On 1-2 April 2017 students of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and other Universities from all over Ukraine participated in the UN Model where they represented diplomatic interests of different countries and had a chance to simulate the work of different Committees and organs of the United Nations.

On 1-2 April 2017, students of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and other Universities from all over Ukraine participated in the UN Model where they represented diplomatic interests of different countries and had a chance to simulate the work of different Committees and organs of the United Nations.

The following committees and organs which were simulated:

  • Committee on energy security
  • Security Council
  • ICAO — International Civil Aviation Organization
  • Special Committee on International Terrorism
  • Economic and Social Council

The event was opened by Neal Walker, Humanitarian Coordinator, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine:

"Dear United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Kyrylo Kundik, Dear Vice-President for Research and Information Technology, Ms. Tetiana Yaroshenko, Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, dear organizers and participants:

I am really pleased to be here with you at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy Model UN 2017. Twenty-seven years I’ve worked in the United Nations, and I am still motivated and excited by what we do. Just before I was hired by the United Nations Development Program in 1990, I attended a model United Nations in Moscow. The Soviet Union was already falling apart, it was hard to witness. I was finishing graduate school, I had already applied for a job with the UN, but I can tell you, after participating in that model UN, I was more than ever motivated to get the job. And, here I am, having worked for United Nations in all regions of the world and currently honoured to lead an amazing program of wide-ranging United Nations support for Ukraine.

It is fantastic that so many young Ukrainians are interested in the work of the United Nations. Ukraine was one of only three Soviet Union states that signed the UN Charter after the Great Patriotic War. As many of you will know, Ukraine has made significant contributions to the UN over many decades. These contributions include food for the WFP, as well as Ukrainian support for UN international peacekeeping operations in Guatemala, Timor-Leste, Kosovo, Mozambique, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia. I’m sorry to report that 49 Ukrainian peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving with the UN peacekeeping operations.

Today, I want to present two sides of the United Nations. First, a UN forged out of the scourge of two global wars and horrific destruction. This is a United Nations that puts forward, at the global level, inspirational ideas to motivate actions. Second, I want to present you with the United Nations that implements action on-the-ground to improve people’s lives. The famous author Oscar Wilde said way back in 1891 – “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth looking at.” The United Nations not only put Utopia on the map, we work every day to make those ideals real for regular people. Yes, we can dream of a world where there is peace and tolerance, good governments and respect for the Human Rights of all. Without that dream in front of us, we are doomed to mediocrity.

To start with, think of human rights. The concept did not even exist before the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was agreed back in 1948. Since then, the fundamental principles of equal rights for all has become enshrined in international law, and even leaders are held accountable for their respect.

Can you imagine, at the signing of the UN founding documents in 1945, there were only two women among 160 signatories! These two women were accompanied by only two observers. That’s it! But that handful of women created a foundation for further action, including critical language on women’s rights. Since then, how things have changed! There is a powerful, worldwide demand to eliminate discrimination against women. But that is not all, there is clear definition of exactly what that means, there are standards that countries are required to uphold. There is ongoing action to protect women’s rights, to empower them in politics, in economics and in the social sphere. There is a committee that meets every four years to assess progress on women’s equality, it just met on the situation in Ukraine last month in Geneva, and you all can read the report.

In the realm of development, the United Nations created the concept of the Millennium Development Goals. These were quantifiable, time-bound objectives to improve people’s lives. The work to achieve the MDG’s helped to lift millions of people out of poverty. They have been succeeded by the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG’s. The SDG’s articulate goals for a better world for all countries, for all citizens. I am really pleased to see your focus here today on the SDG’s. Please have confidence that they constitute a powerful tool to achieve positive change in Ukraine today, tomorrow and into the future. Please work, to make them real.

In conclusion, these powerful ideas are reflected in the simple language of the preamble to the Charter of the United Nations –

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war;
  • To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small;
  • To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom

And yet, despite these wonderful words, you will look out the window on the world today, and you might well pull out your hair, stand and shout, but how is it possible? War in so many countries, including Ukraine, famine in the horn of Africa, continued discrimination against women, against minorities and violence against ethnic groups. For those of you who follow the movie saga of “Star Wars” it might well seem that the Evil Empire is gaining ground all over the world.

Let me tell you, dear Participants: the still relevant and brilliant ideals of the United Nations give us the tools and the principles we need to fight back. They give us the legitimate, accepted framework we need to demand peace, tolerance, respect for rights, socio-economic development as exemplified in the SDG’s you are looking at today. All of this contributes achieving the quality governance that builds a better society.

Now I would like to talk about how we work towards these inspirational ideals in Ukraine, in pragmatic but also in so many different ways.

First, the United Nations in Ukraine stands for human rights. The 17 reports written by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission document violations of people’s rights, whether it is torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, or anything else. On the one hand, we have been able to push for an end to some things in the realm of detentions and torture. The fact that Government, de facto authorities and the Russian Federation are under such scrutiny makes them just a little less likely to commit such violations. Looking into the future, these reports will stand as solid evidence for any possible prosecutions for violations of human rights.

The United Nations implements humanitarian action that has reached literally millions of Ukrainians. This includes rebuilding homes destroyed by the fighting, supply of food and medicine to those particularly vulnerable groups such as elderly, widows, single mothers and institutions. We rebuilt the Seminivka water pumping station. Imagine, it pumps water 132 kilometres from Seminivka in Government controlled areas, into Donetsk city, then south, again across the contact line, to Mariopol, serving potable water to almost one million people. We’ve restored electricity and heating systems, and continue to offer support to those in need on both sides of the contact line.

But all of you know that Ukraine is not a country that should require humanitarian assistance. It was the center of the Soviet Union aero-space industry. It has more computer engineers per capita than almost any other country. Including, UN Secretary General Kundik, here with us today, is an IT student! In that line of thinking, the United Nations supports national and local governments in recovery efforts, in the government controlled areas of conflict-affected eastern Ukraine. This means creating jobs, rebuilding social infrastructure such as schools and clinics, and we help communities address the tensions that inevitably rise between those people displaced by the conflict and their host communities. There is inspirational work ongoing to support women that have been victims of sexual violence, which has increased since the conflict began. Personally, I have found the recovery work to be of exceptional quality, we strive to build back better, to ensure communities are resilient, because we cannot say how long the conflict will last. And please allow me to highlight that we get extraordinary support from citizens. It is my experience in Ukraine that people recognize that these are their problems and that they must lead the solutions. But the support of the United Nations is often a critical catalyst for action.

Finally, we are engaged in reform and development. You will certainly know of the electronic declaration of assets required of public officials, done with support from the UN. You will have heard of the work of international organizations with the Ministry of Health, to bring in drugs that have not been available in the market, at prices much lower than was possible through the corrupted systems in place. And, we fully support the Government’s comprehensive efforts to achieve the SDG’s. These are just a few examples, perhaps in your work today, you will generate more ideas on how the UN system can support Ukraine in these difficult times!

Certainly, for anything the United Nations is doing in Ukraine, there are those who like to criticize. All of us working in the United Nations Ukraine are civil servants of an international organization. Almost 90% of my staff are national professionals, that is, they are Ukrainian, but they serve as the civil servants of an international organization. Please be aware, that it is not our job to enter the political fray and dispute the veracity of critical statements by politicians or oligarchs. We work with champions in the Government that support achievement of results, we work with civil society, and we support the results that Ukrainians themselves are striving to achieve. If you read criticism of what we do, frankly, ask yourself who stands to lose by an end of corrupt practices, who gains by dividing Ukraine, look for those linkages, look beyond the criticisms, and assess the results, for yourself. As UN civil servants, we simply do our job, quietly and effectively, in support of Ukrainians.

Let’s get back to your work here today. I am sure you are all here because you are concerned about Ukraine’s future and the situation in the world at large. Your participation in the Kyiv Mohyla Academy Model UN 2017 comes at a time when the world increasingly recognizes the power of young people to create a better world. Yes, you are the future leaders of the country and this conference is a great training ground for you. You will have to represent countries in talks with States that have policies you may not agree with. It will train you to be open-minded and flexible. Analyze all of the positions, even those that you oppose and strive to propose constructive solutions that will benefit all parties. Developing diplomatic skills will help you prepare for leadership in the future.

But I also ask you to approach the task from an understanding of the norms. What are the norms? We’ve already spoken about them: respect for human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals. Use this crucial knowledge to look for common ground, for solutions. We are facing complex, difficult problems, and it is easy even for reasonable people to disagree. When we start with a vision of the society we want, as measured in human rights and development goals, it becomes easier to find that common ground.

I am really pleased that the issues you will discuss today at the Committees correlate with the Sustainable Development goals. I am confident that you will come up with scalable and innovative ideas on how to advance the achievement of every Global goal.

Despite the challenges facing Ukraine, I am optimistic about the future. That is in part, because of all of you. The vast majority of young people long for peace and security and are committed to human rights. Allow me to emphasize that young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today. By your actions, every day, now as well as into the future, you lead. It is your choice to invest your leadership in positive change, and I salute you for that. You are part of the biggest generation of young people in history of Ukraine. Your energy, innovation, and optimism is critical, and I wish you every success.

Thank you."