Cognitive Diversity Spurs SPECPOL Members to New and Inciteful Ideas

By Daniel Juliao, El Mundo (Opinion)

SPECPOL welcomed guest speakers to their committee. The first speaker was the renowned speaker Jamille Bigio. She discussed in detail the travesties of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers and her ideas as to what can be done to prevent or reduce these incidents.  Jamille Bigio was followed by two NGO speakers that presented a short speech then answered questions asked by the delegates. Both NGOs afterwards could participate in the working paper process. The first NGO was Amnesty International who presented her take on what is current occurrences and suggested solutions. Following the presentation by Amnesty International, the main point of contention in my mind was what impact would Jamille Bigio and the NGO’s have on the process of making a resolution within SPECPOL.

It seemed doubtful that they work have any impact at first. I conducted an interview with the representative for Amnesty International, where she further explained her ideas. The representative for Amnesty International advocated heavily for volunteer experts on the ground that would hold peacekeepers accountable, but seemed flustered when asked how ground volunteer experts would be held accountable. At this point, the impact of the NGOs seemed minimal.

Following an unmoderated caucus in SPECPOL, an interview with the delegate of Netherlands was conducted. The focal point of the interview was the involvement of the NGOs in the process of working papers. The outcome was shockingly in favor of the NGOs. The delegate of Netherlands listed several ideas that were further improved by the presence of the NGOs. The delegate discussed better methods to train peacekeepers and to improve the way they handle gender issues. If Jamille Bigio had not raised the importance of the issue and if the NGO had not been involved, it seemed unlikely for the working paper to tackle gender issues in such a substantive way.

An interview was conducted with the representative for Denmark on what she anticipated her role to be and what she felt she added to the working papers. The Danish delegate was pleasantly surprised with requests for her involvement as she anticipated a secondary role in the working paper process instead of the active role she took on. The second question was what her contribution to the working papers was. The Danish delegate said her biggest contribution was “additional proposed long term solutions to financing and product growth”.

At the beginning, it seemed unlikely that the NGOs and the speaker would be substantial factors to working papers within SPECPOL, yet that was not the final outcome. Instead their involvement was valued and working papers would not be the same without them. The presence of speakers and NGOs clearly benefit delegates and El Mundo strongly urges more of their involvement. Excited to see how the contributions of the NGOs and the speakers play a role in further discussion within the committee.



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