“We’ll go with the flow”
The second edition of the Ghent Model United Nations began today, as the Secretary General M. Angel González García banged his gavel in front of the Secretariate and the delegates.
As they arrived in the majestic hall of the Aula, the delegates looked impressed, but also eager to get started. They felt ready to tackle the social, geopolitical and economical issues and face the challenges ahead.
In his – we won’t say short – speech, M. Bert Versmessen (Chief of Staff of the Belgian Security Council delegation) reminded us of the importance that a tiny country can have in the international system. He presented Belgium as a key cog in the United Nations’ machinery: the country he represents vouches for peace and dialogue in the current context of constant tensions. And if words aren’t enough to convince you, just check the website https://newyorkun.diplomatie.belgium.be/: you can find every public position of the delegation just there.
« Nothing about us without us »
The word of the day? Youth is the future. Both Ms. Lisa Koopman (UN-youth delegate for the Flemish Youth Council) and M. Angel González García (Secretary General of GhentMUN) underlined the part youth has to play in today’s politics and diplomacy. The latter particularly emphasised the possibilities Model United Nations offer to young people. Good news: we are young, so let’s enjoy everything this MUN simulation has to offer this weekend !
Nations united on the dancefloor
After the interesting debates it was time to get to know each other in a less formal way.
Participants gathered at the global village, where a reception was held by the GhentMUN organization. While snacks and a dancefloor were provided for, the organization offered croque monsieurs (both vegan and with meat) and drinks at a reasonable price.
At the same time people were encouraged to bring and share some native food and drinks. While some French people provided cheese, others treated the guests on Stroopwafels, Duble Lokum, Sablé and other treats. And for those older than 18 there was even a bottle of Rakia. Those who wanted could bring their own Belgian beers from the store.
For the others who wanted to enjoy a qualitative Belgian beer, the organization sold Westmalle at a very affordable price.
While people enjoyed their drinks and shared food, everyone had the opportunity to get to know the other participants in a more informal way. People dressed up in their native dress and carried flags of their homeland. The DJ played music, even adding in a live saxophone from time to time.
At least then, the nations were truly united. Although tomorrow, during the debates, that might not be the case anymore…
Drafts, drafts, drafts…
The second day of the simulation was filled with moderated and unmoderated caucuses. Every council made progress, some already drafting a resolution whilst others debated the contents of inclusive working papers.
The Security Council managed to draft a resolution through tensions between the United States and the Dominican Republic. The member states focused on the threat of terrorism, and on the necessity of guaranteeing access to water during conflict and crisis situations.
The International Court of Justice began drafting a judgment in the case of the Atacama waters: in order to avoid Chile having to pay compensations, the judges seem to favour the option of declaring the Atacama waters international waters.
The Economic and Social council explores if water should be treated as a commodity or as human right. How should an essential resource like water be treated? Does privatisation of water offer benefits or should the focus be on guaranteeing access to all. Steps towards a resolution are taken, considering the different priorities of developing as developed countries.
The members of the UN Women Committee received the help of outside experts and of their own chairs, broadening the range of topics they would tackle in their future resolution.
In the European Council, the debates centred around the political, economic, social and legal aspects of the issue of water and sanitation access.
The General Assembly moved towards an inclusive working paper, asking the legal advice of the International Court of Justice about their definition of the term ‘climate refugee’ and the legal content of the UN refugee Convention of 1951.
The Delegate Ball
After the second day of interesting debates, it was time for the delegate ball. The venue was held in a nicely decorated room. They opted for a clean, white look. Everyone came in the appropriate attire. The men wore their finest suits and the women wore their most elegant dresses. In the meantime, the DJ provided enjoyable tunes for people to dance to.
The setting was more formal than the day before in the global village. And yet, we could say that the atmosphere was even more relaxed. As many people already got to know one another during the debates and the party of the previous night it was very easy to get acquainted with all the people you hadn’t met yet. Therefore, it wasn’t difficult to find someone to talk to or dance with.
Everyone mingled, rhytmic sounds filled the space, feet moved according to the beat. Dancing circles and couples organically formed themselves. Contemporary music,salsa, swing and folkloric moves entertained both the ones performing as the ones catching there breath. We taught and learned eachother new dancing moves, expanding our repertoire for other parties to come. After this lively night people went home satisfied. To get a well deserved night of sleep. Ready for another day of intellectually stimulating debates.