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The Planet is ill: Hope Lies with the UN


The UN General Assembly of the United Nations – UN, stands as a beacon of hope to end global hardships in the forms of undertaken the Millennium Developmental Goals –MDGs, is their adoption of the role of global governance, and the desire for a nuclear-free world in presented statements, reports, and proposals that stressed how mankind is “ill and suffering.”

On Monday September 20th, I attended the first full day sessions of “UN’s MDGs - 2010 Summit,” and other panel conferences that paralleled this summit at the UN.

Furthermore, as an NGO representative on behalf of The Light Millennium (LM) to the UN, I also had an opportunity to attend the 65th Session of the General Assembly on Thursday September 23rd 2010 for the second consequent year. (You can find a summary of the LM's affiliation with the UN at the bottom of this post.)

by Bircan Ünver, The Light Millennium
Permanent Rep. to the UN DPI


Through these notes, I would like to share with you my observations of the Millennium Development Goals Summit - 2010, during the UN’s 65th General Assembly gathering, and evidence that the UN is a thriving and fortifying mechanism for future hopes and outcomes.

Furthermore, the Summit and 65th Annual General Assembly once more substantiated the role of the UN as the chief leader in solving all pandemic problems of the world.

In the year 2000, the UN’s General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, encouraged the UN’s member nations to approve “UN’s Declaration of Developmental Goals.” Since, SG Ki-Moon has strived to achieve his and the UN’s 2015 goal plan, and to create partnerships and trade between developed and developing nations, with passion and perseverance.

We must also keep in mind that UN’s Millennium Development Goals Declaration is the only document that has the power to enforce change in the name of humanity, after the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” In another words, MDGs Declaration is the most crucial document in our times that is NOT simply a vision, but with its action plan, budget, required commitments-binding agreements of the governments, and partnering other countries and institutions is, indeed, the only HOPE for humanity and the globe as a whole.

The nature of the MDGs Declaration has the power to support and monitor the progress of the eight main goals set for the 2015 by the UN and member states, to channel information, to finance, to regulate partnerships, and to enforce the support that developed nations are expected to give developing countries.

The eight goals the UN - Millennium's Developmental Goals Summit 2010, member states are enthused to reach by 2015 are as follows:
Goal #1: To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal #2: To provide everyone with universal primary education
Goal #3: To promote gender equality
Goal #4: To reduce child and infant mortality
Goal #5: To improve maternal health
Goal #6: To combat HIV, malaria, and various diseases
Goal #7: To ensure environmental sustainability
Goal #8: To set up a global partnership for development

At the UN-MDGs Summit, top level member state representatives reported, pinpointed, and investigated the current status of each goal, and where it stands on the country base, and conditions – it was also an overview and overall evaluation of their progress during the first decade from 2000 to 2010.

Also, the 2010 Global Health Report was published in the framework of MDGs. The report heavily focused on treatment techniques, for world illness has reached grave measures. At the same time, the more urgent of the eight goals were discussed to make them more easily achievable over the course of the next five years.

In what nations and in what proportions are the goals most challenging to reach?

Each member state representative shared his or her own perspective on these questions, with regard to their own country region.

The summit was beneficial and successful due to the evaluating of the past ten years, identifying the points most critical in reaching the year 2015’s goals, channeling all resources and support into these efforts, and expediting the process and mechanisms necessary to generate change.


Before World War I, the Western World referred to the Ottoman Empire as “the Sick Man.”

Unfortunately, many internal and external measures had been enacted to transform the Empire into this “sick” being. It was so profoundly compromised that as a result, the last emperor surrendered to the will of the enemy by signing the “Sevre Treaty.”

What does the notion of the Ottoman Empire’s “Sick Man” have to do with the Millennium Development Goal’s Summit 2010?

The relation is as follows: When the top level member states representatives addressed and reflected on their reports to the member states at the UN General Assembly (more specifically those for Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East,) UN – UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, and the World Bank, at the UN – MDGs 2010 Summit, they fathomed that a significant portion of the global population is indisposed.


According to the UN – MDGs Summit 2010 and the General Assembly’s statistics, each day 1.4 billion people remain trapped in a life-struggle that has its roots in the lack and unbalanced distribution of food.

3 billion people lack the most basic forms of food, shelter, education, and health legislation.

65 million pregnant women die annually due to their inability to access proper health facilities and care.

Both International Organizational leaders and African Leaders declared that in the African continent, in the year 2008 alone, 9 million child mortalities under the age of 5 occurred; In 2009, it was reported that 5 million children before the age of 5 died in Africa due to hunger and epidemic diseases.

Small island-states are under immediate peril due to threats imposed by climate-change.

A cost of damages from starvation and epidemic (paralleling human demolition induced by floods and earthquakes) was formulated.

Some member states underlined the existence of human trafficking, child & female sex trades, and arms and drug trafficking in this discussion, highlighting how the $400 billion drug business acts as an obstacle in resolving problems pertaining to basic human rights.

A request to abolish nuclear-weapons was emphasized after stressing the threats nuclear armaments pose for humanity, should they end up as terrorist possessions.

If we consider the illicit conventional arms trade and “nuclear weapons” and how the race to weapon ownership has come to value billions of dollars, the horrifying truth we come to face is nothing short of a nightmare.

The President, Vice-President, high-level Foreign Affairs officials, and leaders of UN member states presented this data. Moreover, these presentations were once again directed towards the UN General Secretary, the President of the UN General Assembly, and all world leaders.

Today, when we consider the data provided above, regarding our planet’s current situation and each country’s general profile, don’t we see the existence of a very ill and infected humankind?

The goals to overcome the obstacles that impeded the MDGs from moving forward between the years 2000 – 2010 and to reach these goals by 2015 through developed and developing powers are as follows:

Goal #4: To reduce child and infant mortality
Goal #5: To improve maternal health
Goal #6: To combat HIV, malaria, and various diseases

On the subject of universal education (Goal #2: To provide everyone with universal primary education,) African countries – with Kenya as a key participator – presented their reports on the great improvements and change that has been brought about since the year 2000.

Unfortunately, however, it was revealed that we have not made significant progress on the issues of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and other diseases of such sorts, along with decreasing the number of deaths among pregnant women in the framework of the MDGs.

In addition, the developed nations’ leaders drew attention to the consequences of climate change and the devastating effects of the natural disasters that have taken place in Haiti and Pakistan.

Due to our vulnerability in the face of nature and lack of adequate assistance, the proposal to launch “UN Emergency Fund” to prevent similar disasters and aftermaths, especially in the least developing and developing countries, sparked a glimmer of hope.


At the summit, the UN’s leading role in the protection of fundamental rights and a provider of hope for the development of a promising future, was once more manifested.

Even more importantly, at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly, UN member nations’ leaders gave the UN the role of the “Global Governor” to solve the basic problems of humanity and to reach a new level of productiveness” in world affairs.

It is apparent in the framework of the MDGs, that it is the first time both developed and developing countries, and a combination of small and large countries, have reached a compromise under the UN in the name of humanity to solve basic problems and to reach the common goals set for 2015.

* * * * *

Since the signing of the 1920 Sevre Treaty as the marking point of the fading Ottoman Empire, the conditions of world health and humanity have become one thousand times worse. In this worldwide health report, we are not only faced with the “sick man” of Europe, but we also witness that humanity and the world, as a whole is ill.

Recognizing a disease, is of course of upmost importance and is the first step towards treatment; The pin-pointing and remedying of illnesses are rapidly improving. The idea that the answer lies within the problem leads us to the UN, which is growing and strengthening now more than ever.

There is no institution with power as great as the UN’s to bring about results to the 8 main goals formulated by the MDG, for the year 2015.

The UN is also the single largest most effective global enterprise with democratic visions that can support and monitor the progress of the nations, who signed both the “Universal Declaration of the Human Rights” and the “Millennium Development Goals”.

In short, the UN General Assembly, the MDG – 2015, the UN’s Global Governance to create a nuclear-free world, and curing the “ill and dying” mankind, are the only real hope mechanisms that can pull us towards a bright future.


The UN General Assembly, along with the UN Security Council, is the UN’s most powerful international unit. It is comprised of 192 member nations, and for the upcoming year, Palestine’s participation as the 193rd country has been proposed.

In reference to Palestine’s participation as the 193rd country to the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly gathering (in September 2011), even Simon Perez, the Israeli President, has expressed his approval on this matter to the General Assembly.

The UN Annual General Assembly meeting have an extraordinary and promising structure: regardless of a country’s territory, economy, military, technology, population, average income, education level, the value of natural resources, size, and capacity, each member nation of the General Assembly gets a single fixed-value vote.

For example, the United States, China, Iceland, India, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Turkey, etc., all have uniform voting rights regardless of their country’s size and population.

Within the organization of the General Assembly, the United States-Iran, Israel-Palestine, Azerbaijan-Turkey-Armenia, Russia, Congo, Bhutan, Bolivia, Nigeria, Canada, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, and other countries present reports to the General Assembly without interruption by any party; all nations confer under the same time limits, and each country has a right to object at the end of the session within previously defined duration.

A country’s size, whether or not is developed, or the amount of problems it is facing do not set a criteria or standard for the country in question.

It is because all countries are represented equally, granted identical amounts of time, and voting rights, that the UN General Assembly remains the world’s most democratic, powerful, and ideal organization.

Therefore, the UN remains a beacon of hope for 2015 – MDGs and the future.


However, we cannot say the same for the UN Security Council, which to this day remains the most powerful, effective, and influential institution within the UN. Therefore, we cannot regard the UN Security Council in such a way, either. On one hand the UN GA has the potential and reflects optimism to cure the persistent illness of the humanity and the world’s capital-military-and-force centered political structure; and on the other hand, UN SC still remains far from practicing the vision of the UN, contributing effectively to the MDGs, and promoting a more just form of “social protection floor to all.”

Most countries proposed that the UN’s Security Council must either reform or unify within the General Assembly. This has also been a major issue and concern for the rest of the member states other than the 5 permanent sits at the Security Council: the US, Russian Federation, China, France and United Kingdom. Since the inception of the UN in 1946, the Security Council holds the most power with veto rights on other countries, in the particular context of the “peace-war-security” decisions and “nuclear issues” in the world. Furthermore, the African continent has not been represented with a permanent sit at the Security Council, a role that was emphasized by almost every member state representative from Africa.

Also, the matter that the African continent – although it appears to be the future hope – is not represented in the Security Council, remains critical.

Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and other small developing nations argued that the Western world is violating their natural resources.

In particular, the importance and urgency of the Security Committee’s request, was enforced by the other countries, who hold “permanent representation rights.” Furthermore, it is underscored that the Security Council’s current structure has posed as an obstacle for achieving the MDGs by 2015 goals, raising concerns and demands among world leaders.

This is also due to the fact that only 5 permanent member states in the UN Security Council have the power to veto all decisions that has been considered a major obstacle to making progress towards to human rights, development and MDGs. For this very reason, the UN Security Council’ practices over the 65 years, has created a negative impact on the UN in the form of how the world community perceives the UN! Also, it has come much more clear than ever that the UN SC’s practices greatly slow-down not only the progress towards to the MDGs, but also implementing fully the “Declaration of Human Rights” world-wide effectively. In this contradictory dual picture, the UN General Assembly represents as the sole hope and solution to cure the illness of the humanity and world. But the 65 year old institutional structure of the UN Security Council (1946, formed right after WWII prior to the Cold War) MUST be REFORMED according to the pressing urgent needs of today’s world or must be MERGED with the General Assembly.


If the “powerful chorus of world leaders” are not heard this time, and no concrete efforts are made in reforming the Security Council, hopes at the UN General Assembly might soon fade.

And even worse, we would be accelerating our irreversible footsteps down the dark alley that would lead us farther away from our 2015 goals.

Now, we must clear the path that is obstructed, open it not just to reach 2015 goals but also for all of humanity, and ensure it remains unobstructed for eternity.

The sole unified power that can make this happen is the UN General Assembly, and I feel this intense feeling of hope and joy grow within me…now, more than ever.

- . -

The original of the above essay was published in English on Isikbinyili.Org on September 27, 2010: YERYÜZÜ ÇOK HASTA: ÜMİT BİRLEŞMİŞ MİLLETLER’DE..

The English version from Turkish translated by Idil Baysal, reviewed and made some changes by the author. Therefore, it is not an exact translation. May-June, 2011

THE UNITED NATIONS: The Light Millennium has been associated with the Department of Public Information of the United Nations since December 2005, and a member of the Non-Profit Coordination Committee of New York since February 2008. It participated in the 58th-60th United Nations Annual DPI/NGO (Department of Public Information of the United Nations) Conferences. On behalf of the organization, Bircan was a member of the 59th-61st Planning Committees of the UN/DPI-NGO Conferences, as well as its related subcommittees. During the 2006 and 2007 UNNGO Conferences, the LM sponsored “The UN Vision and Millennium Developments Goals Through the Arts,” in 2006, “Climate Change: How It Impacts Us All” and in 2007, “The Wild Cards in Climate Change: Weather Warfare, Geo-engineering and ENMOD” at the UN-HQ.

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