During the month of September 2021 the Civil Association “Democracia Global”, along with partner the organizations - “UMA”, “Democracy Without Borders”, “UNPA Campaign” and two Regional
Academic Partners - Goa University and Sharda University, carried out the second Model of the Parliamentary Assembly of the United Nations (UNPA) in India on the theme of Gender Equality. In view of the Covid pandemic situation, Second UNPA Model was organized virtually. The Model counted on the participation of more than 40 students from Goa and Sharda University, from the disciplines of Political Science, International Relations, and Education.
The UNPA Model was coordinated by Camila Lopez Badra (Executive Director of Democracia Global and International Coordinator of the UNPA Model), Emilia Ismael (Executive Coordinator of Democracia Global and International Coordinator of the UNPA Model), Rodrigo Hazaff (Coordinator of Democracia Global and Communication Coordinator of the UNPA Model), Rita Kakati-Shah (Founder and CEO of UMA and Secretary-General and Principal Coordinator of the UNPA Model), Smita Singh (Academic Relations Coordinator of the UNPA Model), Shraddha Naik (Assistant Professor at Goa University), Disha Maheshwari
(Assistant Professor at Sharda University), Rahul Tripathi (Assistant Professor and Head at GOA University)and Alakandra Shringare (Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Goa University).
The UNPA Model’s main goal was to create and encourage conscientiousness surrounding an issue that affects humanity as a whole. The Second UNPA Model centered around the theme of
Gender Equality. Inequality in gender hierarchical relations has resulted in deep-seated gender equalities that are embedded in all facets of our lives. In order to tackle the global challenge of gender bias, we all need to unite and design feasible and pragmatic solutions. Hence, based on the concept of global citizenship, the students that were part of the Model were able to represent, as members of a Parliamentary Assembly, the citizens of the world, allowing them to work all together to devise and propose plausible and effective solutions to issues that transcend boundaries, and, therefore, require global solutions.
A student portal was created on the website of UNPA Model for the students where they could find relevant materials (videos and documents) regarding the concepts of Global Citizenship, the purpose, and functioning of the UNPA Campaign, Gender Equality, and the instructions on drafting bills. Furthermore, there were four educational encounters concerning the UNPA Campaign and the concept of Global Citizenship, a lecture on how to improve communication skills, a talk regarding the understanding of bills and how to draft them and, finally, a session on Gender Equality and how to focus the proposals on sorting out the issues under consideration.
Debate in parliamentary commissions
The debate in the Parliamentary Committees began with the remarks of three Indian Parliamentarians: Shri K.J. Alphons; Shri Ritesh Pandey and Dr. Achyuta Samanta.
Then, the participants were divided into the following four Commissions and each one was chaired by a Professor from the University of Goa or Sharda: Gender Bias Across Household, Gender Equality in the Workplace, Culture and Systemic Gender Bias and Gender Bias in Politics. Within each Commission, the students were organized into smaller groups with three specific roles they were going to play: Spokesperson, Advisor, and Press Officer. Their main goal was to present a Bill concerning one of the topics relevant to the Commission they were in, for the purpose of carrying out a debate and then vote on the most urgent and feasible bill.
Debate of the final projects
This session was chaired by Priyanka Chaturvedi, Honorable Member of Parliament of India, Rajya Sabha, and Fernando A. Iglesias, Honorable Member of Parliament in Argentina and Co-President of the World Federalist Movement.
The proposed bills under discussion were Representation of Gender Minorities in Legislatures; Boosting Representation and improving conditions within the workspace; Redistribution of domestic work in household Bill and Abolition of Child Marriages Bill. By a final vote, participants sanctioned with the force of law the last-mentioned bill.
The students had the great opportunity to be part of a unique experience with regard to the advancement of knowledge and skills concerning the functioning of parliamentary legislation, drafting, negotiation, and debating of Legislative Bills and the voting process. They were able to broaden their abilities and put them into practice, which will be of great use to them in their future endeavors.
By applying their academic knowledge in a practical circumstance such as the UNPA Model, they, on one hand, are contributing to the world’s responsibility to attend to global issues, discuss them and come up with plausible solutions and, on the other hand, honoring and owning their duty as global citizens. Indeed, they were able to recognize that there are certain issues, in this case, gender disparity, that affect each and every one of us and that can only be solved by reaching a global consensus. Moreover, the students were able to overcome the obstacles that come rigged by the differences when it comes to debating, enabling them to
achieve a conjoined resolution.