January 19th, 2012
The delegation was led by Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO). The United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) hosted a working breakfast where U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Rosemary DiCarlo, discussed the importance of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to U.S. policy. She explained how the Security Council is a crucial element in supporting U.S. goals on conflict resolution and human rights abroad. Among other topics discussed by the delegation was the political situation in the Middle East and Palestine and the rise of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries in the world’s political and economic arenas.
Following the breakfast, the delegation walked across First Avenue to United Nations Headquarters. Mr. Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, detailed the U.N.’s wide range of interests from the political to the developmental. He informed the group of the U.N.’s sustainable energy initiative which aims to improve the environment. The delegation was extremely interested in the discussion of the United Nations’ promotion of green economic growth in order to advance economic progress and social equality. Mr. Orr also highlighted the launching of the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health which raised $40 billion since its inception.
The next presentation was offered by Dr. Mari Ortega, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The participants were briefed on the state of the epidemic, the U.N. response to this crisis and the future priorities of the global community, which continues its struggle against this disease. Dr Ortega mentioned the unfortunate recent decline in funding for vital research needed to tackle HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The delegation then took a private tour of the United Nations Capitol Master Plan led by Michael Alderstein, Assistant Secretary-General United Nations Information Center. This tour provided the participants with a better understanding of the Capital Master Plan, which involves renovating the United Nations campus for the first time in its 66 year history. The tour was followed by a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General greeted the U.S. Congressional Delegation and in his remarks highlighted the importance of U.S.-U.N. cooperation. He discussed the plan of action for his second term as the Secretary-General which will be structural and fiscal reform. In particular his office will concentrate on a bigger mission with less spending and efficient use of resources. The Secretary-General praised the U.S. support and emphasized the importance of continuing U.S. financial contributions.
The Secretary-General’s briefing was followed by a working lunch at the U.N. Millennium Hotel. The lunch speaker was Assistant Secretary-General Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Edmond Mulet. He discussed the importance of U.N. peacekeeping operations throughout the world and how member states contribute to the program. A number of U.N. Permanent Representatives also commented. The Ambassador of Uzbekistan discussed his country’s involvement within the U.N. and invited the participants to visit the Central Asian region. The Ambassador of Fiji commented on the peacekeeping operations his country is performing and stressed the need for international support. Other Permanent Representatives commented on the state of affairs in their countries. The day’s events came to an end with closing remarks by Mr. Bill Rouhana, Chairman of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, who emphasized the importance of U.S. Congressional delegations visiting the U.N. and abroad. He also shared the history of the Humpty Dumpty Institute. He detailed its programs and offered to further involve the members of Congress in HDI’s international mine action activities and HDI’s Higher Education Alliance here in the United States.Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) - House Foreign Affairs Committee
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY) - House Foreign Affair Committee
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) - House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) - House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) - House Homeland Security Committee
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) - House Armed Service Committee
Rep. Donna Christensen (D-VI) - House Energy and Commerce Committee
Jeremy Haldeman Chief of Staff, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO)
Maria Reppas Communications Director, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Eric Williams Legislative Assistant, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
Virgil Miller Chief of Staff, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
Fabrice Coles Legislative Director, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
Keenan Austin Senior Advisor, Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL)
Hannah Izon Legislative Director, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Kaylan Koszela Senior Policy Advisor, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Marian Lawson Congressional Research Service
Susan Epstein Congressional Research Service
Marie Okabe United Nations Information Center