Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
United Nations is the world’s biggest international organization, founded in 1945. The UN has four main purposes:
- To keep peace throughout the world;
- To develop friendly relations among nations;
- To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
At the moment, United Nations have 193 member states. The organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of women, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations.
General Assembly is the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter. It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.
According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:
- Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States;
- Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General;
- Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament;
- Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it;
- Discuss, with the same exception, and make recommendations on any questions within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the United Nations;
- Initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and international collaboration in the economic, social, humanitarian, cultural, educational and health fields;
- Make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation that might impair friendly relations among nations;
- Consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations organs.
An important thing to mention is that that General Assembly does not make decisions which have a legally binding effect on its member states, except on questions such as budget and selection of non-permanent Security Council members. However, due to its influence and the mission of United Nations, it is very difficult for countries not to take into account resolutions brought by General Assembly, since, in a way, they are also participating in the process of bringing them to life.
In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets – with a deadline of 2015 – that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals. There are eight of these goals:
- To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- To achieve universal primary education
- To promote gender equality and empowering women
- To reduce child mortality rates
- To improve maternal health
- To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- To ensure environmental sustainability
- To develop a global partnership for development.
As 2015 is quickly approaching, we can say that a lot of things have been vastly improved – however, there is always space for making the situation even better. That is why we believe that the first Millenium Goal, “Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger“ is a great topic for our BLIMUN 2014 conference, since it will give our delegates the opportunity to take a look back and see what has already been done and then discuss on how can the current results be improved and what new measures can be taken before the deadline is approached.
- Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Concepts and terms
According to the Oxford Dictionary, hunger is defined as:
- A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat
- A severe lack of food
- A strong desire or craving
World hunger, on the other hand, is related to another term, malnutrition, which can be defined as “lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat.“ The concept of world hunger is, therefore, concerned with malnutrition on the global level.
United Nations defines poverty as:
the inability of getting choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having a school or clinic to go to, not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s living, not having access to credit. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means susceptibility to violence, and it often implies living in marginal or fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation.
Poverty is the most common cause of hunger. Extreme poverty is, unfortunately, also common cause for starvation, and every year statistics show high number of people who die in absolute poverty deprived of basic human rights.
Developed vs. Developing countries
According to the World Bank, the criteria for deciding whether a country is developed country, also known as a first-world country is its Gross National Income (GNI) per capita per year. Countries with GNI over US$ 11,905 are developed countries, and countries with GNI equal to, or less than US$ 11,905 are classified as developing countries. To find the definition of the country you will be representing, please consult the following link:
Important note: Please keep in mind that developed countries also experience issues with extreme poverty and hunger. When preparing for the conference, try to find the data on what is the level of poverty in the country you are representing.
- At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.
- The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
- According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
- Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted.
- Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
- Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day.
- In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets.
- Close to half of all people in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.
- Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water.
- In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth accounted for just 1.5%
- 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
- Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.
Important note: You can use useful statistics from the country you are representing in debating and defending your point of view.
Examples of Successful Actions
Bosnia and Herzegovina: A brighter future for young people. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other UN agencies partnered with the Government of Spain to establish 16 centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide career counselling to unemployed youth. In the first 14 months of operation, the centres provided skills training to more than 6,800 young people, of whom almost 1,800 gained their first work experience.
Yemen: Food keeps girls in school. Since 2007, the World Food Program’s (WFP) Food For Girls’ Education Program has been tackling hunger and enrolment challenges in Yemen, where more than 60 per cent of primary school-aged children who are not in school are girls. As a result of the program, families who send their girls to school are eligible to receive an annual ration of wheat and fortified vegetable oil. Despite funding shortfalls, since 2010 the program has reached almost 200,000 girls, benefiting almost 1 million family members.
India: Right to paid work benefits millions. UNDP is supporting the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Program, promoting the law passed in 2005 guaranteeing the right to a minimum of 100 days of paid work a year for landless labourers and marginal farmers. Implementation of the scheme is now providing 50 days of work a year to around 50 million households. Almost half of the beneficiaries are women.
Important note: When preparing for the conference, try to find out what are the ways the country you are representing fights the poverty and hunger issues. Think about how these can be implemented on the global level. How can your country contribute to it?
- Relevant UNGA Resolutions
Following is the list of previous resolutions that are related to the topic of BLIMUN 2014 General Assembly. You can refer to those in debates, but also in the resolution you will be drafting at the conference.
- Useful tips
Here are some general tips on how to better prepare yourself for the topic:
- Do a lot of research in regards to the country you are representing. You can use the government websites, national statistics institutes data, social media, newspapers, etc. In case you do not have enough English resources, ask BLIMUN 2014 chairpersons for assistance.
- You can use Wikipedia, but do not follow it blindly! Always check sources and use links at the bottom of the page.
- Take a look at the general websites that host some of the global statistics, such as World Bank, United Nations, worldometers.info, unstats.un.org etc.
- Be informed – read newspapers, watch tv and follow online news – make sure that you catch any news related to our topic and think about how you can use them, even if they are not directly related to the country you are representing.
- Try to do a research on a countries that are cooperating with the country you are representing, or are close to it in terms of its economy, political views, foreign policy etc.
- Be open-minded and ready to think outside the box, but do not go too far away from your country’s point of view.
- Cited Sources
 For detailed rules and procedures, please refer to BLIMUN 2014 delegate handbook.
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