Within the framework of educational outreach programmes of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), the National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun has asserted that “The United Nations (UN) does more than peace keeping and being a forum for conflict resolution.”
He acknowledged that the UN was known for peace keeping though, but since inception 70 years ago, the organisation had continued to address emerging challenges such as international terrorism; Child survival and development; Environmental protection; Human rights; Health and education.”
He made this assertion while addressing over 500 students on ‘The United Nations and Third World Development’, being the Guest Speaker at the ‘Town-Gown seminar’ organised by the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, South-West Nigeria.
Other challenges the UN is addressing, according to him, include Alleviation of poverty and economic development; Agricultural development and fisheries; Advancement of women; Emergency and disaster relief; Air and sea travel; Peaceful uses of atomic energy; Workers’ rights; among others.
Soremekun explained that apart from the role the UN played in bringing about independence in more than 80 countries that are now sovereign nations, over 500 multilateral treaties on human rights, terrorism, international crime, refugees, disarmament, commodities and the oceans have been enacted through the efforts of the United Nations.
The National Information Officer stressed that one of the most robust frameworks that addressed third world development to date was the UN-led Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to him, as at 2014, 700 million people had been lifted from extreme poverty; more than 170 million people no longer suffer from hunger; 17,000 children saved everyday and 6.6 million lives saved by access and use of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people.
Speaking, the Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations of the University, Dr Duruji, acknowledged that the seminar was instructive and educational, providing an insight into the efforts of the United Nations in helping the third world countries.
During the interactive session, the students raised questions about the efforts of the UN concerning the insurgency in the North-Eastern part of the country; clarifications about the UN system; Peacekeeping operations and job and internship opportunity in the United Nations.