Category: Uncategorized

OPINION: “Nation building” not a game of mindcraft

By: FAITH TURNBULL (The Guardian) and JUDY PERPOSE (Financial Times)

Delegates in the Paris Peace Conference are in heated debate as they strive to define at what point a region may be internationally recognized as a sovereign state.

Members of the committee seem to think that state-building is simply an act of building a couple new government buildings and having a fancy road.

Except in this case, the committee hopes to get creative on the game rules. Italy when speaking on the economic development of States saw a major issue with draft resolution “Kick Acts” that failed to include a framework that promoted greater incentive to complete development projects at a more rapid pace.

Italy may have an edge in this debate as they urged committee members to include a “sunset clause” on all development related qualifiers to obtain recognition from the international community as a sovereign state.

But it’s not as simple as requesting a state to build official buildings and “appear” to be developed for international recognition to be granted.

The buildings that get pieced together into neighbourhoods like in popular video games, does not reflect the social implications of newly defining this space.

In a game of mindcraft you can certainly create a region, but you cannot anticipate the impact of regionalism. In essence, the regions have a complex social structure that are not captured by a minimum quota for government buildings.

Bearing this in mind, it is clear which resolution should be the one that wins out, the “BUILD” plan. This plan is one which focuses on the individual territories and how they can grow themselves. As opposed to the “Kick Acts” resolution which uses blanket policies without individual concern to smaller territories that wish to gain statehood.

The more specific and individualized “BUILD” plan, despite it being written by larger countries with a history of Imperialism, was clearly written with the ravaged countries and territories in the Middle East in mind. Though, because of their Imperial history, these countries had a hard time getting the support they needed to get this draft resolution up and running. It is this prejudice which let “Kick Acts” win out.

“Kick Acts,” despite its good intentions, lacks a comprehensive plan moving forward. In the long run, there is an understanding of what should and would happen under their proposal, but there is a large question put forth that counteracts even their best intentions. Belgium put forth, “where is the money coming from?” This question poses a significant issue with “Kick Acts” which could not be aptly answered by the delegates which stood behind it: The Hejaz, China, Japan, and Canada, among others.

The prejudice which stopped the “BUILD” plan was unfairly attributed. France stated: “If they actually took the time to read the policies, our resolution would go through.” It is a shame that the personal offenses of years ago have affected this peace conference so much. Even with the strife of Imperialism (which is not being denied here) the delegates in this committee should have been able to look past that into the actual draft resolutions at hand. If they had done that, the “BUILD” plan would have succeeded with flying colors.

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“SOVEREIGNTY” & THE POWERFUL.

By: AMATUS-SABOOH WAHAB AKUMFI-AMEYAW (DAWN)

Running around from room to room. We notice race and cultural diversity emphasizing that agendas will be suitable for all.

Indeed the agendas are ‘suitable’ for all. The very basic understading of sovereignty is the power a country has to make its own decision without interference from any other country.

Every country rightly adds in their draft resolution to protect their sovereignty and respect the sovereignty of others. Surprisingly the realities in their countries contradict the ‘respect’ they have for other sovereign countries.

Countries are talking about respecting sovereignty yet they’re allowing air strike into other countries.

Countries seem to be at the peak of respect for one another; but we wake up in the morning to notice a different country dictating which city should be a country’s capital… Such regard for ‘sovereignty’.

After hijacking, and forcing citizens to abandon the only place they can truly call home, countries proudly says that they feel that questions regarding their actions are insulting to the integrity of the state.

Neighbouring countries without fear declare that until countries use their powers to shut down certain media houses, the countries seize to be recognized as members of their regional bodies.

Supporting military aids, such countries then lecture a session on ways to maintain sovereignty…So thoughtful.

And as if it was not enough, the countries that are being fought for issue a prease realeases, inforn press at at press conferences saying they have ‘NO COMMENT’ on the attacks taken in their territory.

‘Respect’ for sovereignty and linguistic, religious and ethnic minorities are not recognized as citizens of countries; hence millions loose legitimate entitlements they rightfully deserve. ‘Respect’ that allows one to manipulate the living standard and economic status of citizens based of linguistic, religious and ethnicity.

It is a Global world and every country needs another country to lean on but they should not be dictated to only because of their race, geographical location or their classification as “middle income economies” & “third world countries”.

Be the change the world deserve.

 

Kernel of Truth in UNDP Discussions

BY Emily C. Scheppegrell, Times of India

“I think there’s definitely a kernel of truth and promise in a lot of the stuff you have proposed,” a mysterious visitor to the United Nations Development Programme stated earlier today. This visitor, dressed as corn and known as Corn Man and other names, showed up unexpected and surprised delegates. The Corn Man’s first appearance in the UNDP occurred a day earlier when he walked in and sparked debate by bringing up the topics of divestment and transitioning to renewable energy instead of oil. The UNDP is covering climate change as one of their many considerations in their committee.

“It’s been very, very heartwarming to see a lot of our proposals directly integrated into your resolutions, to see our agenda reflected there,” the Corn Man informed the delegates. Of the two main blocks in the UNDP, one encouraged other delegates to listen to the Corn Man’s previous proposals, while the other block went so far as to call him a terrorist and asked delegates not to listen to him. These delegates against the visitor included Germany, Russia, and China. The Corn Man’s controversial speeches provoked a great deal of questions the delegation had not discussed before.

“The biggest thing for us now is just moving towards a solution, getting something on the floor that can pass, that can work, that can ameliorate this crisis,” the Corn Man said.

In response to a question from the International Red Cross representative, the Corn Man promoted working with different groups like NGOs and was eager to collaborate with different organizations. “I think that all parties from across the spectrum, advocacy organizations, governments, international groups, can all have a role to play in coordinating this crisis,” stated the Corn Man.

Delegates questioned Corn Man about what could be done in the short-term in regards to the crisis. “Climate change is not a short-term problem…. But I think the best things we can do right now is start immediately moving towards aggressive mitigation measures to try to reduce emissions,” Corn Man responded, advising delegates on some options they could utilize.

The two blocks are presenting two very different solutions to one topic. The UNDP is pretty evenly divided between the two blocks and working papers. The debate ranges from the pro-oil states arguing for ignoring the Corn Man and the other states advocating for renewable energy sources. Before exiting the committee, the Corn Man left delegates with a final sentence of advice. “We need to be thinking in terms of decades, not minutes.” Climate change is not a short-term problem, it will continue to affect humans years ahead and the UNDP must find a solution to ensure the future of this earth for future generations.

 

The Latest from the World Health Organization

By: GABRIELLE RIVAS, Asahi Shimbun

World Health Organization has been working on the topic of “climate change” and as of now there are 9 working papers. Delegates have been merging groups and ideas while working on solutions to climate change. Their task has been to create a plan for the global community and improve climate change for the future of all countries.

During the last committee session delegates asked each other about their working papers and what solutions they had for improving climate change for the sake of health care. Delegates discussed programs for improving human health. Delegates shared their ideas with other blocs with concerns on community involvement, technology, protocols and ways climate change effects mental health.

Sweden is already familiar with ways of being more energy efficient and aware of greenhouse gas. A delegate from Sweden addressed the committee with ways Sweden has already adapted to climate change and how other countries can do the same. “sustainable houses funded by the government, eating seasonal food or local food and driving hybrid cars or by bike,” are ideas brought to the committee in the question and answer session.

Aside from ways nations can prevent harm to the environment delegates also discussed ways of accountability through citizens, government and businesses. Working Paper 1.1 described ways economic development can work with environmental issues to not only aid developing countries but allow companies to remain in business. “We do not want to punish companies for making a lot of money in developing nations but we want to punish companies where there is malpractice,” a delegate of Germany said.

While coming up with solutions one of the difficulties has been providing renewable energy for developing countries and those who have less resources. This makes the delegates such as the United States and Germany concerned with the economy as well as human health. While the focus of the committee is to be concerned about human health, delegates have included preventive programs to delay ongoing climate change but also adapting to current living conditions.

Along with health and climate, infectious diseases are included in the effort to improve the environment. The mosquito program was introduced by Working Paper 1.4 and is one that is well known and used to prevent mosquito borne illnesses. It involves the collaboration of communities in countries with few resources. Other initiatives also involved the collaboration of community and companies all in order to benefit citizens. Delegates will continue to work together to collaborate on prevention and solutions to climate change.

OPINION: Cultural Appropriation

By: GABRIELLE RIVAS, Asahi Shimbun

Delegates are told to not dress in culture they are representing.

On Thursday it was addressed some delegates were wearing the traditional clothing of countries they are representing. By doing this delegates are appropriating cultures and using a person’s culture for their own purposes by making it their own.

Delegates cannot wear a culture if they are not from that culture because it is not theirs in the first place. Not only is dressing like the country delegates are representing disrespectful but it can also be seen as mocking the country, or if done incorrectly, can show a delegate’s misunderstanding of a nation.

Though the delegate’s journey to MUN much research is done on the countries they represent and the culture of the specific country.

MUN teaches delegates to understand different backgrounds in their International Bazaar. There is where international students dress and delegates can understand each other.

Even though wearing a nation’s culture dress is an attempt to show appreciation for the culture, there are other ways delegates can do that. Delegates should instead focus on the ways social issues are effected by culture.

For example the Human Rights Council is working on their topic on Representation of Indigenous People in State Governments. Indigenous people originate from people of the region. In order to do this topic delegates must have a certain amount of respect and understanding for minorities. To show their understanding the best way would not be to dress as indigenous minorities. This not only goes for the Human Rights committee but all committees discussing social issues.

In order for delegates to show their understanding of the country they are representing or studying an ideal way would not be wear their traditional stoles. By dressing professionally and doing research delegates can show they have a great deal of respect for a country.

By dressing as another culture it is making their culture’s clothing as a costume. Although some delegates have the intention of showing their appreciation for a culture, where is the appreciation when delegates are wearing inaccurate clothing to show respect? Not only is wearing a person’s culture, cultural appropriation, it can also upset fellow delegates so much they decide not to work together and can be detrimental to networking at the conference.

 

OPINION: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism still present in the UN

By: ISAAC BYKHOVSKY, The Jerusalem Post

Photos by The Guardian

BOSTON, Mass. (The Jerusalem Post)—Seen in committees from LEGAL to the League of Arab States, the State of Israel has had difficulty gaining traction for their resolutions and opinions. It is a sad, yet common, sight to see in the United Nations.

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The first day of conference in the LEGAL committee, Israel opened debate to bring to question the needs to label religious minorities. The committee response was harsh—attacking the state for being an oppressor of religious minorities themselves. These harsh criticisms came from Syria, Sudan, and Iraq, amongst others. The irony in their statements was palpable in the air—yet no other member state was quick to come to Israel’s defense.

A similar picture was painted in the Historical General Assembly (HGA). At the heart of the Suez Crisis, the Delegation of Israel had zero supporters when claiming their stake into the Suez Canal. Attacks came from member states from around the world, accusing Israel of being a “militaristic hegemon in the region that has no reason to mettle of the affairs of its neighbor states,” as stated by the Delegation of Egypt themselves.

Within the League of Arab States, to not much surprise these sentiments exist as well. While the member states worked to exploit Israel’s strong technology and agricultural sector by calling them to finance micro-loans for the region, they would turn on Israel during moderated caucuses—accusing the country of not being a, as stated by the Delegation of Syria, “True Arab Nation.”

The State of Israel fights these contractions every day within the United Nations.

The nations that accuse Israel of being prejudice to religious minorities, mentioned above, have full blown religious wars occurring in their countries. In the case of the HGA, Israel was drawn into the Suez Crisis by the initial aggressions by the Egyptians. Still a young nation in the region, at the time of the Crisis leaders of Arab States were calling for the demise of the State of Israel.

The contradiction is blatant—members of the United Nations call out the State of Israel for being prejudice, while basing their arguments in the majority religion of Israel. It is a sad reality that Israel must put up with on the world stage.

Israel offers many opportunities for their religious minorities—such as access to a universal healthcare system and a government funded higher education program. Religious minorities are granted citizenship within the nation—they are offered separate religious courts to be tried by a jury of their true peers.

Few other member states of the United Nations offer such accommodations.

Fighting through anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and anti- nationalism Israel continues to prosper as a member of the United Nations. Yet, it puts the nation at an unfair advantage when fighting on the global stage, and makes their aggressors look hypocritical.

 

“SOCIAL MURDER” – SWEDEN CRIES

BY AMATUS-SABOOH WAHAB AKUMFI-AMEYAW (DAWN)

In the fourth session of the 64th Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) conference. Sweden addresses Disarmament and International Security (DISEC) delegates saying if social media is not checked fast this would become “SOCIAL MURDER”.

The Dawn Speaks to the delegate after his submission and Sweden explained that all social media platforms are privatized; insinuating that there is not much government’s cab do to check it’s use and effects.

Sweden continues by saying that some people join terrorist groups because they find motivation through social media.

He added that as known terror groups recruit, new networks are being formed. Sweden discussed the country’s plan with the DAWN.

Reiterating that Sweden, acknowledges that governments can not interfere; hence suggests that a that a platform be created for ‘social media giants’, government’s and law enforcement agencies to find appropriate measures to curb the spread of military networks.

As some countries agree with Combating terrorism networks others seek to merge military aid so that it may be recognized as a way to combat terror networks.

Colombia shows support for the ‘Military Aid’ indicating that the only way to end terrorism is to use the bullet. Colombia suggests ways that military can conquer terrorism groups.

Other countries remind Colombia and other countries that the radical approach like in Libya,Egypt and so many others have proven over the past to be a very destructive affecting the development of the affected nations and largely displacing the vulnerable.

DISEC is hoping to pick one of the draft resolutions presented or to look foward to mergers.