Special Summit on Sustainable Development Engages With Communities

By YENA SEO, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (expository)

In a turn of events, the Special Summit on Sustainable Development at the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) Conference has begun to focus on community-led initiatives to address development after health crises, rather than the top-down approaches that were proposed in earlier sessions. Perhaps inspired by the speech given by guest speaker Sushma Raman of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights, most of the working papers proposed by the Special Summit on Sustainable Development have incorporated community-based health and community leadership in one shape or form.

A number of working papers were presented by member nations, all of which included enthusiastic support for international engagement and improved communication between organizations at all levels. The committee, which has been tasked to address development after major health crises and emergencies, saw the ineffectiveness of the international response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, in which scores of people across West Africa died from the disease. Two major contributing factors that proved to be detrimental in the response to containing the Ebola virus were poor communication and a lack of investment into community resources. The Special Summit on Sustainable Development, eager to avoid the tragic mistakes made only a matter of years ago, have now focused their attention to multifaceted approaches.

One working paper, titled “TEA,” emphasized the need to expand economics and advance health care in underdeveloped regions, while still trusting in the international system. The paper, sponsored by the United Kingdom, Canada, and several others, strives to work with organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, while also recommending local initiatives and collaboration between the World Health Organization and local health and medical teams in countries such as Liberia.

Another paper, “PIE (Prevention, Intervention, Eradication),” was presented by Belarus, the Russian Federation and Spain, and advocates for peer-driven intervention methods to help communities become self-sustaining. PIE and TEA also recommend initiatives that would encourage research partnerships between the Global North and the Global South in an effort to bridge the medical and educational gap.

“All governments, democratic or not, will be included in this working paper,” the delegate from the Russian Federation said. “We are also welcome to any changes and amendments that could further strengthen this resolution.”

A separate working paper, “LICE,” emphasizes four major themes in its clauses: Legal, Infrastructure, Cooperation, and Education. To increase crisis management capabilities in less economically developed countries, the paper advocates for a “Yellow Road Program” that would improve transportation and road systems in rural communities.

The Special Summit on Sustainable Development has truly taken a multifaceted approach towards post-crisis development, and its clauses advocating for community-led initiatives complement the international framework. The next task for this committee will be to merge many of these papers into one wholly comprehensive resolution that can hopefully curb the next global health crisis from occurring.

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The Russian Federation invites other nations to collaborate with the “PIE” working paper, which emphasizes Prevention, Intervention and Eradication.

 

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