Position Paper for the Economic and Social Council
The Issues before the Economic and Social Council 2011 are: Enhancing women's control over economic
resources and access to financial resources, Promoting sustainable peace and development in Yemen, Achieving
the three targets of MDG1, “To reduce poverty by 2015” (Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of
people whose income is less than $1 a day; Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all,
including women and young people; Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from
hunger), The problem of an aging world population, and Measures to speed up global economic recovery and
ensure that there is no 'double dip' recession. Canada will do everything in their power to find constructive
solutions for these topics.
I. Enhancing women’s control over economic resources and access to financial resources
Canada is deeply disturbed by the fact that women are still discriminated against in our world, especially in the
sector of finance. It is very hard for them, in many countries of the world, but especially in African and Asian
countries to get good access to financial resources. Most of the times they are seen as people who are supposed
to be at home – cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. A lot of countries haven’t realized or don’t
want to realize, for example due to religious reasons, that today’s woman is different from the woman people
were used to in the past.
The worst situation women face in Africa, where they have huge barriers in the finance sector, which often
originate from religious reasons or rather historical reasons, because a lot of parts of Africa are strictly Islamic
and Islamic people often hold on to their religion very tightly. The result of this is that women own less that 1%
of the African continent’s landmass or the fact that female farmers receive only 1% of total credit to agriculture,
and have fewer economic rights and lower access to economic opportunities, including land and credit facilities.
This is also a result of the fact that women often barely have any rights at all in those countries.
Access to economic resources for women isn’t just a problem in Africa or Asia but also in Europe, Northern
America or Oceania. Most of the countries belonging to these continents have good laws, which should prevent
women from being discriminated against, but those laws are often not enforced well. Some countries, especially
Scandinavian countries, accomplish there goal to enforce their laws better than other countries.
Canada is proud to say that they are one of the leading countries in the field of closing the gender gap and
enforcing their laws against the discrimination of women. According to an essay published by the Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia, Canada is ranked 7 th in a list of countries, which accomplish best in
narrowing down and closing the gender gap. Our beloved country has the highest levels of participation of
women in the workforce than any other developed country and we also have – by now – many men staying at
home and doing what women are supposed to do in the eyes of some nations – cook, clean, and take care of the
So far the United Nations has tried quiet some things in order to close the gender gap. For example are they
planning on establishing an agency which will only deal with the rights of women. Moreover is the United
Nations supporting the agency WomenWatch, which fights for the rights of women.
In order to resolve this problem there still has to be a lot of work done. One solution could be an “International
Equal Pay Day” which will raise awareness of the gender gap and it might start a movement which will then
narrow done the gender gap. Another possible solution could be microcredit, which has to be granted to women
more often than it is now. These microcredits might help people to start their own business and make money on
II. Promoting sustainable peace and development in Yemen
Canada is deeply concerned about the development in Yemen since 2004. In 2004 the so called Sa’dah
Insurgency started. The Sa’dah Insurgency, which was initiated by the Shiite-Zaidiyyah tribe, is a dangerous
conflict, especially for a country like Yemen. The Shiite-Zaidaiyyah stated that the Yemeni government
discriminated them and therefore they launched an attack. In return the Yemeni government said that the Shiite-
Zaidaiyyah tried to overthrow the government and therefore they had to fight them.
But the fights between the Yemeni government and the Shiite-Zaidiyyah tribe aren’t the only fights going on in
Yemen. There are also conflicts between the Shiite-Zaidiyyah tribe, which originate in the north of Yemen, and
the Sunni-tribe, which comes from the south of Yemen. Both tribes are Islamic but have a different way of
interpreting the religion. They both see their way of interpretation as the right one and therefore have conflicts
with the other tribe since they were founded. These conflicts didn’t get better and are at a very dangerous level
by now. In order to make Yemen a safer place and a more developed country, these conflicts have to be resolved.
These conflicts aren’t the only once which have to be solved, though. Yemen also has a very weak infrastructure.
It needs a lot of new roads in order to build up new trade routes and therefore needs support from other nations
by accomplishing that. These new trade routes would be essential to the Yemeni economy, which is not the
strongest right now. Moreover Yemen doesn’t have a lot of clean water. This is another issue which has to be
faced and tackled so the Yemeni people have a better living standard in their country.
The last issue which should be addressed is the authoritarianism leading of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah
Salih. He has been President of Yemen since the union of Northern and Southern Yemen and has been re-elected
five times. A lot of Yemeni people are frustrated about the authoritarianism in their country and this could lead
to another big conflict in this, already badly hit – country.
The United Nations is working hard in order to solve the conflicts in Yemen. They mandated the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) to work in Yemen. Through well-coordinated partnerships the UNDP Yemen
delivered $14,728,000 to Yemen, which could be used for development. Moreover the UN ratified various
Resolutions on the topic such as the Security Council Resolution 931 (1994).
Also Yemen itself started doing something by passing a ten-point agenda, which shall help to ensure peace and
development in Yemen. This plan was published in November 2008 and contains points such as, developing the
port of Aden or addressing Yemen’s water problems. Canada beliefs that it is very important to support Yemen
in accomplishing that plan since they know best what is the best thing for their country to do and what is not.
Canada’s support for Yemen is represented through the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). Canada also
supports Yemen through contributing to humanitarian assistance from organizations such as the World Food
Program. Canada is deeply concerned about our friend Yemen, especially because a lot of Canadian companies
have invested into the Yemeni oil sector.
We believe that the conflicts in Yemen should be approached by peaceful means and we also belief that it would
be best to support the Yemeni government by accomplishing their ten-point agenda through money or personnel
which can help building roads and similar things in order to improve Yemen’s infrastructure.
III. Achieving the three targets of MDG1, “To reduce poverty by 2015”
The United Nations Millennium Developed Goals were a huge success. In 2000 189 member states of the United
Nations met in New York in order to adapt the Millennium Declaration. MDG 1 faces two big challenges:
extreme poverty and hunger. MDG has to be accomplished by 2015, which means that there are only five years
left to accomplish a major step towards a more developed world.
The first target of MDG 1 is to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less
than $1 a day”. According to the World Bank 200 million people lived in extreme poverty in 1981 in the sub-
Saharan region, which was 53% of the whole population in that area. In 2005 – once again according to the
World Bank – there were 400 million people living in extreme poverty in that area. This might look like a huge
growth but in fact the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in the sub-Saharan went down to 51% since
there was a rapid growth of population in general. It is a known fact that about 75% of the world’s poor people
depend on agriculture, which is a very hard business since it is almost impossible to know how the weather is
going to be. Those people often spend most of their money for seeds so they can grow new plants and sell them
with some profit. Now imagine that the weather is bad – for example there is no rain – and therefore your crops
don’t grow and you lost a lot of money which you won’t get back. We need to help the people to get out of that
Another fact that could endanger the accomplishment of target 1a of MDG 1 is the economic crisis which hit the
world in 2008. The World Bank predicts that there will be 53 million more people living in poverty because of
this crisis than there would have been without it.
The second target of MDG 1 is to “achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including
women and young people”. This is a very important issue, since employment is essential for money and money
is essential for target 1a and target 1c of MDG 1. Without employment people won’t get money and that would
endanger the accomplishment of the whole MDG 1. There are a lot of countries which have to work very hard in
order to accomplish this target, for example Zimbabwe with an unemployment rate of 95%, Mozambique with
an unemployment rate of 60% or Liberia with an unemployment rate of 80% and an unemployment rate among
young Liberians of 88%. It is probably necessary that other nations help these nations in order to accomplish the
whole target 1b.The third and last target of MDG 1 is to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of
people who suffer from hunger”. Hunger is a big problem in the world. Every 5 seconds a child dies directly or
indirectly from hunger, which makes around 16,000 children a day. Hunger is often a problem in
underdeveloped countries where the people don’t have money to buy all the food they need. There have been
some remarkable success stories. Ghana has reduced hunger by three quarters, from 34% in 1991 to 8% in 2005,
and in Ethiopia the percentage of the population that was undernourished fell from 71% in 1991 to 46% in 2005.
In stark contrast is the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the percentage of the population going
hungry increased from 29% to 75% over the same time period. All in all chronic hunger has increased around the
world. Despite years of progress against hunger, in 2010, it is estimated that 925 million people suffer from
hunger. This is due to a sudden spike in global food prices and the onset of a world-wide economic crisis.
In order to solve these problems and accomplish these three targets and thereby accomplish MDG 1 the UN has
done quiet some things so far. They asked the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to check on the
accomplishment of the Millennium Goals in general and also asked the UNDP to write reports about the
accomplishment. Moreover have they mandated the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as the responsible
UN body for the accomplishment of the Millennium Goals. They have also passed a couple of important
Resolution concerning the issues, such as Resolution 47/2 (2009) and ECOSOC Resolution 2008/18 (2008),
which both deal with full employment and decent work. Another important Resolution for this topic is
Resolution 50/109 (1995), which deals with the World Food Summit, which was adapted by the General
Assembly in December 1995.
Canada supports the accomplishment of MDG 1 through various ways. The Canadian International Development
Agency (CIDA) is building economic foundations, growing businesses, and is investing into our people. But we
aren’t just focusing on ourselves. We also support other nations and their people by opening up 100% of our
food aid budget to international procurement. CIDA has also supported five very successful textile manufactures
in the Ukraine. A result of this support is that over 12,000 jobs were created. Another thing CIDA did was to
support 89 microcredit initiatives in 26 countries. Last Canada contributes to the World Food Program.
In our opinion there a multiple ways to approach the targets set out in MDG 1. One of them could be fair trade.
This would give farmers in Less Developed Countries (LDCs) the chance to make greater profit out of their
crops and therefore have more money to buy food and support their families. Another solution could be a bad
harvest rebound system. This system could help farmers to recover from bad harvests due to – for example –
weather reasons. A third option could be microcredit. Microcredit could give the opportunity to people to start
their own little business and get more money to buy food through that. These are just three opinions and we are
sure that there are multiple different ones.
IV. The problem of an aging world population
The world’s population is aging – that is a well known fact. The overall median age in 1950 was 39.9 years; in
2000 it was 26.8 and it is suggested that it will be at 37.8 years in 2050. Canada is deeply concerned about this
There are two factors, which influence the aging of the world’s population more than any other: first the
improvement of medicine. Over the last decades there was a lot of scientific research and by now almost every
disease can be cured. That leads to the longer life of people, because they don’t die from certain diseases
anymore but survive them and get older and older. The second reason is the declining of birth rates in many
countries – especially in More Developed Countries (MDCs). One of the reasons for that is the emancipation of
women in those countries. Women have better jobs and often decide in favor of their career and against children.
Moreover women get married later - if they do at all – then before, which leave less time to have a child.
Another reason is the raised awareness of economic choices. This makes people think more and more about the
costs they have if they have a child and they often decide against the baby then. The major problem with an
aging world population is that the society – as we know it today or rather knew it a couple of decades ago, since
the process has already started – shifts. Due to the amount of people being older of an age of 60 or older, there is
a higher demand for health care. Governments take this money from their educational fund, because there are
less young people than before, which leads to the fact that less students attend school. This leads to a population
which is not as educated as they used to be, which leads to a higher demand for qualified personnel or rather to a
higher rate of unemployment. It is expected that in 2050 there will be – for the first time in history – more people
of the age of 60 or more than of the age of 15 or less. It is very likely that the aging speed is going to increase in
the next three decades.
The UN is very active on this issue. They had various conferences on the issues such as the International
Conference on Population and Development in 1994 or the World Assemblies on Aging. These conferences had
various outcomes such as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and
Development, which was adapted by the General Assembly on 2 nd July 1999. Moreover is the World Health
Organization (WHO) actively dealing with this topic through multiple ways such as raising awareness of the
Canada is a country with one of the lowest birth rates in the world. According to a ranking of the United Nations,
which was published in 2006, Canada is ranked 160 th with 1.53 children per woman. We realize that that is a
very small number and that something needs to be done. In 2009 a report on the issue was giving to the Canadian
Senate with recommendations on how to tackle the issue. We have assigned Health Canada to control the issue
and write reports on it to the government. One of them was published in 2002 with detailed information on the
aging of the Canadian population.
In order to resolve this issue, which is very hard to solve, there needs to be done a lot. One option could be to
support young mothers with money so women decide more often to have a baby and not just focus on their
career. Another good way would be to implement the “having a baby” part into work by opening kindergartens
in or very close to companies so parents still have the change to look after their kids while at work. These steps
will only a little bit though, since it is very, very complicated to stop the aging of the world’s population.
V. Measures to speed up global economic recovery and ensure that there is no ‘double dip’ recession
In the middle of 2008 the world was hit by a big recession, which affected almost every country in this world.
Caused was this recession by the crash the US house market had which lead to the bankruptcy of multiple banks
such as Lehmann Brothers, which had been investing into the house market. The banks offered credits to almost
every person and thereby forgot to check the credibility of the person they loaned the money to. This was an
effect of the soaring house prices, which had been going up for quiet a while, because more and more people
loaned money to buy a house which led to a higher demand for houses. Eventually there was a surplus of houses
which then caused the house prices to decrease. This caused the banks to raise interest loans and also to stop refinancing
people. Those people weren’t depended on the re-financing though and they therefore couldn’t afford
to pay back their loans anymore. This especially affected the group of people, who shouldn’t have gotten a credit
in first place because their credibility wasn’t good enough. Since the banks now were missing a lot of money,
they eventually went bankrupt, to say it with easy words. The first Bank, which declared their bankruptcy, was
Lehmann Brothers. Since Lehmann Brothers had been loaning money themselves from other banks and those
other banks now missed out on a lot of money too, because Lehmann wouldn’t repay their debts. Moreover there
were a lot of private people, who had been investing into Lehmann Brothers, who now were bankrupt too or
rather lost a lot of money. Due to the bankruptcy of Lehmann Brothers and the fact that they wouldn’t repay their
debts to other banks, the other banks went bankrupt too or decided not to give out anymore loans. These loans
were needed for other business though, for example the car industry, which had to buy new machines, which are
expensive, and couldn’t do this anymore. This meant that they couldn’t produce as many products anymore and
therefore couldn’t sell as many products as before. This triggered that they could pay all the salaries and
therefore had to fire their workers or pay them less. Through this the recession, which started in the housing
sector in the US, became a global problem. Even though the economy has recovered a bit since 2008 the change
of a second recession is there. Since there are still a lot of people, who don’t have a job and businesses still don’t
hire a lot of people, many people aren’t able to spend as much money as before, which could lead to another
economic crisis, because businesses still don’t need the amount of money they received before. Moreover could
it be that businesses have to fire workers again they just hired, because they could only hire them because of
money they received from the government.
Unfortunately the UN hasn’t really done something in order to prevent a ‘double dip’ recession. They had
warned that there would be a recession in 2008 they published a report called World Economic Situation and
Prospects (2009) and they passed a Resolution that stated that the economic crisis is over in 2009. Moreover the
UN established the Interactive Panel of the United Nations General Assembly on the Global Financial Crisis in
Canada was affected by the 2008 recession in 2008 and 2009, which was a rather mild one though. Canada’s
economy is – compared to European economies or the economy of the US – rather small and therefore wasn’t hit
all that bad by the crisis. In Canada the recovery phase is over and the expansion phase begins. This indicates
very well that the recession is over.
But not every country got over the recession yet and therefore we still need to speed up economic growth. This
could be achieved through the investment of government money into businesses. This would lead to the hiring of
new personnel which would provide the people with more money. This would raise the Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) of a country and the government would get more money again since the people have to pay higher taxes.
Through this way the government gets its money back, the economy speeds up and the unemployment rate goes
down. Some countries have already done this and it worked very well and they got over the financial crisis of
2008. If other countries, which haven’t had the change to get over the financial crisis yet, do this too it is
possible for them to return to the expansion phase of the economic circle.