LAU students stand up for Millennium Development Goals in Lebanon
LAU Model UN students’ recommendations aim to galvanize Lebanese youth and civil society into action to meet the 2015 deadline for the MDGs.
Elie Samia, director of the Guidance Office at LAU Byblos and LAU MUN program director, explained the importance of partnership among representatives of the civil society and the public sector to create a consensus around the MDGs.
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With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals swiftly approaching, LAU Model United Nations program students put forward a set of recommendations for the implementation of the eight goals in Lebanon, during an event held at the UN House in Beirut on September 17.
Organized by LAU and the United Nations Information Center in Beirut, the event reaffirmed the commitment of Lebanese youth to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and creating a global partnership for development.
The event was held in support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s calls for renewed action and commitment by the international community to achieve the MDGs, through a UN Summit in New York from September 20-22.
Under the motto “Stand Up, Take Action and Make Noise for the MDGs,” the LAU students emphasized that while some progress is evident, the goals cannot be achieved without the full cooperation and coordination among different public and private actors.
As one student put it, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
In his opening remarks, Elie Samia, director of the Guidance Office at LAU Byblos and LAU MUN program director, commended “the power, creativity and dynamism of the Lebanese civil society” that in collaboration with the different segments of the public sector will be able “to create a legislative and governmental consensus around the Millennium Development Goals.”
Bahaa El Koussy, UNIC director in Beirut, underlined the essential role of youth as a “fundamental factor in the advancement of societies, a principal force for change and progress and a key, active partner in sustainable development.”
In a presentation titled “The Millennium Development Goals in Lebanon: A Process and a Commitment,” eight LAU MUN students presented the MDGs, highlighting the current situation in Lebanon, the challenges faced, the strengths involved, and the recommendations that can ensure the successful implementation of the MDGs in Lebanon by 2015.
The students’ recommendations regarding fighting extreme poverty and hunger included the implementation of an integrated and comprehensive social development strategy, as well as the adoption of social safety net systems, pro-poor economic policies, and efficient mechanisms to measure poverty.
To ensure that by 2015 children of both genders everywhere will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling, the students called for “offering children a friendly and accepting environment,” “creating a link between formal and non-formal education,” “developing a culture of quality among all those involved in education ensuring relevance of schooling,” “restructuring educational programs in a way that suits all social groups,” and promoting “the exchange of experience and knowledge between Arab countries.”
After the presentation of all the recommendations (PDF, 187 KB), LAU and Lebanese high school students participating in the LAU MUN program, together with representatives of NGOs, took an oath, pledging to “deploy all possible efforts to raise the level of awareness” toward implementing the goals in Lebanon.
A proclamation containing the recommendations on the implementation of the MDGs in Lebanon was handed over by students to the representatives of the Lebanese executive and legislative authorities and to El Koussy, who delivered a copy to Ban Ki-moon.
The event was attended by around 150 students, university officers, UN staff, government officials and civil society members, including representatives of the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament, ministers, MPs, ambassadors, representatives of non-governmental organizations, heads of UN agencies, members of the LAU MUN Secretariat, and representatives of various schools in Lebanon.