Category: Uncategorized

Global Compact for Migration- Second Round

This week the process of revising and reviewing ” Zero Draft Plus” has started at the UN Trusteeship Council. Intergovernmental negotiations will last till the end of the current week providing opportunities for states present  at the session hearings to express their concerns and comments on the revised draft which will be further amended. From the first day the procedure of analyzing every sovereign states’ position  and remarks  has increased the stakes of challenging legal and moral frameworks. Co-facilitators of the Second Round, namely Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations and Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations, have raised the questions specifically pointing out the crucial necessity of defining certain legal terminologies related to migration, migrants, refugees, stateless people and IDP.

What’s more interesting is that while states  such as Japan, Singapore, the EU, Australia, Lichtenstein, Sweden, Lebanon,Palestine, Russian along with many other fellow ones expressed clear insistence on keeping  consensus on legal distinction between the terms such as refugee and migrant, majority of them pointed out their willingness to uphold the 1951 Refugee Convention , the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and New York Declaration. Numerous requests have been made to keep refugees only in Global Compact on Refugees which will be presented by UNHCR via its annual report to the General Assembly in 2018. Also, the growing concerns of conflicting terms has been recognized to put refugees and migrants in danger as they attempt to cross the borders.

The main tone of the past two days has reflected on key areas where states advocated  for the next revised draft to contain: international laws for protections of migrants , the principle of non-refoulement, obligations and regulations under the Global Compact on Migration.

Even though international recognition of every state’s sovereignty  has been crucially regarded by co-facilitators, there has been universal urge to consider the individual and case-by-case factors under which people on the move find themselves trapped in dangerous situation or facing a fate of being trafficked by smugglers. Not to mention the fact that they reminded the states to bear the responsibility of saving lives in danger and rescue at sea,

Stay tuned for upcoming briefings on Global Compact on Migration!



International Women’s Day 2018

On March 8th, the CCNY NGO Youth Representatives joined the United Nations conference celebrating International Women’s Day 2018.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres gave a speech announcing that gender parity has been achieved within the UN in the leading branches of the organisation such as the Senior Management Committee.

The theme of this year is “The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”, which echoed the conference that will take place at the UN on the 12th and 13th of March.

Nevertheless, this year, International Women’s Day comes after an unprecedented movement fighting for women’s rights, equality, and respect, and against gender violence that was largely covered during the conference.

Movements like “MeToo”, “Balancetonporc”, and “End Marry Your Rapist Laws” who enable women to speak about their experience of gender violence were represented in the GA Hall.

“We are at a tipping point for the world”, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women whilst talking about year 2017 as a real eye-opener.

As the movement against gender violence began in Hollywood, the UN invited actresses Reese Witherspoon (Academy Award–winning actor and activist) and Danai Gurira (Black Panther, Tony-nominated playwright, actor and activist) to be part of the conference.

The different speakers presented concrete actions to fight gender inequality and gender violence.

Danai Gurira insisted on educating the next generations to an equal representation of men and women in society, as she does playing a General in the film Black Panthers. She also encouraged all those who have attended, as well as viewers from beyond, to speak out for those without a voice.

With “Times Up”, Reese Witherspoon aims to raise funds to create safer working environments for women and an end to tolerance toward sexual harassment.

Julie Bishop, the Australian Minister of Foreign affairs, shared her desire for women from the Pacific regions in politics, and is establishing a program to pair potential Pacific female leaders with Australian female leaders.

All the speakers insisted on the fact that there is still a lot of work to do. Therefore, the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is the key event to follow to see the United Nations action plans are regarding women’s rights!

Global Compact for Migration Zero Draft


As a first assignment for 2018, the CCNY NGO team had the opportunity to sit in on the intergovernmental consultations and negotiations on issues related to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration. Over a span of three days, 49 delegates from Member States took turns in conveying their stances on the current migration issue and outlining any changes they deemed necessary for the Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) to be effectively representative of all migrants.

While the Zero Draft of the GCM serves as a great foundation for Member States to work from, demonstrating a step in the right direction, there were many concerns amongst members about language (irregular vs. regular migration and migrant vs. refugee), implementation, and follow-up/review. As a result, these negotiations have been extended for another set of rounds that will begin on March 12th and continue on a monthly basis afterwards. Stay tuned and follow the CCNY NGO on their journey through the negotiations process!

UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit

From our student Aichatou Nimaga on UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit:

On February 23, 2018 I attended the UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit at the United Nations. My passion to become a diplomat of my home country, Mali has led me to attend numerous events related to making reforms in society. The UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit consisted of important individuals giving speeches, specific individuals holding panels related to their career, Q&A’s from the audience and networking opportunities. It commenced with the Executive Director, Chris Whatley thanking everyone for attending the summit. There was 1,500 attendees, by far the largest amount of attendees ever. One quote that Chris Whately stated that resonated with me is “International Relations is not a 3-credit course, it’s the narrative of your story”.

Concentrating in International Relations, this statement hit home. If my passion is to make reforms around the world, and understanding International Relations will help me, then Chris Whately statement is true. We then had Munira Khalif speak to the youth in the room. The summit ranged from college students to council advocates from all around the nation. Representation matters, seeing an African,Muslim, WOMAN today at the UN obtaining this position as the official youth observer led a pathway for me! This assured me that I can obtain that position one day.

Munira Khalif also said a quote that resonated with me as well. “When you empower women, you don’t only empower women, you empower communities”. Women undeniably run the world, and once placed in position in power there is differences made in the community. Minoring in women studies, I plan to create my own organization that will mentor young women in school to encourage, empower and uplift these women so they can do anything they want to do. The ultimate goal is equality, peace, women empowerment, & education for all. Being apart of this summit and being able to hear about various topics such as Climate Change, Response to Refugee Crisis, Private Sectors to even social media, allowed me to expand my knowledge on everything that I’ve known.

My favorite panel held was The Global Goals Refugee Crisis. The fact that this issue is ongoing and not resolved is relevant today. It’s so unfortunate that this crisis has to take place, especially in this day and age, but the purpose of the panel is to shed light on this matter and actions we can take to make sure this doesn’t occur again. Refugee’s are not a burden to a country, even though they are portrayed as this. Just like New York City is an example of a melting pot, NYC is filled with different culture, beliefs, food, and more. There is also a misconception that the only way that crisis like this can come to an end is by the UN and NGOs to resolve this. UN Refugee Agent, Grainne O’ Hara, stated they can’t do this alone. Hearing this argument go back and forth, I came up with the question to ask UN Refugee Agent. My question was “Being a sophomore at City College and taking a course called Response to Refugee Crisis, what can I do or better yet, the youth do to contribute to this crisis? It does get discouraging to hear about crisi like this and feel like one can’t do anything except sign a petition”. Grainne answered “Though it does get discouraging, the best thing to do is to spread awareness in school, communities and so forth”. This was the last panel leading to the closing plenary. Overall, I am glad that I attended this eight hour summit. Knowledge is power and I genuinely feel that I learned more of how the UN operates and networked to my power.

Aichatou NimagaUN Podium Aichaa.jpg

The “Arria Formula” meeting of the UN Security Council

The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations hosted an “Arria Formula” meeting of the Security Council this past Friday. The topic of discussion was “Preparing for the security implications of rising temperatures.”

Representatives from all over the world spoke about taking responsibility in addressing climate change. Climate change creates major global issues, such as, mass displacement, increased economic obstacles, heightened immigration dilemmas, and the like.

Each representative made compelling arguments on how not one country can do this alone, but that we need to form partnerships to tackle a problem that is not going away. As one representative stated:

If we don’t take this seriously and work towards a global solution, we won’t have a planet to live in to focus on the other SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.”

The meeting was very telling, that although some countries haven’t taken climate change seriously in the past, it is now an issue that can’t be ignored. The countries involvedin the meeting are no longer ignoring the issue at hand, but are willing to take action in becoming part of the solution to the difficulties that climate change has (and may) cause.

Human Rights Day at the UN

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt (played by Susan Marie Frontczak) took us back in time by reciting the UDHR in character. She then held a private conference, expressing the painstaking hours it took to create such a document, especially with all of the countries involved needing to agree on the language. Fifty-eight different legal systems were considered when writing the UDHR.

When speaking of the atrocities of war, she stated that:

“It’s harder for a country to settle its differences sitting across from each other at a table than it is to start a war.”

Eleanor also voiced her concern with the great danger that the Declaration could be used for countries to pass judgment on one another. She conveyed that we shouldn’t pass judgment, but point the finger at ourselves to see how we can improve.

After speaking for approximately two hours, Eleanor conducted a Q&A session. The questions were answered as if it were still 1948. At the very end of the Q&A Frontczak broke character to make a closing statement about the atrocities that still go on today. She left us feeling hopeful that we can still make a difference, whether on a local or international level.

World AIDS Day “The Right to Health”

World AIDS Day, co-organized with UNAIDS was held at the UN last week. The topic of discussion was “The Right to Health” and how to partner with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The HIV epidemic has evolved over the last 30 years, and although much progress has been made, there is so much that needs to be done.

Today, more than 40% of HIV infected people are being denied the most basic health services. This includes adolescent boys and girls, young women and displaced individuals.

UNAIDS wants to remind us that “Everybody Counts!” Providing quality healthcare that is available to anyone, no matter where they live, especially in places that are most affected, is imperative. When it comes to denial of services there needs to be a zero tolerance policy.

At the briefing, the panelists discussed some solutions to make progress. One was education. Keeping girls in school will decrease the risk of acquiring HIV considerably. Another was regular testing. 1 in 3 people living with HIV do not know they have it. Gender equality was another. Women who are empowered and have their human rights respected, the HIV positive number for them goes down.

World AIDS Day was a positive experience and brought a higher level of awareness to everyone than they had prior to attending.

World TV Day

At World TV Day at the UN many topics and questions were discussed. The biggest question answered was how to use television to get people involved in making a difference in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the UN.

One way is helping people become “informed” about the SDGs. Making caused-base documentaries and tv shows that motivate others to take action is one way. Other ways are making fictional movies (including animation) that force you to think about how you can make a difference.

One animated movie that partnered with the UN in focusing on meeting the SDGs was The Smurfs “The Lost Village.” It focused on several of the SDGs including climate action (13), life below water (#14), and life on land (#15). It was played in 78 countries and did a great job of getting the word out. The Smurfs are small, but they have big goals. #smallsmurfsbiggoals

People may not realize it, but if they just did a little to help, the SDGs of the UN’s 2030 Agenda would be rather easy to achieve. We just need to be informed as to how we can and TV can help us do that.

Fashion and Sustainability: Using Fashion to Make a Difference

Last week at the Fashion and Sustainability conference, the topics of discussion were how the fashion industry is trying to address the issue of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the UN.

One in particular is Goal #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth. The fashion industry is the largest employer of women, but are their rights being protected in the workplace? Companies are taking steps to bridge the gap in workplace inequality, but there’s still work to do on it.

Also mentioned were companies like Eileen Fischer and Patagonia, which are leading the way in making everything they produce with an environmental and socially responsible mindset. From making new products from worn and recycled materials to customers trading in their worn clothing for gift cards. The second-hand clothing is then repurposed for someone else; rather than it simply going to waste. One of the panelists coined it as “making second-hand sexy.”

A challenge was made by Patrick Duffy; the moderator and founder of Global Fashion Exchange by stating:

In order for the SDGs to thrive, all of civil society, world leaders, institutions and the private sectors need to work together, take accountability for their actions and look for better ways of sustainable alternatives.”

It was inspiring to see all the steps that are being taken in the fashion industry to partner with the UN in meeting the SDGs of the 2030 agenda.