The last two weeks of my internship I covered the UN Summit for the Adoption of the post-2015 Development Agenda: Intergovernmental Negotiations on the post-2015 Development Agenda. This particular meeting was a continuation of negotiations from the same meeting I covered my third week. Only this time the Zero Draft had been updated according to all the civil society, Member States, and the private sector inputs. Throughout these meetings, you could sense the tension and urgency to finish the final outcome document before the beginning of August. There were meetings that were cancelled, rescheduled, and some time starting from 6:00 P.M. and not ending till almost 10:00 P.M. The Co-Facilitators and Member States were determined to stay up late at night working in order to accomplish an agreed language for the outcome of these negotiations. It felt amazing being able to be a witness of the historic United Nations moment.
I also found the Intergovernmental Negotiations entertaining because I was able to pick up on the controversies of the various drafts presented to the delegates.One of the main controversies with finalizing the post-15 agenda document was the title itself. Some countries wanted to add a reference to sustainable developments, others wanted a title that was more catchy while others were satisfied with the existing title. Other Member States expressed concern with whether or not the Preamble was even needed in the outcome document while other thought it was crucial to leave it as is. Other debates included the references to the Addis Ababa Agenda from the Financing for Development Conference in Ethiopia earlier in July in conjunction to financial and non- financial resources as well roles of culture identity and families as a part of sustainable development. Last but not least, most Member States tried to push for as much streamlining as possible for the outcome document that way it would not be redundant and too long that readers would lose interest. I dont think I have ever seen so much nitpicking over the simplest sentences. This made me realize that in order to produce a document with “agreed language”, there needs to be this much meticulous criticism and overview.
In these last weeks, I continued working on the data collection projects assigned by the UNWTO supervisors. I am grateful for these projects because it is giving more insight to the whole United Nations systems and how they conduct their own arrangements and policies.For example, I have been reading different agreements between UNDP and UNWTO as well as UNESCO agreements between both UNDP, UNEP, and UNWTO. I am hoping that once I have the necessary background information and general understanding of the legal language, together with the other UNWTO intern, Yumna, we will begin drafting a whole new agreement for UNDP and UNWTO in the near future. The other benefits of these assigned projects is that it will keep me busy throughout the fall semester and help me maintain the work relationships I have made over the summer.
While my time in New York City has finally come to an end, I have a lot more clarity in where I want to take my career and personal life. I am strong believer that everything happens for a reason, while I initially planned my internship for the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, I think New York City was a blessing in disguise. I feel more passionate about my capabilities and my choice of studies after working in the United Nations for two months. I plan to return to New York City every month to maintain work relationships, network, and conduct interviews so that I can solidify a job for myself in the winter. While I am saying goodbye to New York City for now to finish my internship research project and one more class to get the second concentration of Renewable Energy, I know that I will return with even more determination to achieve my goals. I am more ambitious than ever due to my experiences at the United Nations.