IEE Newsletter No. 32

10th UN Research Colloquium

Rouven Diekjobst reports on the 10th UN Research Colloquium, hosted by IEE and IFHV from 8th to 10th October 2020

Short Report on the 10th UN Research Colloquium: "The UN and Resources", hosted by the IEE and IFHV on 08.-10.10.2020

Each year, the Working Group of Young UN Researchers (AG Junge UN Forschung) within the German Association for the United Nations (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Vereinte Nationen e.V.) organizes a research colloquium on a current topic to enhance the discourse between young scholars from various disciplines. This year’s colloquium, entitled “The United Nations and Resources” was hosted by the Ruhr-University’s IEE and IFHV, following the initiative of Research Associates, Henrike Roth and Timeela Manandhar, who organized the event jointly with the Working Group.

Under the topic "The United Nations and Resources", the role of resources (material and immaterial) for the stability of the UN, the global regulatory framework and peace between states, as well as the resource focus of transnational corporations were examined. In doing so, the colloquium shed light on "traditional" resources such as money, manpower, natural resources / land resources, water, and land; but also on often forgotten resources such as political influence, trust, good governance and other soft power elements.

After welcoming the participants at the IEE, the colloquium started with keynote speeches by the IEE’s Prof. Löwenstein and IFHV’s Professor Thielbörger, which highlighted the different conceptions of resources from an economic and a human rights viewpoint, especially in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The first panel aptly complemented this introduction to the topic, focusing on the notion and administration of resources. Following this food for thought, the first day of the colloquium was concluded with a conference dinner.

While one of the conclusions of the first day was that the notion of "resources" is rather unspecified and that a resource can be anything, the second day had a clear focus on a traditional resource: money. Starting with a panel on money as a resource, which explored the (potential) role of the UN in global tax governance, as well as investment law, the second day finished with a panel on Corporations, rounding off a full day of discussions focused on investments – without ever losing sight of human rights. The last panel explored the future of corporate social responsibility as well as the human rights due diligence obligations of corporations. In line with this focus, Jens Heidingsfelder of the GLS Bank Bochum gave a presentation to all participants, introducing GLS Bank’s unique approach to combine banking and sustainable investments, which prompted several participants to consider a new bank account. As a contrast to the prominent topic of money, the third panel of the day focused on the rather fundamental importance of land as a resource and explored the siginficance of land; not only for the individual and minorities, but also for States, whose territory will be increasingly threatened by sea-level rise.

UNKolloquium GLS Besuch
Presentation by Jens Heidingsfelder of the GLS Bank Bochum

The last day of the colloquium started with the final panel with the ambitious focus on UN resources, which explored global as well as local challenges, starting with a presentation on the United Nations Resources in Angola, followed by a presentation on the governance of the human right to water and sanitation and its implementation in Uganda. The panel was concluded with a presentation focusing on development from an economic viewpoint and offered theoretical insights to economic growth, poverty and globalization.

Finally, the participants engaged in a concluding discussion, identifying various future challenges for the United Nations and exchanging ideas on how to solve them. One thing all participants could agree on was that the resource of time was too scarce to discuss all of the ideas in the depth they would have deserved – but there will always be next year!

UNKolloquium Gruppenbild
Photo of the Colloquium Participants

DiekjobstRouven Diekjobst
Colloquium Participant,
Student Assistant at IFHV

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