Dispatch from London and Team USA 2013
Committees began to finalize their written communiqués Thursday morning, the final day of negotiations, following a day of informal deliberations and sightseeing across London.
In the International Development committee, USAID Administrator Jordan Sanderson promoted the use of mobile apps to supply and track monetary and material aid and aid delivery in using technology to encourage participatory governance and open data flow. This could be accomplished, he said, through disbursements directly to mobile bank accounts and accompany surveys to improve transactions and user experience.
“As a broad term, this strategy needs to be open-sourced; it can’t just be governments sharing this information. It needs to come from the ground up,” Sanderson said of the information-sharing capabilities of the applications.
The development committee as a whole had little disagreement over the recommendations, with the European Union and Mexico especially promoting the increased use of technology to assess aid effectiveness.
“We should take a multinational approach to alleviating poverty with specific solutions,” said the Mexican delegate, Carlos Molina, referring to the use of mobile apps and cross-country microfinancing to support initiatives like increased access to education and eradicating famine.
Discussing carbon dioxide emission reduction, the Energy & Climate Change committee dealt with current carbon dioxide reduction regulations, the possibility of a regional cap-and-trade system, and increased transparency in national emission reporting. There was also broad support to limit global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius.
Drew Holden, the U.S. EPA Administrator, agreed with the Europen Union and Indonesia in regards to revising the UN-backed Kyoto Protocol of 1997.
“In addition to updating the Kyoto Protocol, we need to make other substantive changes. We cannot wait until 2020 to put new groundwork in place,” said Holden. He supported setting universal carbon emission standards across the board, ensuring that each state’s individual regulations “have scientific support, international support.”
The matter of prisoner’s rights became a very contentious issue in the Justice committee, with the United States, Germany, South Africa, Canada, Russia and France differing greatly on the prospect of prisoner voting rights, among other things.
“Most people are not in prison for political beliefs, they’re in prison for committing violent, heinous crimes,” said U.S. Attorney General Dane Shikman, in regard to South Africa’s contention that political freedoms ought to be exercised even in prison. “They’ve given up the right to be a free, autonomous person in society. You sacrifice far bigger things than the right to vote.”
The delegate from Canada, Matthew M. Grubisic, dissented.
“A prisoner’s rights are given to him by the government. If he cannot affect his government, then he loses a fundamental right to change the system,” Grubisic said. Many delegates argued that voting is a privilege, not a right, and consensus on the issue could not be reached.
Committees broke for lunch at 1 p.m., with five hours left to finalize the communiqués to be sent to the heads of state and government this evening.
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