United Nations

Reasons for the variable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets.

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Source: Http://www.mdgmonitor.org


By Florence Goodrham

The MDGs established in 2000 by international agreement are probably the most significant major attempt to defeat poverty ever undertaken.  The UN set out eight development goals to reduce global poverty substantially by 2015.  They are viewed as basic human rights – the rights of every person on earth to health, education, shelter and security.  Reasons for variable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets can be determined through examining different regions. These include Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, South Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Firstly, Sub-Saharan Africa has made little progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets. Primarily, this could be due to persistent poverty. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 48.5% of the population is living on less than $1.25 per day, and 69.9% on less than $2.00 per day. With a little over 910 million people living in the region, this places around 637 million Africans below the poverty line. This poverty is fuelled by limited progress in economic development due to a lack of trade and participation in globalisation. There is no headquarters of a TNC in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, particular problems such as a lack of adequate nutrition have been exacerbated by war, conflict, drought, desertification and population growth.  No less than 28 Sub-Saharan African states have been at war since 1980, as pointed out by international development organization, ID21. Lastly, low levels of medical infrastructure and personnel has prevented Sub-Saharan Africa from being able to begin achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets such as reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

MDG2_July copy

Secondly, it can be observed that East Asia has been able to progress to some targets effectively but has fallen short of reaching others. The continued growth of China’s economy has supported development throughout eastern Asia. Thus, there have been clear benefits from growing wealth and jobs in China as industrialisation and urbanisation helps to explain falling poverty. Investment in doctors and hospitals, plus an increase in urban births helps to explain a reduction in maternal mortality. However, China’s ageing population has led to a reduction in the agricultural workforce, hence the risk of increased hunger. Despite the risk, as a result of progress in China, the extreme poverty rate in Eastern Asia has dropped from 61 per cent in 1990 to only 4 per cent in 2015. The Caucasus and Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Latin America and South-Eastern Asia have reached the hunger target, due mainly to rapid economic growth in the past two decades. China alone accounts for almost two thirds of the total reduction in the number of undernourished people in the developing regions since 1990.

In contrast to this, in South Asia, India’s population is continuing to grow rapidly, and due to the relative lack of urbanisation in India, villages in rural areas receive minimal assistance in feeding more people, hence a failure to meet the target eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, exemplified through the 2007 – 2010 Indian food crisis. Nevertheless, an increased amount of aid and investment in India may explain good education progress. Furthermore, in the early 2000s, low oil prices massively boosted the development of countries with a large reliance on imported oil, such as India. However, Countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered from war and conflict, which may limit or reverse progress.  South Asia has made the most progress in reducing its infant mortality rate (IMR); this could be due to both increased government spending, as the previously high IMR was seen as a major problem, restricting economic growth and social development, and new technologies, which can easily be distributed to the large population. There has been surprisingly poor progress expect for child mortality, it could be suggested that this is due to a large urban slum poverty and hunger. There is further possibly a lack of political will to address the remainder of the problem.

Overall, it can be concluded that the variable progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets in different areas of the world can be put down to levels of development, war and conflict, industrialisation and economic growth. The region which has reached the most targets and has achieved the most progress has been East Asia. This region has undergone rapid economic development and industrialisation as well as little conflict. The region which has made the least progress has been Sub-Saharan Africa due to a lack of trade, limited participation in globalisation as well as suffering from large amounts of conflict and physical difficulties.


Hope Restored: My GIMUN Experience

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Picture 3
Photo by Tatyana Gancheva.

By: Ashlee Pitts.

This year, I participated in the Geneva International Model United Nations Annual Conference for the second time. Based on my first experience and the incredible memories that I hold dear to this day, it came of absolutely no surprise to me that for some students, this annual conference was actually their third, fourth and even fifth time having a role in the conference.

Picture 1
Photo by Tatyana Gancheva.


The opportunities and potential for global networking, cross-cultural exchanges, mock negotiations and enhancements in written and verbal communication were enough to draw me in. Adding in the fact that this week-long conference is held on United Nations’ territory in the beautiful city of Geneva undoubtedly made applying to be a journalist at this Conference one of the easiest decisions that I have ever made. There is an extraordinary feeling that fills me up when I step foot in the United Nations office in Geneva. I feel that I am a part of something special and unifying. Everyone in that building has passion and is committed to global affairs and the issues that are of great concern. They are not just talking about it over coffee. They are putting in the actual work required to reach concrete solutions. How could I not be inspired by that?

I want to get involved. I need to make a difference, somehow. Walking through the corridors and passing by so many different faces and mother-tongues, there is a feeling of incredible unity even amongst complete strangers because there is this inherent sentiment that though you do not know the purpose of their time at the UN, you can be sure that they want to make a difference, just like you.

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Photo by Tatyana Gancheva.


Right now, my home country, the United States, is deeply polarized and divided by a plethora of issues related to differences in political ideologies, seemingly never-ending racial tensions and clashes in viewpoints on religion, sexuality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights and so on. The list goes on and on. In the midst of all the bickering, insults and misunderstandings, we forget that our diversity is actually one of our strongest assets. After the incredibly disheartening and tumultuous presidential election season, I was itching to arrive at the United Nations again. I needed to find the hope that I had lost somewhere between the conclusion of the primary elections and Inauguration Day.

Spoiler alert: I found it. I found it in the people that I met at GIMUN who seek to bridge the divides in this world. When I look back on my time with my fellow journalists as well as the delegates, interpreters, and Chairs, I truly feel like we had one collective voice; a voice that unequivocally refused to accept hate, division and partisan political undertakings as the norm. We want solutions and I think that every single participant of the conference said in their own way: I want to help and I want in on the process. I have hope and am certain that everyone at this conference will play a role in making the world better for future generations. And the diversity of talent that I witnessed amongst the participants is what makes me certain of this. I could see many of them creating positive change throughout the world in many different ways may it be in the realms of governing, teaching, consulting, writing or even through music or art.

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Photo by Tatyana Gancheva.


By now, I would hope that we have all come to terms with the fact that no one individual country or world leader can solve the pressing, urgent and dire issues of our world on their own. It will take all of us to have a hand in coming up with solutions. It will not be swift and it will not be easy, but if we want any chance at world peace, we need to put the arms down, lift our heads up and link hands in solidarity while understanding that peace-talks and negotiations will go further than any amount violence, intimidation or psychological warfare. I am humbled by my experience at GIMUN and while this conference was my last, the memories and lessons learned will be irrevocably everlasting.


Economic Empowerment of Women & Girls in a Sustainable Development Perspective. Act, advance and achieve women’s rights!

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Capture 5
Source: NGOCSWGva.

By Nataliya Borys.

capture 1NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW Geneva) with the generous support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), organized a forum dedicated to the economic empowerment of women & girls in a sustainable development perspective, the 10th of October 2016 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.[1] Our editor-in-chief, Nataliya Borys, a feminist and an active supporter of women’s rights, was quite enthusiastic to know about practical solutions to economic empowerment of women & girls by taking some notes. So what do participants offer as tools of economic empowerment of women & girls? What practically can be done? Read the rest of this entry »

A youthful boost for world governance

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Source: Foraus

By Nataliya Borys, translated by Aymeric Jacquier.

Would you like to communicate directly with the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva about global issues? Do you think this is practically impossible? Well, the think-tank Foraus and the Global Studies Institute made this possible for an evening. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Day 2016: Climate Change, a many-sided, urgent and growing threat

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Dawes Glacier calving
Source:  http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/hires/2012/carbondioxid.jpg

By Flavio Baroffio

On 24th October 2016, GIMUN celebrated the 71st anniversary of the UN Charter, which came into force exactly on this date in 1945, by holding the annual UN Day at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to discuss the current threat of climate change and how young people can tackle it. Read the rest of this entry »

How I created a new MUN Delegation : The importance of Model United Nations

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The MUN Delegation created by Florence at the Withington Girl’s School, UK.


By Florence Goodrham


« If the United Nations does not attempt to chart a course for the world’s people in the first decades of the new millennium,who will? »

Kofi Annan

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International Peace and Security at my expense? Economic Sanctions – A philosophical comment

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This article was published in the printed version of the GIMUN Chronicles, the newspaper of GIMUN’s Annual Conference 2016, last March. We thought we’d give our readers a chance to rediscover it!

First Phase Digital

By Laura Carolin Freitag

In light of the horrors of World War II, the United Nations (UN) came into existence charged with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. Established in the name of “We the Peoples”, the United Nations Member States promised mankind to unite their strengths in order to bring about a world free from the scourge of war; a world in which men and women could lead a secure life. Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter enunciates the tools that are at the Member States’ disposal when this mission runs into danger. Read the rest of this entry »