Represented by Lina Claudi and Wiebke Wodni
The history of this committee traces back to 1966 when a small trust fund was established by the UN General Assembly. It was created to be a helpful source for information on population-related issues. But this trust fund did not evolve into a committee until two years later, administered by the UN Development Programme UNDP). It is guided by ECOSOC’s policies and also reports there. A major turning point was the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, concerning the way population issues were going to have to be addressed: a correlation between poverty, health education, reproductive health, the status of women, and the environment was established. UNFPA was charged with the implementation of the Conference’s Programme of Action and formulated a mission statement, which is directed towards “the right of every woman, man, and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity”.
At NMUN 2008, we were given three urgent topics to be addressed by the current members of the Executive Board:
1. Enhancing Family Planning Capabilities and Educational Programs;
2. Eliminating Child Marriages;
3. Addressing Sexual Violence in Emergency Situations.
Enhancing Family Planning Capabilities and Educational Programs mainly focuses on the vicious circle of poverty, reproductive education, and high birth rates. As it is impossible for poor women to receive a proper health education and sufficient possibilities to prevent pregnancy, they have a greater number of children. Families usually do not have enough resources to nourish every child. Another aspect is the unbelievable high frequency of sexually transmitted diseases. All these factors contribute to an exacerbating poverty of the already poor.
Secondly, our schedule proposed to discuss Eliminating Child Marriage in coherence with early childbearing. The practice of wedding persons under the legal age represents a grave human rights violation and Japan, therefore, believes that this issue needs to gain global relevance. The rights of the child, in Japan secured by several acts against sexual exploitation, child prostitution, and child abuse, have to be addressed by several UN programs and specialized agencies. Furthermore, we believe that needs-oriented services and community-based projects are a comprehensive approach of changing the situation in a culturally sensitive manner.
Thirdly, Addressing Sexual Violence in Emergency Situations belonged to the committee’s concerns, since it poses a mayor threat to peace and security in the world. Sexual violence is a common instrument of war, directed mainly against women and the girl child in order to intimidate or take revenge. This is where Human Security, our core concept for solving problems, plays a vital role. Japan believes that stable families and communities can only exist if these basic units are protected with regard to special vulnerabilities and threats in emergency situations.
Although we considered, in accordance with Japan’s foreign policy, the latter topic most urgent and wanted to integrate a gender perspective into UN Peacekeeping Operations, the Executive Board decided by majority on the first day of conference that the former topic was to be discussed first, the third second, and the second topic last. After this decision we had two and a half days left to concentrate on possible strategies how the world could become a better place for each individual. Committee work consisted mostly of informal caucuses in which small groups joined, not necessarily according to their interest or region how it can be usually observed, but to work out different parts of a report. Hence, there was no ambition to draft separate papers from the beginning on, which is why the Executive Board adopted this report unanimously and within about three minutes. Since every delegate worked on it seriously, the report turned out to be six pages. Although we had compiled the main ideas within about a day, we were not able to address any other issue due to bureaucratic obligations.
The simulated Populations Fund recognized and recommended mutual responsibility between developing and developed states, the promotion of educational programs and public awareness, establishment and stabilization of research institutions, a reproductive healthcare plan, and cultural sensitivity. Japan had success in changing parts that are not compatible with its foreign policy interests and in integrating our approach as a recommendation to address population issues by the UN: “…through economic growth, women are empowered and protected and given the possibility to plan their life independently. Therefore, a Human Security driven approach is vital…”