The Philippines* Student Delegate to the UNSLCD achieved success

The Philippines Student Delegates

The Philippines* student delegate to the United Nations Student Leadership Conference on Development (UNSLCD) has successfully delivered and presented its provision proposals to the five sub-themes of the conference.

The student delegates, majority of whom were high school students from Makati City, objected and suggested provisions that must be included in the General Plan of Action (GPOA) of the UN Conference on Development. These were presented before the delegates of the participating countries including the United States of America, Canada, India and Mexico.

Though there occurred a technical problem that lead for the Philippines* student delegate to be not seen on the screen, this did not hinder the students from pushing their ideas according to the sub-themes they were interested into and knowledge they have on the certain sub-themes.

The five sub-themes of the conference on development include (click to see the copy of the draft plan of action of the Philippines):

1. Being a Global Citizen in a Multi-Cultural World

2. Sustaining the Development through Environmental Responsibility

3. Education for All

4. Attainable Food Security

5. Human Rights and Sustainable Development

The Philippines* student delegates had submitted its draft plan of action to the United Nations last February 24 but unfortunately, a number of concepts posited had been removed. This lead the student delegates to brainstorm on what should be included in the GPOA and tried to convince the resolution makers in New York to include some provisions.

Brainstorming towards success

Student delegates from Adamson University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Makati Science High School and Pitogo High School (the lone delegate from UP Diliman never had a time to speak) pitched in their ideas on each of the sub themes. They were presented to them the draft plan of action that the resolution makers from UN had made. Because of too many lapses and lacking ideas, student delegates did their job and purpose.

Some of the things that student delegates noticed were:

1. There were overlapping concepts in the plan of action wherein one idea must be included and integrated into a more specific idea.

2. Technicalities on the sentence structures were also addressed such as the wrong use of verb tenses and subject-verb agreement.

3. Going deep in to the plan of action, some of the provisions in the draft were India-centric or Canada-centric supported from the statements that name India or Canada alone were put. The fallacy of composition was committed.

4. The student delegates recommended actions instead of following the existing actions in the draft plan of action such as the strengthening of the Earth Hour and so on.

5. As for the Education for All sub-theme, Mexico and the Philippines had a contradicting ideas and approach towards the disabled people or persons with disabilities. The Mexico student delegates were saying that there should have no special treatment on PWDs because it creates discrimination. They were also saying that PWDs or those persons that are deaf or mute should adapt to the existing curriculum of a regular school. On the other hand, the student delegates from the Philippines went against the statements of the Mexico and insisted that PWDs should have a special attention because they have different and special needs and so on.

The Philippines* student delegates were commended because of their comments and suggestions. A roar of clap was heard in the conference in the Division of City Schools in Makati.

I am SAM Foundation’s BIG role

The I am SAM Foundation was the one which brought the UNSLCD in the Philippines. It is one of the two sponsored programs of the foundation mandated by the United Nations itself. The other one is the United Nations Teacher’s Conference on Teaching Human Rights which are being participated by teachers in Makati and Muntilupa City.

Teacher Rayla Melchor Santos, who is Sam to those who knew her, was the main convenor of the conference. Her mother, who is the eldest daughter of Alejandro Melchor, a well-known engineer who served the University of the Philippines and the country, started the I am SAM foundation.

Teacher Sam said that her mother was inspired by the former UN Secretary General, Koffi Annan, in advocating for the rights of women. She continued the legacy and now, Teacher Sam’s concern are the children.

“You know, 4 out of 10 students in elementary and 7 out of 10 in high school suffered different kinds of violence. This number is so drastically high,” said Teacher Sam.

When she was asked about why majority of the delegates in the UNSLCD are high school students, she said that the I am SAM had a memorandum of agreement with Makati and Muntilupa City. This is why high school students from the former school were the delegates.

(To know more about the I AM SAM FOUNDATION, visit their site here and like their Facebook page. You can also help them by volunteering and they will ensure that your time is worth spending with them.)

Until dawn

The Philippines* student delegates were strong and patient enough to have their voices be heard. Since New York, India, Canada and Mexico have different timezones, the Philippines have to adapt to the time. The conference was started at 9 pm and ends at 4 am the next day.

The time that students spent in the conference had worth because of the good comments from the UN headquarters and of course, the experience.

The student delegates learned a lot and something new that 100 percent sure they won’t forget. There is no best feeling in the world other than the best thing called, freedom. Student delegates shown that they have the freedom to speak and the right to be heard.

The conference really showed to the youth how important they are and we are in making a change for the world. The conference also helped students in bringing up their knowledge, realizing their potentials as a student leader and thinking outside the box and beyond the four walls of the classroom.

 

*Though Filipinos are used to say “Philippine Delegates, Philippine Flag or any other words with Philippines plus a noun”, I believe that this should not be the case. This may create confusion to some on whether the name of our country is Philippines or Philippine.

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