The conference continues with another full day of conferences, speeches, and events! The debates opened up at 9:00, after delegates from all schools met once again at the Hôtel de Région, this time with the intention of building and discussing clauses.
ICJ and Mr. Peter Barabas
The ICJ committee eagerly began with a highly intriguing presentation from Mr. Peter Barabas, the editor in chief at Euronews, where he showed a most intriguing yet poignant documentary of the ongoing war in Aleppo from the eyes of the White Helmets. After various questions from the delegates and a most heartfelt applause, advocates respectively introduced witnesses, where they were brilliantly questioned by both teams, on subjects such as the Russian involvement, the White Helmets’ defendability and the ongoing employment of destructive chemical weapons like chlorine gas. Once all the judges individually questioned the witnesses, the advocates from both parties were excused whilst during the remainder of the afternoon, the judges entertained respectively in depth assessments of the various pieces of evidence supplied by the respective advocates (eight per team). Near 16H00, the advocates were welcomed back. They were then given one final occasion to prompt and convince the judges of their cause. Successively, all spoke with certainty and clarity, and executed conclusive speeches with utmost clarity and emotion, captivating all. The Applicant mostly argued for the need of justice, “Justice for the 23000 civilians buried under the rubble”. The Respondent party then responded with dexterity, stating “The Government is faced against people armed through the teeth, that even peace cannot stop”. How could the judges establish such a strenuous resolution? The verdict will be announced tomorrow…
After playing the role of Basser Al Assad (brother of Bachar Al Assad) and describing the “white helmets” case as a witness in the ICJ committee, Mr. Barabas was interviewed by our press team, and dedicated some of his time to describe the importance of media today as well as the combat against fake news, that have major impacts on public opinion in our contemporary society. He depicted his job as a quest for the truth, and a network of crucial connections. For a more detailed description of his interview, feel free to redirect yourself to the article.
Environmental and Mr. Troels Bierman
Mr. Troels Bierman Mortensen, Former Program Manager for the United Nations in Madagascar and UN Evaluation Officer in New York, also spent the day with us at Hôtel de Région. He made two interventions in both environmental committees to stress the importance of the environmental and economic issues in Madagascar, while inciting to take action by considering the strategies throughout which international institutions and developed countries could help and invest in the country. In his interview, taped by our audiovisual team and available at (LINK TO COME), he explains the reasons why he believes in international collaboration, and expands on the situation in Madagascar.
In the environmental A committee, the delegates were eager to cover this year's environmental issue and lobby for their countries. The first clause brought to the debate was submitted by Uruguay who encouraged MEDCs to provide subsidies such as windmills and solar panels to LEDC countries. As the discussion continued, the delegate from Venezuela submitted an amendment stating that oil reliant MEDCs can also receive this aid, so that they can restructure there infostructure in such a way that they are no longer relanet on the exploitation of fossil fuels. This amendment and clause both passed with overwhelming support and the chairs and delegates alike were both ready for a new clause. The next clause was submitted by the Delegate of Iran and stated: “This house believes that the bubble concept should be promoted, at least one bubble should be installed in each city with more than 5 million inhabitants”. As soon as the clause was presented, placards started rising, and soon an amendment from the delegate of Romania was submitted, stating: “Only in countries where pollution is a life threatening risk.” This amendment didn’t last for long, and when voting was called, all but 5 delegates voted against this addition to the clause. Before the final vote on the clause, the Delegate of Montenegro took the floor and stated that they were against the clause; when voting took place all but three countries voted with Montenegro against the clause.
In the Security Council, the Syrian situation was discussed broadly, covering the state of people within Syria but also that of the people having already migrated out of the country. The delegates debated on the creation of new refugee camps in welcoming countries, as well as UN aid centers within Syria. Controversial topics also included the respect of the no fly zone above Syria, the influx of refugees in European countries, the legitimacy of totalitarian governments and whether to take action or not to fix the political situation, still unstable and criticized. On this last subject tensions were particularly sensed between the delegations of USA and UK on one side, and the delegations of PRC and Russia on the other. Finally, one of the major topics discussed was the creation of an SEZ in Syria after the war to help fix the economy throughout Foreign Direct Investment.
In ECOSOC, the main focus of the discussions were the poor neighbourhoods in megacities and the situation of elderly people.Due to their shyness some people were at first afraid to take the flow, but the chairs helped them made incentives to get everyone to speak. In the end, all the delegates gave compelling speeches and arguments in order to convince the assembly.The committee treated 20 motions and approximately half of them passed with an overwhelming majority. Agreeing on the right thing to vote was not that hard except for one or two motions which were controversial and gave rise to animated debates.The day finished on a joyful note as all delegates that were late during the day were forced to sing a Justin Bieber song in front of the house as a form of punishment.
Science and Technology:
In Science and Technology, the second day began with an hour of lobbying. Each delegate created a motion and tried to convince the others to sign it. Afterwards, everyone took their seat and the first debate started with a motion about the use of renewable energy sources in cities, by the delegate of Nigeria. He appeared really convincing and after two amendments and 45 min of debating, the motion was passed. Then, the debates accelerated and the day was fast paced with nearly ten debates, thanks to a pleasant participation of all the delegates -especially the delegates of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. The debate begins centered around the question of smart cities and it was really interesting to see the different point of view of the delegates according to their country. Finally, the second day appeared more captivating as the delegates felt more self-assured, the chairs “controlled the debate” as Thomas Delorme said very efficiently and the general atmosphere was more relaxed.
Cultural and Ms. Rachel Jean Baptiste:
In the Cultural committee, during the beginning of the conference, Ms. Rachel Jean Baptiste, History Professor at UC Davis, delivered a passionate speech to the delegates, informing them about the cultural issues in global cities. This speech sparked ideas in the minds of the delegates, which were useful in the creation of their clauses. The basis for these clauses were inspired by UNESCO’s 5 Cs: Credibility, Conservation, Capacity, Communications, and Communities. The first motion was submitted by Iran, one of the main and powerful speakers within this committee. The motion recommended that the UN supply aid to heritage sites. A valuable argument was expressed, stating that it was essential to ‘integrate culture whilst having sustainable development as a basis’. Eventually this motion was passed with the assistance of Spain. Many successful amendments were passed, submitted by Hungary, Iran and Jordan. Jordan’s amendment, relating to virtual recreation and protection of destroyed historical sites, was inspired by an a real-life event in 2001; Buddha statues were destroyed by the taliban and a controversial debate arose upon whether or not to rebuild these statues.
After an interesting speech on how to preserve cultural heritage within urban areas, Ms. Jean Baptiste agreed to give us some of her time in an interview. We started off with general questions to have her opinion on ILYMUN which she thought was a great experience for us as we were able to debate some of today’s world issues especially with this year’s theme: Cities. By the end of the interview, however, the questions were more diverse, asking her about her opinion on women’s role as a professional working woman in the US under Trump's administration, or her point of view on how this same administration could affect the preservation of cultural heritage. She was able to respond to each question in a complete and interesting way which made it a wonderful interview. You can view the full interview at (LINK)
Historical Security and Ms. Hayley Doane
Debates started in the Historical Security Council in a stimulating second day of ILYMUN. In the morning was deliberated the Cambodian Crisis of 1977. At first the protection of civilians was the main topic of discussion, but the historical context of the Cold War made it inevitable for the discussion to shift into a controversial and heated Capitalism versus Communism debate, going back and forth between these two ideologies. This Cold War context continued in the afternoon, as delegates started lobbying on the issue of the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950, which marked the start of the Korean War.
Much more confident than in the first day, delegates created a relaxed, inviting atmosphere for discussion. Everyone became so absorbed in the debate, that the morning break started later than planned. Indeed, time had flown by, and the chairs only realised fifteen minutes late that it was time for a well-deserved break. During the whole day, all of the delegates actively participated in the debate, continuously submitting motions and amendments, discussing them in heated yet professional discussions, to finally vote in favour or against the motions. Laughter was the music track accompanying the afternoon “punishments” for the delegates which did not arrive in time for the debates, marking the end of the charged second day. Debates will finish in the third day, which promises to be as packed and intense as the second day.
Ms. Hayley Doane, from Surval Montreux, was a guest speaker for this committee, and discussed the utmost importance of the historical security council. After much discussion pertaining to history and historical security, one statement was foregrounded: ‘The security council is supposed to maintain worldwide peace, but, it is so idealistic, and maybe it is not even possible. It is just to promote stability in the world as well, because any kind of conflict would have a massive impact on the economy and people’s everyday lives. It is the decision making body; they are not just looking to destroy communism, they aspire to maintain peace. In the end, we must learn history and its effects to ensure we don’t make the same mistakes.’Human Rights:
In the Human rights committee, the debates revolved around the question of protecting the rights of refugees in cities. The first one started off strong with a resolution composed of 9 closes, submitted by Syria. Syria’s delegate’s goal was to be able to integrate all the migrants fleeing from their home countries. Finally, after half an hour of confrontations, this resolution passed. The committee then passed onto the next one, an interesting resolution submitted by the USA. This debate was, by far, the longest and most animated of today’s conference. Why? It raised a couple of controversial points and particularly one about electronic bracelets. The question that drastically separated the room into two clans was whether or not refugees should wear them during their stay in a foreign country. On one hand, electronic bracelets could secure a country from any terrorist attacks. On the other hand, those bracelets would deprive people of freedom and emphasize their differences. With each arguments being constructive, the back and forth opposing mainly Romania and Serbia to the US was really interesting to listen. However, with 27 delegates against, the resolution didn’t pass. Finally, the conference ended on a quite surprising note. In addition to the fact that the last resolution to be submitted was unexpected, a new element was introduced: The guest speaker, Mr. Graham Whittington, was given the chance to participate in the debate. The delegation of Panama and Philippines strongly affirm that women were inferior to men and should be considered legally as such by the UN. As expected, this created a flow of reactions but due to time constraints, only the guest was able to react. Unfortunately, the committee wasn’t able to come to a conclusion.
Day Two was divided into two themes: The Young Marginalised and Refugees. After the previous day of lobbying, each group presented the project they believed would ameliorate their city. Dubai, for instance, believed that by creating a space in the touristic parts of the city, the LGBTQ community would feel integrated. During the presentations of each project, other delegates would question where the proposal could be improved. The delegates then continued to lobby, however this time, as themselves. This is when motions were created and the debating began. The debate began by a rather controversial motion “ This house is encouraging the creation of small camps in order to regroup marginalized communities such as lgbt or migrants.”. Of course, this sparked reaction in the other delegates, some saying it went against the spirit of the committee. The motion did not pass with an overwhelming majority against. The day progressed and by the end, the delegates regrouped into their cities to elaborate a plan on refugees. Mumbai wanted to acknowledge the migrants’ backgrounds and to combat xenophobia with sensibilisation campaigns throughout the city. For Paris, a project including an exchange in cultures and languages developed. It is clear that the delegates are eager to debate about the world around them and to change it for the better.
Overall, day 2 was found to be intense: the guest speakers were in much greater number than the previous day; many interviews were conducted. What is more, the debating sessions opened up, allowing delegates to defend their causes and openly share their thoughts on world issues for the first time this year. To top off the experience, the social events department organized a party at the Terraces du Parc in Villeurbanne, adding to the fun and the wonderful memories of the day!