Humans of HamMUN2017! Interview with the Delegate of the USA, UNDP.

On Friday, we spoke with Dimitra, 22, who is currently studying a masters in Law in Cardiff, UK. This is already her 16th MUN, but first one in Hamburg. She decided to take part in HamMUN because she heard it’s a very good conference, so our reputation gave us away 😉

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You are representing the USA in the United Nations Development Program. What position on global healthcare does your country hold?

Basically, the US believes that sexual health is a global issue, as it affects everyone, so the US supports the establishment of a global framework. Projects could be run by NGOs in collaboration with national governments and institutional organizations such as the UNDP, but also other partners, such as corporate actors, could contribute to a global health cluster.

 How could funding of programs aimed to improve sexual health look like?

Projects could be financed by a joint fund, where governments contribute in a similar manner as in the UN Global Fund. In our committee’s case so far, the main contributors are three countries: the US, Japan and the UK. But we cannot fund all on our own, so we hope that to some extend we can include NGOs in the funding process and convince them to contribute, financially, and especially in terms of action. We will call upon national governments to contribute voluntarily, but we would prefer to have everyone helping with funding.

After today’s debate, which focused a lot on HIV, and how to prevent infections, would you say this is an issue in the US and which specific measures could be taken to tackle this problem?

In the US, we still have a high number of people infected with HIV, however, in the last years, we see a decline. New HIV diagnoses fell 19% from 2005 to 2014. We have reached this by for instance distributing free condoms, promote information events at schools, starting media campaigns on posters and TV, distribute flyer, and other actions, to raise more awareness for this issue. We also see a connection between drug abuse and HIV infections and try to find solutions that don’t see these as isolated problems.

How do you generally like the UNDP committee, what is your take on the situation so far after the first two sessions?

Overall, we had a very fruitful discussion with everyone. We believe that there are still many other things we can address in the context of sexual health, apart from the topic of HIV that was the focus of debate today. For instance, we should speak about family planning, teenage pregnancies and forced marriage, which are significant issues not only in developing countries. Basically, we need to make child marriage illegal for all countries, to improve the situation.

Which direction would you like the next sessions to go?

We hope to expand to other subtopics beside HIV, for instance talk more about abortion and family planning and other interrelated issues and how to deal with them.

Thank you very much for the interview!

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HIV top of the agenda on World AIDS Day

Motto: “We all agree that we don’t like HIV, but what now?”

Most of yesterday afternoon was spend on discussing the subtopic of HIV prevention, and how this could become part of a global framework. Other topics such as investments in education and health infrastructure, marriage age, women’s rights and accessibility of contraceptives (though the idea of condoms available in public bathrooms did not please all delegates), were also briefly touched upon but have to be elaborated further. There might be two working papers on the floor on the next day of session, so we’re excited for what the delegates propose in detail.

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Furthermore, United Nations Development Program committee was briefly interrupted by the HamMUN academics team. According to the chairs, the academics team was supposed to do “something fun” to liven up the discussion, but instead took the stage and gave some practical advice on how to deal with a topic in depth and work towards creating a good resolution paper. Though the chairs were concerned that the interruption might impact their popularity amongst the delegates, the speakers were more concrete in their points after and it seemed like the advice had a positive impact. A motion to forgive the chairs passed without objections.

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Education is Key in the UNDP.

In the UNDP’s first session, the delegates were setting the agenda for topic A “Developing a Global healthcare framework on sexual health to target Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals”. Several delegates emphasised the focus on education and the importance of this topic, and called for action. The delegates of Germany, France, and Samoa, amongst others, argued for the creation of a global framework to tackle problems such as lack of information, availability of contraception and transmission of infectious diseases. Supporting rural communities, women’s rights and capacity building were connected measures proposed by delegates. The delegate of Iran noticed that it might be difficult for Islamic states to discuss such a sensitive issue and support a global framework. Thus, cultural differences also must be taken in account when creating a global framework on sexual health and education. The delegate of Australia also remarked that a possible global framework also has to take into account the protection of human rights, if this basic condition is not met, Australia might not support the framework.

Generally, the support for building a global framework was widespread amongst delegates, but which shape this is going to take still has to be decided upon.