The UN Resident Coordinator addressed over 200 young delegates at this year's Ghana International Model United Nations Conference, the 13th Session.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my appreciation for the honour to be part of the opening session of this year’s Ghana International Model United Nations Conference, the Thirteenth Session.
I commend the organisers, young Ghanaians, for their persistence to ensure youth are represented on the decision-making table and for empowering young people through initiatives such as model UN.
- Model UN simulates the actual United Nations.
- Students discuss current world issues including human rights, refugees, crime prevention, drug trafficking, and economic development.
- Model UN participants are ambassadors from countries they represent in a United Nations committee.
- The skills you develop include public speaking, writing, researching, and negotiating. Learning about diplomacy, consensus building, conflict resolution, and tolerance will be useful in your personal and professional life.
The United Nations and Global Goals
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 goals in total, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to advance an agenda founded on the principles of the UN Charter to make the world a better place.
- An urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership, the SDGs provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
- For this reason, we say the SDGs are interconnected, better explained through the 5 Ps [People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership]. The SDGs are about:
- Ending poverty and hunger and working for the PEOPLE,
- Protecting the PLANET from degradation
- Ensuring that all human beings can enjoy PROSPEROUS and fulfilling life in which the economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature,
- Fostering PEACEFUL, just and inclusive societies and
- Mobilising the means required to achieve our dream through a revitalized global PARTNERSHIP
- State of the SDGs and impact of COVID-19 - At the dawn of 2020 many countries, including Ghana, were on course to fulfilling this dream. Regrettably, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating blow on every facet of our lives. Economies have been devastated, health systems overwhelmed, impacting the most vulnerable communities around the world who were already facing enormous challenges. COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated deep inequalities, and the most vulnerable segments of the population are hit the hardest. Ghana has not been spared. The pandemic has derailed the gains in several instances.
The role of the UN
- CRC - United Nations Comprehensive Response to COVID-19. From the outset of the pandemic, the UN mobilized early and comprehensively. It led on the global health response, provided life-saving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, established instruments for rapid responses to the socio-economic impact and laid out a broad policy agenda for action on all fronts. It also provided logistics, common services and operational support to governments and other partners around the world on the front lines of the pandemic, as they mounted national responses to this new virus and unprecedented global challenge.
- SERRP – UN Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Programme in line with the global UN Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19 which calls for investing in health systems, protecting people, promoting economic recovery, creating macro-economic stability and investing in social cohesion, and to assist Ghana to recover and build back better from the pandemic in a more sustainable and inclusive way.
- UN Cooperation Framework - the UN Country Team has initiated the process to review its existing cooperation framework, analyse its impact to determine areas that need our fervent attention and design a new cooperation framework and a process that allow us to transition from the current framework to a new one that is catalytic and robust and responds more efficiently to the priorities of Ghana.
How the UN works
- What the UN is and what it is NOT – The UN system’s role in Ghana is to serve as a catalyst in the process of development.
- UN’s mission: Is to provide policy support and strategic interventions that are catalytic in achieving Ghana’s vision.
- UN’s role is to ensure inclusiveness - So that we are able to reach everyone everywhere including women, children, people with disability, the aged and the marginalised.
- I encourage all participants and delegates to take the processes of this conference seriously.
- As we move towards building back better, the UN is also in the process of repositioning itself to be more dynamic, agile, robust and nimble towards responding to the urgent development needs of the country. This transformative approach of operating is requiring the UN system to reposition itself to offer the catalytic support that will ensure Ghana is able to recover, build back better and achieve the SDGs. One that encourages and provides an avenue for the youth voice to be heard.
- I thank the organisers once again for bringing these many young people together to learn new skills of negotiation, speaking, presentation and deliberation. We look forward to read about the outcome of this conference and the position papers.