Monthly Archives: November 2015

Google Cardboard Distributed to General Assembly during Refugee Meeting

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On Thursday November 19th, the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) partnered with the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly to make Virtual Reality available to the entire General Assembly via google cardboard. This effort brought the voice of a Syrian refugee straight to decision makers and marks the first time the UN has been able to distribute its films in a way to directly advance the UN’s advocacy efforts on a larger scale in a more sustainable way.

IMG_8373During the meeting, UNMC placed Google Cardboard viewers and information sheets for delegates and observers alike to gain a better understand of the human side to the Syrian refugee crisis through Clouds Over Sidra. H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the General Assembly invited delegates to use the cardboard to understand the reality of refugees in his opening statement

On your desks, you will see a small box through which you can watch a short film about one of these people: Sidra, a twelve year old girl who has fled her home in Syria due to the ongoing crisis. Having watched this video myself, I recommend it highly as it really brings home just how difficult life can be for a refugee in our world today.

Our meeting, however, is an opportunity to help refugees like Sidra, an opportunity to identify key actions to advance a more comprehensive and proportionate response to the overall global humanitarian and refugee crisis.

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The President of the UN General Assembly called this informal meeting of the General Assembly three weeks prior due to the growing crisis in Europe.  The meeting, entitled “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers” included H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly; H.E. Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Mr. David Miliband, President and CEO of International Rescue Committee; Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; H.E. Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Co-Chair of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing; Mr Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; and Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Corporate Secretary and Special Envoy of the President of the World Bank Group.

The meeting was separated into three panels, which addressed protection and legal asylum measures, ensuring adequate financing, and resilience efforts to advance support for countries dealing with the largest burdens as well as the connection between humanitarian and development efforts. Each was permeated with discussion moments from member states.

Coordinated by the UNMC for the past year, the United Nations Virtual Reality (UNVR) series has attempted to use Virtual Reality as a way to advance empathy and understanding for people living through some of the world’s greatest challenges. As the UNMC works towards advocating for marginalized communities and other critical development issues, new mediums of communication have shed light on critical issues in new, imaginative ways.

To coincide with the event, UNVR.org, was launched to organize information on the series into one location. The website highlights the importance of using UNVR for advocating for bold action towards critical issues presents in the Sustainable Development Agenda and especially for focusing on the most vulnerable.

For more information, please visit UNVR.org

Celebrating 1.6 Million MY World Votes from Mexico City

By Di Cao – Global Youth Advocate at the UN Millennium Campaign

Answering the United Nations Secretary-General’s call, MY World was developed with one clear goal in mind —to reach out to people all over the world— and ask them: “What would make your life better?” As an integral part of the UN’s “global conversation” initiative, MY World gave people across the world a platform and the tools to raise their voices and tell the United Nations what is important to them. By engaging 8.5 million people in the global survey, MY World has proven that people want to be involved in defining their government’s priorities, and they are already actively working to make change in their communities. It has also proven that governments are interested in what their people prioritize and are willing to integrate their opinions into their public planning.

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(MY World Youth Ambassadors in Mexico City)

Mexico was responsible for 23% of the 8.5 million votes collected globally. The great success came from the massive mobilization of youth across the country, and in Mexico City in particular with the Mexico City Youth Institute. Mexico City had the highest number of people participate out of any city with 1.6 million votes. The city-wide initiative not only helped the government see priorities at the local government, setting the stage for the implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but it also had a positive impact on the local policy making and funding decisions made by the Mexico City government.

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(Mayor of Mexico City Dr. Miguel Ángel Mancera at the launch event of MY World Survey)

“The MY World survey recovers that democratic spirit of listening and taking into account the perspectives of young people who with their perseverance, talent and creativity have contributed to make of our city. The survey results allowed us to approach the priorities of 1.6 million people, it represents the most important youth public opinion consultation that has been realized in the country.”

——Miguel Ángel, Mayor of Mexico City
“MY World Mexico City Executive Report”

Recognizing this significant achievement, the UN Millennium Campaign and INJUVE DF launched the “MY World Mexico City Executive Report” on November 9th, 2015 at the UN Headquarters. INJUVE DF presented the report to the UN as well as the general public through live streaming. Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Director of INJUVE DF, shared the agency’s experiences in inspiring 3,000 youth ambassadors to collect millions of votes:

“Local, common people are receiving services from the government, therefore the government needs to know people’s priorities,” she said. “We inspired 3,000 youth ambassadors and created an educational program to teach them how to collect the votes; furthermore, we provided young ambassadors with small scholarships, which supported them to be completely devoted to the MY World survey for 3 months.”

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(Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Mexico City Executive Report in UN Headquarters)

1.6 million voices had a great impact on the local policymaking. Although Mexico City offers universal healthcare, the result of MY World survey highlighted the need for greater mental health services for young people, causing INJUVE to investigate with a more robust survey, focusing on emotions. In response, the government now offers free services for emotional health care and risk reduction for young people. “It is a long lasting experience and inspiration of empowering youth for the future,” said Mitchell Toomey, the Director of the UNMC.

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(Youth Ambassadors were collecting votes in Mexico City)

H.E. Mr. Zinsou, the Ambassador of Benin to the United Nations, joined the Executive report to celebrate 1.6 million Mexican voices. Ravi Karkara, the World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair, praised the survey of Mexico City as “an great example of how to ensure inclusiveness for people-centered policy”.

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(L-R: Director of INJUVE DF Maria Fernanda Olvera Cabrera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations H.E.Mr. Jean-Francis R. Zinsou,  Director of the UNMC Mitchell Toomey,World We Want Policy Strategy Group Co-chair Ravi Karkara)

Phasing in the new SDGs, the upcoming MY World 2030 survey will move forward to a more customized and localized platform with continued monitoring of SDG progress. INJUVE DF proposed a specific survey for young people to provide empirical evidence to inform youth-related policies in capital cities across the world.

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