My day at the UN Headquarters – where the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed upon.

This tour is something I had to do! With only two weeks left in New York, today was the day I finally made it. The UN may have its flaws, but what they do is humbling and the impact they have can’t be denied.

The busy and positive atmosphere is infectious as soon as you walk into the hallways. This quote is the first thing I saw. I started smiling and couldn’t stop till I left the building. I found the mother ship!

Sustainability is common sense

Sustainability is Common Sense

German as I am, I was an hour too early. I spent almost the entire time in the book store. Two books was my limit and two books is what I got! 🙂  1) The Prize of Civilization by Jeffery D. Sachs and 2) Green House – eco-friendyl disposal and recycling at home. Sachs is my favourite Sustainable Development teacher and he works as a special advisor for the UN. So I kept looking over my shoulder to see if I run into him and get him to sing the book. Johnny Depp I ignored, but him I would approach in a second. I am such a nerd. 

Yousafzai Malala Quote UN Headquarters

This quote from Malala Yousafzai outside of the book store hit a nerve.

An exhibition about different projects part of the UNESCO Green Citizens 2015 was in the hallway. 8 stories from 8 different places that show how small things can have make a difference. 

 

  • In Japan a project teaches children to discover farming and to raise awareness about sustainable techniques.
Local Farmin Education

Sustainable Development Projects such as rice farming.

 

  • A business that has a positive impact on society – recycling. In Egypt people collect trash to sell it in order to survive and with UNESCO’s help a school has been founded to turn it into a genuine trade.
Recyling School in Cairo UN

A better use of 15.000 tonnes of waste produced in Kairo a day.

 

  • “A commitment to sustainable fishing in Brittany” is a project that negotiated fishing rights together with local fishers and businesses depending on fishery.
Sustainable fishing vs local economy

“If you take fishing away from Erquy, you remove two-thirds of the local economy.”

 

We were able to see three of the councils:

UN Trusteeship Council

Trusteeship Council where Malala held her speech.

UN Security Council

Security Council – last session’s topic was the North Korea embargo.

General Assembly

General Assembly

 

The main purpose of the UN is to sustain peace. Which is a hard task when you compare the budget of the UN and the military expenditure. 2 Billion Dollars a day is currently spent on military expenditures. A day.

 

Daily Military Expenditure

$1747 Billion Military Expenditures Worldwide – $30 Billion Official Development Assistance – UN Regular Budget $2.6 Billion

 

I am so glad I went – and I would love to go again. I wish they would open the sessions to the public again and that I could witness a decision being made.

Politics are everywhere and they aren’t left at the door of the UN building. But this quote below stuck and I am thankful that this many countries regularly get together and make commitments and decide on guidelines for the greater good. As faulted as they may be. 

Un Secretary Quote UN created for

A quote that explains the UN’s purpose best.

 

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