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30 November 2020, New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office concluded its “Practical Look at the UN,” a training designed and delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil, former Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations (2012-2014).

This training attended by 105 participants, was supported with funding allocated from the Swedish International Development Agency’s (SIDA) contribution to the UNITAR Strategic Framework Fund, under the programme ‘Leveling The Playing Field’ which focuses on the development of skills and knowledge of Least Developing Countries.

The topic of Human rights took center stage during the latter half of the first day’s trainings with an in-depth look at how the UN and its member states confront social and economic human rights issues ranging from Women and Gender rights to torture and capital punishment.

The second session of the “Practical Look” began with a presentation on an issue central to the work of the UN—sustainable development. After providing background on the origins of the treaties that underpin the UN’s work on sustainable development and confronting climate change, Amb. Khalil discussed the contrast between how developed and developing countries confront sustainable development and working to realize the 2030 SDGs.

Disarmament—concerning nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, and small arms—was the second topic of the day. The session included discussions on the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the 2013 Arms Trade Treaty, and ongoing work to prevent the spread of weapons in the world’s conflict zones and elsewhere.

Lastly, day two concluded with a presentation on issues in the Middle East including nuclear proliferation and the status of Palestine.


The final session, held on Monday 30 November, discussed different proposals for UN reform, including modifying or enlarging the Security Council and the proposed abolishment of the Trusteeship Council (which has been suspended since 1994). The session concluded with Amb. Khalil’s final observations on the work on the United Nations and a discussion with session participants.

Unlike other specialized trainings designed solely for incoming diplomats, “A Practical Look at the UN” was open to diplomats, representatives of NGOs, academics, students, and members of the public seeking a greater understanding of how the UN system functions. The sessions attracted over one hundred participants from over eighty member states.

For those who did not attend this month’s trainings, UNITAR is pleased to be running an additional set of sessions with Amb. Khalil to be held on Tuesday 19 January, Tuesday 26 January, and Tuesday 2 February 2021.

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