My weeklong stint in Singapore is unfortunately coming to an end today but it has been a wonderful learning experience, and an interesting insight into the processes and inner workings of the United Nations. It’s been particularly fascinating to be part of these processes during such a momentous week in history – regarding the UN’s recent involvement in Libya.
This week I represented Saint Kitts & Nevis (a tiny little Carribean country!) in the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian committee (SOCHUM). We began with two topics on the floor for discussion – The Right to Development and Disabled Persons, spending the first three hour session debating backwards and forwards about which topic we should spend the next four days discussing and writing resolutions for.
Whilst the chair of our committee was great at ensuring every country had opportunities to speak, it was interesting to watch the power of the G20 countries at work in our committee and they way they manipulated smaller countries like Saint Kitts who have quite a tiny voice! It made me realise just how important the role of NGOs are in ensuring smaller countries are given a voice and opportunity to access their rights on the global stage.
Our committee eventually decided to work on The Right to Development – how such a concept should be acted upon in the developing world, the responsibility of the developed world and measurable outcomes for development. Through another 15 hours of moderated and un-moderated caucuses, many motions, draft resolutions and notes between countries we successfully passed a resolution that was supported by the majority of developing countries in our committee. I’m trying to get a hold of this resolution and will post it up here when I get a copy! I definitely think it would be in the United Nations’ interest to read our paper and take note of our discussions – we came up with a lot of innovative ideas J
I often left our committee sessions with a feeling of great frustration about the inefficiency and bureaucracy of the United Nations, however commend its unique ability to bring together countries from across the world, spanning cultures, religion and languages.
Overall my experience has definitely been beneficial for my degree – particularly for my final subject next semester, Global Problem Solving! I’ve learnt a lot about negotiation and diplomacy this week and look forward to putting it into practice throughout the remaining year of my degree.
Finally, a quick update of some out of conference things I’ve done throughout the week. Had a quick visit to my favourite place in Singapore – Little India – bought a skirt from the same place I did a year and a half ago and of COURSE got Henna on my hand and ankle! Also enjoyed a delicious Mango Lassi and savoured all the wonderful sights, smells and sounds this wonderful little place has to offer!
Topped off a great week at Universal Studios and the Singapore Flyer yesterday. Nothing beats a good rollercoaster and this theme park had a few! Venturing into the lands of Battlestar Galactica, Jurassic Park, Shrek and The Mummy I went on as many rides and saw as many shows as I could fit into 7 hours! It’s a great theme park if you ever get a chance to go!
(See below for more photos!!)
Tonight (2am Singapore time/5am Sydney time) I leave for Dubai! I am so excited to travel to the Middle East for my first time and experience a new culture which is completely foreign to me! I’ll be having a week’s holiday there before my next conference and will definitely be blogging about everything I see/do and TASTE!
So long Singapore!
See you in Dubai!