Daily Archives: April 8, 2014

2015 Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of objectives that provide a framework commonly agreed upon by United Nations member states towards the betterment of the international community. In the year 2000, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals, in which the 193 United Nation member states and 23 international organizations signed off of on working to achieve specific goals, targeting issues to further the development of the social and economic well-being of people across the world. There are eight goals in total and each focuses on an important global issue and their effects that can be felt across the globe.


The first Millennium Development Goal is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. The combined efforts of member states within the United Nations have led to a significant decrease in extreme poverty. According to the World Bank more than half of the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1981. This figure has sharply decreased as of 2010, when the statistic decreased to 21%. However, in 2010 alone there were still 1.2 billion people living in poverty.  Therefore, the international community still has many strides to take towards fulfilling the first millennium goal.


The second Millennium Development Goal focuses on achieving universal primary education. This particular goal entails the insurance that all boys and girls will complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015. Another aspect of this goal is the promotion of the concept that educating girls will advance development for all. There has been great success in the quest to reach this particular MDG as the percentage of enrollment in primary education in developing regions has increased from 82% in 1999 to 90% by 2010. However, there is still work to be done as currently 123 million youth, ages 15 -24, lack basic reading and writing skills around the globe.


The third Millennium Development Goal seeks to promote gender equality and empower women. Since 1990 there has been great improvement in gender equality. According to the United Nations, on a global scale women are moving out of the agricultural sector and into the non-agricultural sector as they hold 40 out of every 100 wage earning jobs in the non-agricultural sector. This increase is significant, yet there is still much to do in order to eliminate gender disparity at all levels of education and empower women across the globe, as only 2 out of 130 countries have the goal at all levels of education.


The fourth Millennium Development Goal focuses on the reduction of child morality and seeks to reduce the under-five morality rate by two thirds between 1990 and 2015. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 13 children under the age of five die each minute of everyday mainly from preventable causes. However, there has been hope for this MDG as the under-five morality rate has declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. Also the utilization of measles vaccines since 2000 has prevented 10 million deaths.


The fifth Millennium Development Goal aims to improve maternal health by reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The efforts of UN member states have decreased the maternal mortality ratio by 47% since 1990.  States cannot rest on this success as nearly 50 million babies are delivered worldwide without skilled care and the maternal morality ratio in developing regions is 15 times higher than that of developed regions.



The sixth Millennium Development Goal seeks to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other disease by halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, achieving universal access to HIV treatment by 2010 for those who need it, and halting and beginning to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases by 2015. According to the UN, new HIV infections continue to decline in most regions. However, the goal of universal access to treatment was missed by 2011. A positive aspect of this particular MDG is that the fight against malaria has seen great success as the global estimated instance of malaria has decreased by 17% and malaria specific morality rates have decreased by 25% as reported by the UN.


The Millennium Development Goal is centered towards ensuring environmental stability. There have been many successes towards reaching this MDG such as the reduction of over 98% in the consumption of ozone depleting substances since the adoption of the Montreal protocol. But countries are still struggling with combining their efforts to create a comprehensive treaty that focuses on a key factor affecting the environment, global climate change, as can be seen from the increase in emissions of carbon dioxide by over 46 percent since 1990, as reported by the UN.


The eight and final Millennium Development Goal is geared towards the creation of a global partnership for development. This particular goal focuses on the following points:

  • Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system
  • Address the special needs of least developed countries
  • Address the special needs of landlocked developing countries and small island developing States
  • Deal comprehensively with the debt problems of developing countries
  • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries
  • In cooperation with the private sector, make available benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications

The eighth Millennium Development Goal has proven to be an intricate and difficult process with states taking small steps towards fulfilling the requirements of the goal due to issues that conflict with their own interest.

With 2015 approaching, Secretary General Bank Ki Moon, and the United Nations continue to push to achieve some of the mandated targets that still call for action. This year, 2014, is the call to action to focus on the Issues that still need attention, focusing on world hunger, with one in eight people still suffering from world hunger.  A demand for more medical attention is needed for women and children, as maternal mortality and child mortality still remaining high. This is certainly something that deserves more focus, as the advancements in science and technology have made the medicine available to potentially save these lives. Furthermore, sustainable development and sanitation infrastructure also need more attention, as our finite resource base continues to decline, while 2.5 billion people still lack proper sanitation resources, also posing a major hazard to both public health and the ecosystem.

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon speaks at a press conference to launch the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Report. (Photo by People’s Daily Online)

Furthermore, while it may not be indubitable that all eight target goals will be met in 2015, it will certainly provide for an opportunity to refocus the priorities of the Millennium Summit, and ensure the post-2015 Goals are not only built off the base of the first set of Millennium Development Goals, but accomplished with higher efficiency, to provide for a more balanced rate of progress across all Global Issues. With Post-2015 bringing in a new set of goals, the issues placed at the forefront of the agenda will focus on sustainable development and will heavily involve the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in its implementation process.

The Millennium Development Goals have given States the opportunity to work together in order to create a brighter future for all of mankind. Although some objectives within the mandates may not be achieved by 2015, the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals have lead to a breakthrough in moving in the right direction towards solving  the global issues through a more unified approach, bringing issues such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, poverty, world hunger, and environmental pollution to the attention of people all around the world.

Meet our Spring 2013 Interns!

A new year has started, and here at the office, we have so many new and returning interns that we would like for all of you to meet. Each intern has shared with us some quirky and interesting facts about themselves. Check out what each had to say below:

Naa Aku S. Addo- Education 

 DSC04420If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why? 

Michelle Obama. An African-American woman in power is something I aspire to be. A diplomatic woman whose focus is on the wellness of women is inspiring. Hopefully in the near future, I can also be a woman of color in office who will give young girls and women a voice to feel empowered.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

I would love to go to Dubai, The United Arab Emirates. I have heard great things about that place. The hospitality, shopping malls as well as the rich Arabian history the land and museums hold.

What is your favorite hobby?

Traveling and Shopping with my mother

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share! 

I speak three Ghanaian languages: Ga, Twi and Fante


Jiwon Ma- Education  


If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

Tina Fey. She radiates with beauty, intelligence, humor, and confidence. She makes humor, and intelligence go hand in hand, and she makes it look so easy! Whenever I’m stressed out, Tina Fey reminds me that life can be difficult, but you can make the best out of the situation.

 If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go? 

I would love to visit Machu Picchu. I have been so fascinated by it, and it has inspired me to study Spanish ever since I was in middle school.

What is your favorite hobby?

While I’m not on almost every social networking websites – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flipboard, and the list goes on – I love to read classical novels, write in my journal, read up on interesting historical facts, drink coffee, knit, listen to music, hang out with friends, and collect mugs.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

When I was 2 years old, and my brother was 4 years old, I was bigger than him. I have pictures to prove it if anyone is interested.


Grace Holley- Education 

 BoliviaIf you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

If I could be one person for a day, I would be Jay-Z! He has a commanding presence that draws attention from all over the world, and I would use that power to speak (and record a few songs) on world/community issues.  The power of music is incredible– I’ve always thought that the potential of a lot of mainstream songwriting is wasted when it could be bringing attention to bigger things and spreading more positive ideas. Plus, I’d get to be seen with Beyonce.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

I would like to go everywhere in the world, but if I had to choose, I would go to Bhutan. It seems to be unlike any place I’ve ever been, and it would be interesting to learn about a way of life that is said to be more centered around peacefulness than anything else.

What is your favorite hobby?

I enjoy traveling, drawing, dancing, reading/watching inspiring speeches by world leaders and studying maps.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

In middle school, I placed 3rd in a national Scrabble competition, winning a box of Hasbro games the size of my living room! One other fact is that I hope to move to DC soon and eventually work in the Foreign Service!

Nathalie Van Der Elst- Education 

 DSC01617If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

There are so many people I wish I could be, and when I look at their traits, I realize it is because I want to be someone excellent and passionate about what they do, whatever that may be; a world-class athlete, a great mother, or the best pizza-maker in all the land. These people inspire, their words and actions send chills down my spine, and they gain happiness and fulfillment in their lives. I hope to achieve this level of excellence and character.

If you could travel to any place in the world, and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

I would go to New Zealand for the beautiful landscape, and to visit locations of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (best movies!).

What is your favorite hobby?

I love to sing, to the point that it annoys others. I sing in the shower, while I cook because it makes cooking bearable, at work (yep the UNAGB office) on a daily basis, mouthing on the T, and ‘occasionally’ at karaoke. I guarantee UNAGB karaoke will happen!

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

I was born practically bald, but as you can see in my photo, I have grown to have a nice, thick set of hair. Thanks Dad!

Cynthia Haas- Education 

Fiji_CynthiaHass_UNA_GBIf you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

I usually say that I wouldn’t trade my life even for a day but the semester is getting a little heavy so…I’m gonna take a break from this life and be Oprah for a day! Yay!! Oprah has been my secret best friend since about age 4. Being so tiny and underage for adult content, I would hide behind the sofa and watch her every day as my parents sat on the sofa thinking I was being an obedient child doing my homework.  For as long as I can remember, one of my biggest dreams has been and still is to meet the world. Being Oprah I’d be able to do just that. So let the dreams come alive! It’s Oprah time!

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go? 

Hands down, I would go to Spain. I feel a spiritual connection to the colorful houses, the motor scooters and the summer romances that are in nearly every movie.

What is your favorite hobby?

My absolute favorite hobby is to travel. More specifically, going on random adventures trying anything and everything I’ve never done. This is my expertise, so much so that Megabus and Travelocity are two of my absolute best friends.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

Fun Fact: I’m kind of obsessed with New York. I run a talk show there that you should all know about because it leverages the voice of youth like us! www.GimmeMo.com! Oh, another fun fact, I thread eyebrows! Yay for being groomed! Want to know more about me? Follow my journey @CynthiaHass on Twitter! See you there!

Devin Denny- Programs: Signature Events 

image If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

Nicholas Kristof. I admire his work concerning women’s empowerment across the globe, human rights abuses, and advocating for underrepresented communities. In the future, I hope to expand upon Kristof’s work through advocating for human rights and gender equity.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go? 

India! For the past six years, I’ve been studying Hinduism as an academic hobby. I would love to travel around India to see the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, Rajarajeswaram, and the Kapaleeshwarar Temple.

What is your favorite hobby?

Traveling, going to Celtics games, and bikram yoga.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

I drink a minimum of three cups of coffee a day.

YeJin Kim- Programs: Young Professionals 

IMG_3502If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

I would love to be my parents for a day so that I can understand (at least a little bit) how it feels like sending a daughter to another country and not living together.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go? 

Egypt to see the Great Pyramid of Giza

What is your favorite hobby?

Reading blog posts about food that I can’t cook by myself, listening to Broadway musical soundtracks, writing greeting cards, and taking photos on sunny days

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

I love “card shopping” at Papyrus because I like picking out cards with sweet phrases/messages to give to people. Christmas card shopping is my favorite part of the year.

Marcela Aguirre- Programs: Communications 

304 If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

This is a hard one because I have two options. One option is to be Secretary General of the UN for a day. Being able to work for the UN is one of my dreams so it would just be amazing to see international relations in action. My second option is to be Paloma Herrera, principal ballet dancer at American Ballet Theatre. She’s such an incredible dancer and it would just be amazing to dance like her for a day. Additionally, it would be a dream come true to dance for ABT!

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

There are so many places to which I would love to travel. However, if I could only choose one, then I would choose Brazil. Ever since I started learning Portuguese a few years ago, I’ve become a bit obsessed with everything about Brazil: the country itself, the culture, the food, the music, the language, to name a few.

What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobbies include dancing (ballet, modern, jazz), traveling, reading, playing tennis, and learning new languages. I also enjoy photography!

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

I’ve been a hardcore Francophile since I was 6 years old! It was at this age that my brother, who is a few years older than me, taught me a few words in French. I immediately fell in love with the language and so I made it my mission to learn it. Every school project that I ever did in elementary, middle, and high school was related to France. I even minored in French as an undergraduate! I just love everything about France and the French. My dream/goal is to be able to speak French fluently and live in France.


Valeria Vidal- Programs: Membership 

IMG_2727 If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

I would be Michelle Bachelet, ex president of Chile and former executive director of UN Women. Her work is extremely inspiring in Latin American politics while making a breakthrough in history.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?  

I would go to Japan! I actually just got accepted to a month program to be there and study comparative politics and public policy!

What is your favorite hobby? 

Traveling as much as possible! Locally, going on long bike rides.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

I just recently became a US citizen and now have dual citizenship with Peru!

Eliza Berg- Programs: Women’s Forum 

DSC05649 If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

Because Devin swooped up Nick Kristof already, I would choose to be Hillary Clinton (or anyone who gets to work with/for her!) I greatly admire Ms. Clinton for many reasons, one being that she has worked to empower women around the globe by focusing on programs and initiatives in the State Department that address gender issues. I hope to emulate her work ethic and dedication to her job in my present and future life!

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

Everywhere! I haven’t been to many places outside of the U.S., so there are many areas of the world that I hope to explore one day. One place that is top on my list is Turkey. I’m fascinated by the history of this not quite European but not quite Middle Eastern country! I think I would split my trip between Turkey and Sweden (an unlikely duo, I know). I have relatives in Sweden and it is also a country that I admire!

What is your favorite hobby?

I love to dance, sing (as in sing in the shower), read, learn languages, explore new places, and hang out with family and friends! My favorite hobby is probably watching a good TV show series!   “Seinfeld” will forever and always be my favorite TV show.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

When I studied abroad this past summer (with Marcela!), we casually walked past Jack White on a side street in Brussels.

Patrick McNicholas- Programs: Consuls Ball 

profile If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

Secretary of State. Past, present, or future. Being in the middle of the most important and complex foreign policy decisions would be a dream come true. The travel, the people you would meet, and the experiences wouldn’t be bad either!

If I could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go?

I would love to see all of Italy. The country has so much to offer from the mountains up north to its gorgeous coasts and cities. I am a bit of a history nut and Italy certainly has plenty of it.

What is your favorite hobby?

Favorite hobby is definitely golf. Takes my mind off of everything.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

New England boy for life!

Nars Chang- Programs: Consuls Ball 

IMG_1926 If you could be any person for a day, who would you be and why?

I don’t want to give up any single day of being myself. I hope that I can truly be myself everyday—not to giving in for fears, not to give up out of frustrations, always speak for my heart, and fight for what I truly believe.

And I would like to be anyone who fits the description.

If you could travel to any place in the world and spend 2 weeks there, where would you go? 

I want to travel, just travel, in the next 10-20 years. No idea where I am going yet!!

In this case, if I can go somewhere and spend 2 weeks, I want to go back to Taiwan and spend 2 weeks with my family and friends.

What is your favorite hobby?

Movies!!! I love movies. Walking and biking are great also.

Any other fun fact about yourself that you would like to share!

Taking pictures of shadows—bright vs. dark, shadows are just pretty!!


*Want to be an intern for this upcoming summer or next Fall? Then, check out this link to find out how to apply: http://www.unagb.org/get-involved/internships

Announcing our 2012 UN Day Luncheon!

UNA-GB is pleased to announce our upcoming 2012 UN Day Luncheon; the signature event will take place on Monday, Oct 29th at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. United Nations Day celebrates the Anniversary of the UN’s founding in 1945.  According to the UN, it should be an occasion for “governments and peoples to reaffirm their faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter”.  Since 2000, UNA-GB has celebrated the international holiday with our annual luncheon, gathering leaders from the business and academic communities in the Greater Boston area for an engaging dialogue on world affairs and an opportunity to network with other globally conscious individuals and organizations. Funds raised at the UN Day Luncheon directly support UNA-GB’s community events and classroom-based programs.

This year’s luncheon will focus on Brazil, a formidable leader in global affairs. Brazil represents the largest national economy in Latin America, just finished a 2 year term on the UN Security Council, hosted the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June (Rio+20), and will host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Brazil is not only an international powerhouse but also ever-present in the greater Boston community. Massachusetts boasts one of the highest populations of Brazilian immigrants in the nation with Framingham having the highest concentration of Brazilians in the state. The Commonwealth has seen an explosion of Brazilian-owned businesses, particularly in Allston-Brighton, in the last ten years from manufacturing, to culinary and financial services.

Brazil has also become more interested in doing business in Massachusetts and the Patrick administration has reciprocated this interest through their trade mission in late 2011. Governor Patrick along with representatives from Mass-based companies toured Brazil in an effort to establish and strengthen business partnerships in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Additionally, when President Dilma Rousseff visited the US in 2011, she made two stops: Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill. This fall’s luncheon will be the perfect opportunity to bridge Brazil and Boston, global and local, as we celebrate Brazil’s influence in the Commonwealth and look forward to an even stronger relationship between the two.

UNA-GB is thrilled to welcome our keynote speaker for the afternoon, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Brazil’s permanent representative to the UN. AmbassadorViotti has worked in the foreign service for three decades, and been an integral part of Brazilian decisions on international economics, development and human rights.

In addition to the Ambassador’s remarks, the luncheon will feature our second annual Global Corporate Citizenship Honor Roll, which recognizes Massachusetts-based corporations who have signed onto the UN Global Compact, Principles for Responsible Investment, or the Principles for Responsible Management Education. UNA-GB is happy to acknowledge these model companies – and, in particular, we welcome 7 new signatories to our honor roll this year.  We’re glad the commitment to global sustainability and ethical business practices is growing in Massachusetts!


You can experience firsthand a glimpse of the Luncheon below, with the video recap from  our 2011 Luncheon and see more photos here.

UN DAY 2011

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said regarding UN Day 2011, “In our increasingly interconnected world, we all have something to give and something to gain by working together.” In 1947 and now more than ever, the United Nations’ mission compels us as global citizens to unite in action to foster an improved international environment. Although the UN operates throughout the globe, the organization continues to need our support. On this day, we look to not only recognize the work of the UN, but also our own efforts, within our communities in Massachusetts and beyond, that contribute to a better world. On UN Day, UNA-GB not only thanks our community for their support of our organization and of the UN, but also urges us to look forward and ask ourselves what we can do locally to become better global citizens.

We hope you will join the UNA-GB community (a special shout out to our current 2012 sponsors, listed below) on October 29 to celebrate and recognize the United Nations’ impact locally and globally!  Stay tuned for more details over the next couple of months as they develop!

-Jessica Pires

2012 UN Day Luncheon Sponsors (as of August 7, 2012)
For those interested in joining as a sponsor, please contact Kaitlin Hasseler.


Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Brandeis University International Business School

101 Years of Progress: International Women’s Day 2012

Today, Thursday, March 8, the world celebrates the 101st anniversary of the International Women’s Day, honoring the lives of all women and girls. Here at UNA-GB, we kicked off the celebrations a little early with our annual film screening and panel discussion on Monday, March 5th.  We had more than 100 members of the community come together for War Redefined, the final film in the Women, War & Peace series. The film was followed by an enthusiastic and informative conversation among our wonderful panelists: The series executive producer Abigail E. Disney, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Dr. Amani El Jack and Sahana Dharmapuri. Take a look here for some pictures of our event.

War Redefined challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace constitute a man’s sphere. The film features insightful conversations with Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic, the founder of Women for Women International Zainab Salbi, globalization expert Moisés Naím, and Cynthia Enloe of Clark University.

Today, many more wars are fought within countries with failing states compared to wars fought across borders. The proliferation of the use of small arms in the aftermath of the Cold War has transformed the landscape of war. War is no longer fought among the uniformed military forces of two or more countries. In this post-Cold War era, civilians have become the primary victims of war, with women being the foremost targets, and suffering unprecedented casualty rates.

One of the most heinous crimes perpetrated against women during and in the aftermath of wars is sexual violence. Rape and other forms of sexual violence have become major strategies used in modern wars. War Redefined portrays how millions of women and children have been victimized in civil wars ranging from Bosnia to Rwanda. This has brought into sharp relief the concept of human security as contrasted with national security. Even though women and children constitute the overwhelming number of the victims of war, people tasked with peacemaking have traditionally been men.

Recognizing this paradox, United Nations Security Council in the year 2000 passed Resolution 1325 which called for peace agreements to take into account the special needs of women and girls, to support women’s peace initiatives, and implement international humanitarian and human rights law concerning rights of women and girls. The resolution further urged all parties to take action to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, and to respect their special needs in humanitarian and refugee emergencies.

Accordingly, War Redefined portrays how the United States military has begun to task women soldiers to work closely with Afghani women to address their needs such as health care and food security. Humanity is slowly but surely recognizing Harriet Beecher Stowe’s observation that “Women are the real architects of society.” Women can only achieve security, happiness and true liberation when they themselves take the initiative, and raise their voices against inequality and violence. Only then will the world come to celebrate the Women’s Day in its full glory.

The conversation held on Monday between the panelists and the audience was rousing, provactive and inspiring – I look forward to seeing how the Boston community continues to engage with gender justice and equity issues!

HAPPY 101st INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!  Click here for our blog post detailing additional events around Boston – there are still some to come!

-Smriti K.

The Rural Challenge

Another week has just begun and today we have our weekly blog post from our Get Educated, One Topic At A Time blog series. This week learn about rural development in today’s world, including the benefits and challenges it introduces to areas around the world in rural areas with the need for development for a brighter future. Check out our other blog posts in the series, including: “Creating A Road To Democracy”, “A Historical Moment For Genocide”, “Two Sides To Invest”, “An Undefined Grasp Of Failure”, “A Necessary Priority” and “A Reform For The World”.  Check back next Monday for a new post on a whole new topic to ‘get educated’ on!

Approximately 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty today. According to the World Bank, about 75% of the world’s poorest live in rural areas. Rural development is an important international step, not only to reduce poverty, but also to ensure food security and foster agricultural growth worldwide.

The World Bank defines rural development as “improving the living standards of the low-income population residing in rural areas and making the process of their development self-sustaining.” This definition is driven by concerns over the increasing of rural poverty and the increased focus on improving the socioeconomic well-being of the poor through sustainable improvements. However, rural development faces structural problems such as proper transportation of food, lack of physical and social infrastructure, and underemployment in the rural workforce. This impedes growth, development, and poverty reduction in rural areas.

In 1990, the World Bank adopted an economic strategy of “poverty reducing growth” that created opportunities to earn income and improve services for the poor. This leads to a diversity of local services that will in turn lead to “balanced and sustainable rural economic growth and food security.” There is also a need to promote equal opportunity for competition, by favoring small enterprise over large, urban-based enterprise and to concentrate on rural communities.

Rural women in many countries, like in Kenya, play a central role in managing natural resources.

Rural women and children are significantly affected by poverty. In developing countries, women make up about 43% of the agriculture labour force. They work as wage labourers, sell produce, and participate in small-scale trading. In developing countries such as Africa, Asia and the Pacific, women work an average of 12 more hours each week than men. However, women are held back by low education, unequal property right laws and limited access to resources. Rural children are affected by child labour. 70% of all child labour in the world, which is equal to about 150 million children, takes place in agriculture. Child labour is often difficult to track or underreported and there is no clear defined difference between child labour and children working to help their families. It is also difficult to directly challenge and eliminate when children make up about one-third of the agriculture work force. Thus, policies attempt to improve overall working conditions and reduce safety hazards, as well as improve access to education for children. Nevertheless, the main root of child labour lies in rural poverty.

Currently, changes in agricultural markets are providing new opportunities for smallholder farmers to improve their productivity, especially in developing countries. But, the 2011 Rural Poverty Report of the IFAD says that there still remains “an urgent need…to invest more and better in agriculture and rural areas.” International actions by the World Bank, the International Labour Organization and the UN Millennium Development Goals stress the challenges in rural development, but also provide frameworks to increase rural employment and smallholder agriculture and reiterate the goal of halving the number of people suffering from extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.


A Week Calling For Action: Week of 8/1 News Roundup

It’s August! This week was a week full of opportunity to educate and help those in need around the globe as we welcome a new month. The UN Security Council welcomed both a new month and president, as India was given the position of Presidency for the month. India seems to have some plans for going about its time as president including a peacekeeping debate and creating a strong image of itself within the UN community.Monday also brought along the start of World Breastfeeding Week, as the theme this year was “Talk to me! Breastfeeding – a 3D Experience”. The theme suggested the idea of using communication tools through technology to better educate the world about the benefits of breastfeeding. Along the topic of communication tools comes a new tool introduced this week focused on giving access to resources that are propelled by technology for those that don’t have the financial support to access these resources now. The use of technology will focus on access to women in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in creating “mobile identities” that they will be able to access from any mobile phone that will allow them to have phone access through the device as well as resources to be able to educate themselves about health topics and find jobs.

Assistance is still needed throughout the world this week, as the UN declared that the famine in Somalia has spread to three other areas of the nation this week and the crisis in the Horn of Africa is in need of major support in its fight for resources.

There are many ways that you can get involved too through a variety of different organizations to help nations in the Horn of Africa recover from this crisis. UNICEF this week proposed an idea for other organizations to get involved as well, as it asked airlines to generously give less-costly space for resources to be flown to the nations in need in the Horn of Africa, and some airlines have already agreed to either free transportation of resources or discounts. It also continues to stay involved in helping as it supports those that come to refugee camps with basic resources and child protection as a majority of those coming to the camp are women and children. The World Food Programme is getting involved with the refugee camps as it has assisted with providing food and other resources to those that arrive to the camps as well, as malnutrition is a major concern for those that arrive. As nations continue to develop and get past crisis and people come together to help in whatever way they can, Sudan which had a recent development as Southern Sudan declared its independence weeks ago faced an unfortunate tragedy this week. Four Ethiopian UN Peacekeepers lost their lives from a the effects of a landmine this week and seven other Ethiopian UN Peacekeepers were injured during a mission in Sudan.

Starting the lead for assistance in the world the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continues to stay dedicated to helping those in need around the globe. This weekend he will be traveling to Japan to support the post-earthquake development of the nation. We look forward to hearing more about his trip and the development of assistance to those in need around the world as next week progresses.


From Reports to Tweets: Week of 7/4 News Roundup

The week started off with one of our national holidays, as we celebrated our Independence on July 4th. This holiday is both filled with a lot of history and celebrated each year with fireworks and events throughout the country.

As we reflected on our 225 years of independence, we also look towards the pending and/or newfound independence of other countries. Following in the footsteps of a variety of countries around the world that declared their own independence, comes a new addition. Southern Sudan will officially declare and celebrate it’s independence tomorrow, July 9th.

In between our Independence Day and the independence of Southern Sudan, a lot has and continues to happen. Two major reports were released this week focusing on key goals/priorities of the United Nations. UN Women released a report this week titled: “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice”.

This report discussed the progress of women’s rights and gender equality around the world. The UN also released a report this week, “MDG Report 2011” analyzing the progress being made toward the MDG Goals for 2015. There has been a lot of progress specifically related to poverty through these goals, but there is still a lot to be done to make the 2015 deadline, including more support of equality of all genders and ages and helping those in need throughout the world.

For our technology-savvy future leaders, our leaders starting from tomorrow to 2015 and beyond, this week brought about a lot of opportunity. Twitter had a “Townhall @ The White House” which featured President Obama answering a variety of questions that were “tweeted” by the public. Next, came Facebook‘s “Open for Questions: Youth and International Development”, featuring USAID‘s Administrator Dr. Raj Shah discussing how the youth specifically can get involvement in international development.

With technology the way of the future, this week also brought about the development of an agreement between The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Asian standards developers that will allow the opportunity for technology to be developed quicker and at a lower cost.

With this in mind, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also opened a new United Nations information and telecommunications facility in Valenica, Spain with hopes that this facility will increase communications and the services of The United Nations around the world.

Stay posted to see what impact technology will continue to have and how we can continue to advance the rights of women, as well as democracy for all peoples.


Boston Middle and High School Students Take on Global Issues

This past Friday morning, March 4th, a group of more than 250 enthusiastic high school and middle school students from the Greater Boston area gathered at the Northeastern University campus for UNA-GB’s annual Invitational Model United Nations (IMUN) conference to take on the world’s most pressing problems.

The opening ceremony began with the keynote speaker Sasha deBeausset, BUILD Coordinator at the Tufts University Chapter, who gave an attention-grabbing speech about her global project in Guatemala, inspiring students to take action as global leaders for significant change around the world.

Student delegates, then, separated into six United Nations committees, including the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council and took on the role of diplomats from 40 nations including China, India, and Afghanistan, to represent their countries. The students engaged in vigorous debates, alliance building, strategic negotiations, and resolution writing. They debated solutions to pressing global conflicts from the crisis in Haiti to the ongoing issues such as Human Organ Trafficking, HIV/AIDS Pandemic and Migrant Workers.

The productive day ended with the closing ceremony where each committee chair presented awards for the Best Speaker, Best Position Paper and Best Delegation. The IMUN participants did an amazing job of communicating their thoughts from each country’s perspectives and coming up with worldwide resolutions to the problems.

Overall, it was a successful day and a great experience for everyone. Thank you to all of those that came out to make this event successful! Without all the staffs and schools that participated, the 2011 IMUN would not have happened. Stay tuned for more event photos and a video of the day’s events!


Southern Sudan Referendum Announcement: One country or two?

Photo: actalliance.org

On Monday the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announced the preliminary results of the self determination referendum of Southern Sudan.  The results showed that 98.83 percent of all voters chose independence.  The overwhelming voter turnout is an official and monumental reflection of the will of the people of Southern Sudan.  View the UN Secretary General’s statement here.

Photo: bbc.co.uk

Throughout the voting period, the referendum was widely expected to pass. The passage of the referendum makes South Sudan its own country, with the hope of ending its long history of violence.  The creation of an independent Southern Sudan also means rearranging commercial and political alliances throughout the region.

Photo: newyorktimes.com

The next step is defining the borders between the North and South which is highly disputed due to its rich oil fields, mineral deposits, fertile land, and access to water.  Beyond the access to oil and other resources, the country is also divided by religion and language barriers. Click here for a detailed map of the disputed areas within the Sudan.

You can stay on top of the referendum results and learn more about the historic process by visiting the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau and Southern Sudan Referendum Commission’s official websites.