THE OTHER SIDE

Padmini Rao, reporter for the United Nations General Assembly- Disarmament and International Security (hereinafter UNGA-DISEC), engages the delegates of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba in a short interview.
International Press (IP) : “Considering that both of you are experienced delegates, what do you think is the difference between UNGA-DISEC and the other committees that you’ve been part of?”

Delegate of Cuba: “I think the number of first timers is high compared to other councils, such as SPECPOL, and I think usually the General Assembly has a lot of first timers so maybe it has to be like this.”
Delegate of the Russian Federation: “This committee is the first out of the six committees of the General Assembly, and I think it is the largest committee that I have been to as a delegate.”

IP: “How is delegating in DISEC different from delegating in ECOSOC or SPECPOL, when it comes to the agenda and the flow of debate?”
Delegate of the Russian Federation: “The agendas are very different because DISEC generally deals with international peace and security, whereas ECOSOC is has a finance-related approach.”
Delegate of Cuba: “The agendas of DISEC are usually really widespread, and a lot of factors come into picture, where as in other councils, the agendas generally revolve around a specific issue, and that is how it should be. As the number of delegates is higher, there are more issues and many delegates can pitch in many points that would help the committee”

IP: “Let’s talk about the problems that the UNPKO faces. Do you think the member nations should contribute more to the UNPKO budget?”
Delegate of the Russian Federation: “The problem is that we only talk about members contributing more in terms of finance, or troops or supplies but there are various organisations in the world, SPECPOL for instance, where there are only a few members, but they’re organised very efficiently and therefore, work better. Because of the widespread nature of the UNPKO, there are a lot of discrepancies and instances of corruption as well. Instead of asking for more funds, we have got to utilise whatever we have got.”
Delegate of Cuba: “The most distorted fact is that the budget is accepted by the member states in the general assembly, but the budget is only a fraction of their economic wealth which makes it easier for them to donate more but they don’t.”

IP: “What do you think about the mismanagement of resources that occurs during peacekeeping?”
Delegate of Cuba: “When it comes to peacekeeping operations, the decision comes directly from the Secretary General and it needs to be followed in the region where the conflict is, but it gets distorted in the process and that is what we’re trying to control. The distortions need to be as few as possible so that peace is restored as soon as possible.”
IP: “What are the solutions that the committee has come up with about the accountability of peacekeepers?”
Delegate of Cuba: “As of now, the immunity that peacekeepers have can only be waived by the Secretary General and that is a tedious process. We have, in our resolution, proposed that a general body be created to investigate the accusations against peacekeepers, so that justice is served to the victims without delay.”

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