Bi-Weekly UN Recap #2

by Chea-Mun Tan on March 7, 2017

Welcome to Bi-weekly UN Recap, a new series from Best Delegate to help delegates stay up-to-date with the happenings of the UN! The following are UN-related events that have occurred in the last two weeks. Links have been attached to key events, terms, and figures– click for more information!

Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, Passes Away

On February 20, 2017, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, passed away. The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, alongside the Security Council and the General Assembly mourned Vitaly Churkin’s passing. Guterres commended Churkin as “an outstanding diplomat” and a “powerful orator with great wit, and a man of many talents and interests”. Churkin spent over 40 years serving as part of the Russian Diplomatic Service.


Vitaly Churkin briefed journalists last year in the UN Headquarters. (UN News Center Photo by Amanda Voisard)

  • A complete article by the UN News Center on this issue can be found if you click here.
  • Russia and the United States have had a complex relationship at the Security Council, which has included a few clashes. The Former US Permanent Representative, Samantha Power, wrote an article for the New York Times about her interactions with Churkin, in and outside the UN. This can be found here.

UN World Health Organization (WHO) Reports Depression as a “Leading Cause of Disability Worldwide”

The UN World Health Organization has reported that depression is the “leading cause of disability worldwide,” with over 300 million people affected. This figure equates to an estimated 4.4% of the world population suffering from depression. On February 23, 2017, WHO released a report on recent findings regarding depression– this report can be found here.

Migrant Deaths in the Mediterranean

The UN reports that the first two months of 2017 saw over 300 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. An estimated 366 deaths have occurred in the first 53 days of 2017. Accounted arrivals from nations are as follows: Italy (10,701 arrivals), Greece (2,223 arrivals), Spain (1,000 arrivals). These figures are drastically comparable to arrivals in 2016, with Greece recorded at 97,325 and Italy at 8,102.


Migrants rescued from the Mediterranean rescued in Italy. (UN News Center Photo by IOM Francesco Malavolta)

  • A complete article by the UN News Center on this issue can be found if you click here.

New Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

On February 28, 2017, the new Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, was sworn in by Secretary-General António Guterres during a ceremony at the UN Headquarters. During the 2017 Operational Activities for Development, a segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Amina Mohammed delivered her first address to the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Amina Mohammed states in her speech that “around the world, success in achieving the SDGs will ease global anxieties, provide a better life for women and men and build a firm foundation for stability and peace in all societies, everywhere.” In her speech, she further emphasizes how implementations by the UN must be “fit for purpose.”


Amina J. Mohammed addressed the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment. (UN News Center Photo by Eskinder Debebe)

  • For a complete article by the UN News Center on this issue, click here.
  • A complete article by the UN SDGs on Amina Mohammed’s address can be found here.

Crisis in Yemen

Humanitarian Assistance to Avert Famine

According to the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, Yemeni people are in urgent need of both humanitarian and protective assistance. O’Brien states that Yemen is among “the countries which for the first time in modern history could fall into simultaneous famine.”

  • To learn more about Yemen’s threat of famine, click here.

Recruitment of Yemeni Child Soldiers

From March 26, 2015 to January 31, 2017, the UN had verified that 1,476 boys were recruited as child soldiers. The UN has warned all parties involved in Yemen to immediately release child soldiers. Spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, told reporters that “the numbers are likely to be much higher as most families are not willing to talk about the recruitment of their children, for fear of reprisals”

  • For more information by the UN News Center, click here.

Nation-Wide Displacement

According to a UN report, a recorded 274,000 Yemeni people have been displaced. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has initiated a tracking system for displaced individuals as a means to respond to humanitarian needs of those displaced.

Syrian War: China and Russia on Chemical Weapons

China and Russia vetoed a resolution by the United Nations Security Council, which would have imposed sanctions against those using chemical weapons in Syria. Nine of the SC nation’s voted in favor, with one rejection from Bolivia in agreement with China and Russia, and three abstentions.


The UN SC voted on the resolution for imposing sanctions on Syria due to the use of chemical weapons. (UN News Center Photo by Manuel Elias)

  • A complete article by the UN News Center on this issue can be found if you click here.

Refugees Fleeing to Poorer Countries

A new study by the United Nations has found that the 3.2 million individuals seeking shelter in 2016 have found shelter in low-middle income nations. The United Nations Refugee Agency released the 2016 Mid-Year Trends, which finds that half of the refugees fleeing from the Syrian crisis has fled to nations such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. The UNHCR reports other nations that have taken in refugees as the following: Iraq, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

According to the UN News Center, Filippo Grandi, Commissioner of the UNHCR, criticizes the “politicizing of refugees in Europe, the United States, and other industrialized countries and regional blocks”. He continued that “these are people that flee from danger, they’re not dangerous themselves”.

  • To read more about this topic, check out the UN News Center’s article here.
  • UNHCR’s video on “Which countries host the most refugees?” can be found clicking here.

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