26th Congressional Staff Delegation to United Nations Headquarters

HDI Hosts Health and Food Security Focused Staff Delegation

On Monday, May 12 the Humpty Dumpty Institute hosted a delegation of Congressional staffers at the United Nations for a program focused on international health issues and the global food crisis. The delegation was composed of:

Jim Decker, Legislative Counsel, Representative Thomas Davis
Carling Dinkler, Legislative Assistant, Representative John Tanner
Jeremy Haldeman, Legislative Director, Representative Russ Carnahan
Jessica Lawrence Payne, Senior Policy Advisor, Representative Albio Sires
Ken Reidy, Legislative Assistant, Representative Russ Carnahan
Caleb Rossiter, Counselor to the Chairman, Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

The group started the day with a briefing at the United States Mission to the United Nations. ECOSOC Minister Counselor Robert Hagen explained the workings of the United Nations Committee on Economic and Social Affairs and U.S. priorities within the Committee. Following the USUN presentation, the international health briefings commenced at the U.N. Secretariat. Ms. Maria Otelia Costales, the Senior Health Advisor for UNICEF www.unicef.org talked about UNICEF’s polio eradication efforts worldwide. She explained that the U.N. is on the verge of eradicating polio, with only four countries now reporting sporadic cases. The next briefing was delivered by Mr. Bertil Lindblad the Director of the U.N. Joint Program on HIV/AIDS. Mr. Linblad, who recently returned from heading up the U.N. fight against HIV/AIDS in Russia, discussed the U.N. strategy of education, prevention, and treatment. He gave a comprehensive overview of progress by United Nations in reducing infection rates around the world, while discussing the challenges in countries where the epidemic continues unabated.

Mr. Yves Bergevin and Ms. Katja Iversen of the United Nations Population Fund gave an overview of UNFPA’s activities in providing prenatal and post partum medical services to women without access to routine health care. They also discussed how increased information on family planning greatly reduces the recourse to abortions. Mr. Alan Court, the Senior Advisor to the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Malaria closed the session by detailing the progress made at reducing malaria infections worldwide. He discussed recent advances in treatment and explained how the use of mosquito repellent sleeping nets has been effective in decreasing new infections.

The final presentations occurred at a working lunch in the U.N. Delegates Dining Room. The delegation participated in a discussion of the global food crisis with Themba Masuku, Director of the N.Y. office of the FAO, Peggy Nelson, Deputy Director of the N.Y. office of the World Food Program, Ted Maly, Senior Advisor (Government Relations) UNICEF and Selim Jahan, Director, Poverty Practice, UNDP. The discussion focused on immediate and long term strategies to ensure global food security.

The Congressional Staffers reported that the briefings were valuable and that they expect to use information gleaned from this trip in upcoming hearings and bills.

Funding for this program has been provided by the United Nations Foundation
For more information, please contact Jonathan Landesman at Jonathan.Landesman@theHDI.org