NZ Model UN 2017 Day Three: UN+APPROVED

To view an online version of the Day Three paper, click here!

Yesterday, it was ruled by the International Court of Justice that the small colonisation of South Ossetia was declared unworthy of being independent. It was Russia who stopped the genocide against the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with Moscow as the mediator and peacemaker, helping to find a political solution. However, the Georgian leader chose the path of undermining the process of negotiation and ignoring the agreements reached, attacking the peacekeepers and engaging in political and military provocations. It was clear that the Georgian leader did not want to settle the issue by peaceful means but instead was preparing for war.

Russia’s parliament voted in favour since that was the only way to preserve the right of these peoples to self-determination, as well as to ensure peace and stability in the region, to save lives and create a secure environment for the two nations’ development. By not allowing South Ossetia to be a state, wouldn’t this compromise the basic human rights of the South Ossetian people? Clearly, it would.

The determination of South Ossetia not meeting all four requirements of population, territory, having a government and substantial foreign relations, the crucial resolution was that people came to the territory. Despite having a permanent population and clear territorial boundaries, it was not enough to allow for a permanent state. Russia has now lost a great ally, support network and South Ossetian’s for sure have lost their identity.

– Vivian Zhao, Russia Today

 

PROJECT MUN+WAY: Make It Work Delegates!

On day two, the media team decided to run a Project MUN+WAY story. We got so many awesome photos that we just HAD to chuck some up on here. Be on the lookout for the photographers for the next two days, Project MUN+WAY could make a return!

 

Fatima brought a burst of much needed colour to the conference, sunshine on a cloudy (and cold and rainy and very very windy) day, if you will.

 

Such casual, much candid. Jason showing off his matching belt, watch strap and shoes, dressed to impress.

 

Gina looking slightly candid and totally ecstastic to be at the conference, just what we want in a delegate.

 

On Wednesdays, we wear pink. David, Jason and Stewart got some bonus points for the quiz by actually wearing pink Wednesdays, something that most people seemed to forget about.

NZ Model UN 2017 Day Two: UN+JUST

To view an online version of the Day Two paper, click here!

It’s all very well to take the moral high ground when you are able to. In the discussion of discrimination in judicial systems, this point was brought up again and again by several member states: the importance of a strong moral principle against the practical aspects of implementing this principle.

The argument of intent as compared to ability was further complicated when the committee continued to explore the context of separate Member States. The Philippines and Togo both pointed out the economic difficulties that come with fighting corruption in the justice systems. While agreeing that the spirit of the resolution was in order, they highlighted the inability of Less Economically Develeoped Countries (LEDC) to agree to the resolution, as they were simply not feasible with the current state of resources of their Member States. They brought to attention the nature of the UN, which is to be secular and western, and therefore unsympathetic towards the plights of countries who are not.

Cultural and social differences between the Member States were also highlighted during this debate. The delegate from Egypt pointed out the infeasibility of ratifying clauses in this resolution in problems other than economic, pointing out the inability of their Member State to supply the proposed pool of judges to a 10 per cent margin representative of the gender and ethnicity in their own state. Paraguay responded to this by proposing the margin be raised by 25 per cent. Perhaps the inability to adhere to the original proposition implies not a problem with the running of the justice system, but of social and cultural barriers which prevent or discourage females and ethnic minorities from entering the legal profession.

Additionally, in reference to such differences, Equatorial Guinea reminded the floor that “as a member of the UN, Member States must subscribe to its inherent ideas, and if they don’t believe so, they should not be a member of the UN.” In response to this, Australia was quick to point out the importance of individual authority of Member States in their own country. The Philippines also supported this, stating that the UN should not “impede on the separate sovereignty of separate states, and should have the right to prioritise what rights they see as most important.” Paraguay also emphasised the importance of a fair legal system as a foundation, no matter the cultural beliefs: “A strong and stable court leads to a strong and stable country, which is beneficial not only for the country itself but also for the international community.”

 

 

The Philippines discussed the idea of a binding convention, as no resolution is compulsory for separate member states to ratify. They pointed out how a resolution will always have an impact, and often form the foundation for discourse. The myth that signed resolutions from the UN has no real impact on the separate Member States was quickly and deftly debunked. Disappointingly, the delegate also pointed out the danger of the slippery slope of further resolutions that may be based on previous ones passed – a fallible argument which weakened the impact of the original statement.

The resolution was not passed at the end of the session, and there was an overwhelming consensus of dissatisfaction with the weakness of the directive words. It serves to highlight the frustration of the slow nature of the action taken by the UN or even the lack of [action taken]. Perhaps we all must be reminded of the differences of each Member State – whether this is in ability or belief, and the need to negotiate with one another to find common ground.

– Joanna Li, UN Watch

UN+Environmentally Friendly

Despite attempts from Venezuela to enforce communism across the world and their demonisation of capitalist countries, the meeting of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) today in Wellington was a very animated conference.

The question of oil drilling in the Arctic quickly became an attempt to balance state economic interests against tapering the effects of climate change. It was widely accepted that the oil drilling is detrimental to the state of the world and although the honourable delegate of the United States was not in attendance – a reflection of our current administrations’ priorities, this may be regrettable as a controversial amendment that passed, could cost this nation greatly. Put forward by Cabo Verde, the amendment requires “Developed nations to provide economic support for island nations that suffer from the effects of rising water [caused by oil drilling] such as population displacement or environmental refugees.” This was originally intended to be a temporary measure by Cabo Verde but was put to the resolution as a permanent addition. It had a polarising effect and the Russian world leader accused Cabo Verde of having a “Grabby attitude” and questioned the value of Island nations to the world community saying, “They’re not really offering much to society, just floating around on the islands…they need our help – we don’t need them.”

Reflective of a wider global discussion about whether developed countries have a duty to assist more vulnerable nations and state sovereignty, the United Kingdom echoed the sentiment of many Western nations: “We place a huge importance on helping developing nations although we are not willing to sacrifice ourselves, although we are willing to put forward some form of support because they are our future.”

This debate is ongoing and although the resolution passed, there is unlikely to be a tangible outcome from today’s conference and the UN as a whole for a significant period of time.

– Bridget Scott, Wall Street Journal

 

NZ Model UN 2017 Day One: UN+SPEAKABLE

To view an online version of the Day One paper, click here!

All things being even, here is what can agree on: the two speeches delivered this morning were interesting and came from very different perspectives. The first speaker Tracy Epps, who works in international law and trade negotiations, gave us a glimpse of the mystery of TPPA negotiations – while also wryly pointing out the difficulties with government transparency.

At the best of times, foreign affairs and trade liberalisation are complex issues, and at worse downright contestable. Epps delivered an informative and insightful presentation that not only educated but also revealed the true difficulties in multilateral negotiations and conflicting interests (where the stakes are much higher than figuring out what your regional group wants to order for dinner).

University of Canterbury law lecturer, Debra Wilson – the second speaker – brought the shock factor in a riveting presentation on ethical decision making. She showed how it is not a contest between good and bad, but more often it is trying to figure out the least of many evils. She presented the real life situation of Memorial Medical Centre in New Orleans, Louisiana on the eve of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, into highlight the extremities of decision making in intense high-stake situations.

Just a quick reminder for you delegates, these are the tips Wilson gave on ethical decision making:

  • Understand the problem
  • Understand the ethical considerations
  • Explore the options available
  • Implement and reflect on the consequences

First committee sessions are fast approaching. Good luck for the next three days. Press delegates will be present and be watching to put your ethical decision-making skills to the test! So, what’s your bottom line?

 

Written by the NZ Model UN 2017 Press delegates:

Matt Billington – Al Jazeera
Arya Kantroo – Der Spiegel
Bridget Scott – Wall Street Journal
Samantha Samaniego – China Daily
Vivian Zhao – Russia Today
Hanna Choi – CNN
Joanna Li – UN Watch
John Sibanda – BBC
Florence Ferguson – Inter Press Service