of the Right to Food?

Panel 4: Economic Security: Providing a Social Safety Net: What Role for the International Community?

Panel 5: Widening the Disarmament and Development Lens: from Arms Control to Community Security.

UN Day 2010

UN Day 2010

“Youth Expectations regarding the United Nations”

A Conference organised by GIMUN in cooperation with the UNOG NGO Liaison Office in reverence of the 65th anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations held on 22nd of October 2010 from

14:30 to 18:00 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva

On August 12th 2010, the United Nations proclaimed the International Year of Youth, in order to promote the participation of Youth in all aspects of society. Young people, defined by the UN as being between 15 and 24, are invited to promote the ideals of peace, freedom, progress, solidarity and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Listening to the voice of youth has become an important credo, especially in topics of particular relevance.
But how can youth express its voice on these issues?
GIMUN is organizing, on the occasion of the 65thanniversary of the Charter of the United Nations a conference that will give you the opportunity to express your expectations regarding the United Nations and to express how you can participate in promoting the United Nations values. Six topics of particular importance for young people have been selected in order to address contemporary issues dealt with by the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

1stTopic : Youth Unemployment (MDG 1, target B)
Panel leader: Mrs. Sara Elder, International Labour Organisation
With Youth Unemployment reaching its highest peak in 2009, this is a central issue not only for developing countries but also in industrialized countries. As young people we must try and elaborate answers to complex interrogations, such as : What is the situation of youth unemployment today worldwide? What role does the UN play in promoting youth employment? What is expected of States, governments, young people to solve this problem?
Read the final Report of this Panel

2ndTopic : Developing Countries Debts (MDG 8, target C) — unfortunately cancelled.

3rd Topic: UN Security Council reform
Speaker: Mr. Jan Dirk Herbermann, UN-Correspondent for different German medias
UN Security Council reform has been a sensitive topic for almost as long as the UN exists, given the highly unequal power of States in the highest decisional organ of the UN. Does the young generation believe that they can come up with innovative and realistic solutions that can overrule past difficulties and reluctances to modify the existing system? How far could/should a reform of the Security Council go, without endangering the efficiency of the UN? How far is the Youth willing to push for reform if this involves loss of efficiency?
Read the final Report of this Panel.

Topic 4: Gender-related illiteracy (MDG3, target A)
Speaker: Ms Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo, Deputy Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)
Gender disparity in primary and secondary education, which MDG 3 seeks to eliminate, is a difficult target to achieve. How can the UN and the many specialized agencies (UNGEI, UNICEF, UNESCO) work with young girls and families in order to introduce gender parity worldwide in education? How are cultural obstacles to be dealt with, when girls are traditionally expected to work or hold the household and not to learn? What incentives can be used to tackle root causes of gender disparities in schools? How can young girls achieve literacy rates equal to those of boys?
Read the final Report of this Panel.

Topic 5: Dealing with climate change (MDG 7)
Speaker: Mr. Jaco Tavenie, Programme Officer UNEP Regional Office for Europe
Climate change might be the single most urgent threat to future generation, however stakeholders do not seem willing to take the necessary drastic measures to fight climate change on a global level and young people are little involved in decision making processes.
Why is the UN not able to convince stakeholders to take the necessary action even though the arguments are overwhelming? As young people see their future dealt with so lightly, what do they believe would be the appropriate measures to deal with climate change on a individual and global level?
Read the final Report of this Panel.

Topic 6: Halting the spread of HIV/AIDS (MDG 6)
Panel leader: Mr. Yves Souteyrand, World Health Organisation
The pandemic of HIV/AIDS is a threat to global health and if the spread is to be halted and a HIV-free new generation guaranteed, young people must be especially targeted to reduce risk of infection and they must be ensured universal access to treatment. This panel will concentrate on trying to find answers to the following interrogations : how can difficulties on the way to access to universal treatment be overcome? How can the crossroads between prevention and treatment be used in the most effective way to reach out to young people?
Read the final Report of this Panel.
As a young participant, GIMUN gave students the chance to discuss of these critical issues for the young generation, with participants of different professional backgrounds. Our aim was to provide an arena for inclusive and respectful discussions among country- and NGO representatives, UN officials, the academia, as well as the interested general public, bringing all these different circles to reflect on the position of Youth at the United Nations.
If you are interested in a general review of the event – from a participants perspective – you should read the following report by Inger-Luise Hellmann: Commentary.

UN Day 2011

UN Day 2011

Conference in reverence of the 66th anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations
21st of October 2011,14:30 to 18:00 at the Palais des Nations :

“The UN in our day-to-day”

 

Background:
2011 has been a year rich in events that, if not already, will change the world: the Arab Revolutions, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Fukushima catastrophe and a future vote on the adhesion of Palestine at the UN. In this very active international context, the United Nations took, or should have taken – depending on the vision we have – a major role. These events, whether predicable or not, needed a fast reaction. How did the UN react in response to these issues? Did it do enough, too much, or not enough?

On the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the entering into force of the United Nations Charter, GIMUN organized a conference that gave students the opportunity to express their visions regarding the UN’s role in these changing international contexts. Four topics of particular importance for the tomorrow’s world were selected in order to address contemporary issues dealt with, or not, by the United Nations.

As a young participant, GIMUN offers you the opportunity to discuss these issues central to youth, with participants of different professional backgrounds. Our aim is to provide an arena for inclusive and respectful discussions among country- and NGO representatives, UN officials, the academia, as well as the interested general public, bringing all these different circles to reflect on the role of the UN.

Topics:

1st Topic: The role of the UN in the “Arab Spring”

Panel leader: Mehdi Ben Youssef, president of the Tunisian International Model United Nations.

The trigger event of this “Arab Spring”, which spread through most of1sttopic North African countries, took place the 17th December 2010: an unemployed Tunisian, who like many others had an university degree, self-immolated causing Tunisia to ignite with protests all around the country.

As months passed by, the Tunisian regime fell, followed by Egypt and Libya. The revolution » internationalized with NATO’s support to the Libyan rebel against Mouammar Kadhafi. In Yemen, however, where the repression of the demonstrators is extremely violent, the United Nations do not seem to take things in hand.

What is it that holds back an intervention in some countries? Which role did the UN play in the fall of some of these regimes? How did the UN invest itself in the protection of the different populations?

2nd Topic: Response in times of an emergency: Somalia’s famine crisis – July 2011

Panel leader: Dr. Thierry Tardy, Research Coordinator at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)

large_somaliaThe summer of 2011 brought to the Horn of Africa (which includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) one of the worst droughts in 60 years. In Somalia where a conflict has for decades dwindled the country’s food supplies, the drought hit with a particularly devastating impact. Tens of thousands of Somalis have died of malnutrition-related causes; three million Somalis are in urgent need of aid and more than 10 million are at risk. The United Nations declared a famine crisis using scientific criteria of death and malnutrition rates.

The question is, was this enough? Has the UN reacted fast enough to this crisis? Has the reaction been efficient or successful?

3rd Topic: The United Nation’s implication in the fight against international terrorism

Panel leader: Dr. Christina Schori Liang, Research Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)

Ten years have passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks that changed the world forever. Since that day, the fight against international terrorism – though not a novelty – became a priority for the United Nations. However, what the past decade has shown us is that the leadership of this battle against terrorism is being led by individual States, not necessarily acting in accordance with the UN principles.

Hence many questions can be asked, such as: What exactly has been the involvement of the UN in the fight against international terrorism? Have the UN resolutions been useful? How can the UN take the lead in this fight against international terrorism?

4th Topic: The implication of integrating a new State to the UN

Panel leader: Mr. Adrien Evéquoz, adviser at the Swiss permanent mission, FDFA.

On September 20th, 2011 Palestine will file its application to become a member of the United Nations. Shortly

large_1442_palestine_un_1_460x230after its independence in June 2011, South Sudan also applied for membership at the UN. Hence, 2011 will perhaps be marked by the adhesion of two new States to the United Nations: one not yet recognized by all States and one newly independent State.

Moreover, closer to home, it has been 9 years since Switzerland joined the UN after a very tight vote by its citizens.

What are then the implications of an adhesion for both the joining State and the United Nations? To which responsibilities and obligations must a newly adhered State submit itself? Which changes does the adhesion to the UN implicates at a national level, politically, economically or even at the security level for a State?

*******

Feedback:

Read the Reports from each panel at UN Day

– The role of the UN in the Arab Spring: 2011_panel_1

– Response in the moment of urgency – Somalia (July 2011): 2011_panel_2.

– The UN’s fight against terrorism: 2011_panel_3.

– The implication of integrating a new state to the UN: 2011_panel_4

 

Watch the GIMUN Video on UN Day : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TXTJV2ID8s

Read an Article on UN Day by the US Non-Governmental Liaison Service

Check out the official photos from the United Nations Office at Geneva

Read the GIMUN Articles from the Blog: “UNO, You Know?”

Decade: The Swiss-UN Jubilee

Decade Logo large

 

 

A decade has passed since Switzerland’s accession to the United Nations. This will be celebrated on the 24th October 2012 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

This conference is organised by civil society associations raising awareness of the challenges faced by the UN. Young people from all over the world will attend. Participants will have the opportunity to find out about various aspects of Switzerland’s membership of the UN over the last ten years. They will also draw up a discussion paper on the Swiss thematic squares from an international point of view.

Aims:

1. To celebrate the 10 years since Switzerland’s accession to the UN, as well as the signing of the Charter of the United Nations on the 24 October 1945 amongst 200 young people.

2. To make young people more aware of issues linked to Switzerland’s membership of the UN via conferences, round tables, experts, presentations and debates.

3. To create a final document containing contributions made by participants during the thematic squares throughout the afternoon.

4. To form a federation that combines the strengths of civil society associations linked to the UN over the course of this important event.

Program:

10:00 – 10:30 : Welcome from Organizing Associations

10:30 – 12:00 : Swiss UN Membership – A Decade of Contrasting Perspectives

13:30 – 15:45 : Thematic Squares (Environment, Peacebuilding, Security Council Reform, Human Rights, Minorities, Disarmement)

16:00 – 17:00 : Closing Ceremony