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Quick Reminder: The F in UNICEF stands for Funding, not Feud

by MELISSA KARTJITO | 15 August 2021, 10:51 WIB | HINDUSTAN TIMES | UNICEF

Funding laptop for children without access becomes the hottest issue to debate on, as UNICEF Report on Remote Learning Reachability shows staggering statistics


As the delegates of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) introduce their working papers, both blocs find a common stumbling block: issues regarding funding.

The United States of America bloc proposes three funding mechanism (Article 2 on Funding): Covenant of Funding Education in Nations (COVEN) Program for multilateral cooperation between developed and developing countries, World Education Emergency Fund under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Academic Piggy-bank (WAP) under UNICEF itself.


The 11-page working paper is met with lots of criticism from the other bloc, who questions the need for three mechanisms instead of one, as most of currently running programs in UNICEF comes from just one type of funding.

“There’s a problem with the Funding chapter 3 (World Academic Piggy-bank) because it states the creation of a special body under UNICEF, which is redundant because the UN already has ECOSOC. Furthermore, it also states the provision of laptops for every student in the world, which is not feasible,” claims the delegate of Qatar. The delegate of Mali also adds how the fund for Laptop for Each Child program will be insufficient for all children.


The other bloc also faces criticism on funding: the delegate of Cameroon challenges the free laptop initiative from Article 1 Clause 2c (“Will companies like Dell, Microsoft suddenly become philanthropists – giving away laptops and electronic devices for free?”) to make less sense than his bloc’s Laptop for Each Child program, which collaborates with those companies instead of asking them for free.


The back and forth discussion on laptop-for-every-child issue continues to escalate as both blocs do not wish to yield. This hyper focus on remote learning devices is in line with the latest report on UNICEF’s Remote Learning Reachability, which mentions that at least one third of all schoolchildren globally – amounting to around 463 million schoolchildren – “could not access remote learning since schools have been shut down because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak since early this year”.


The tension finally eases down with the delegate of Argentine’s rational point and the delegate of Portugal’s neutral stance, “The delegate of Portugal would advise the State of Qatar’s bloc (WP 1.2) to advise their working papers since although we may have 3 funding methods, they have no specific methods. Also, they have stated that their prospective governments will be giving away 'free' internet data and electronic devices and whilst this delegate understands that governments may collaborate with tech companies, it is highly likely that they will not be willing to do this for free, especially since they will be losing financial profits. Therefore, Portugal urges the other bloc to amend their working paper,”


With proclamation to “agree to disagree” from the delegate of Ghana, this creates a ripple effect that diffuses the tension of both blocs – with the delegate of Italy willing to compromise certain solutions and the delegate of Qatar to amend their solutions.

We’re looking forward to revised funding solutions for the draft resolutions in the upcoming sessions.

Jakarta International MUN 2021