The 19TH Session #KenyaMUN1920 Theme #ThinkGlobalActLocal
Story By. Lilian Njeri Waithaka
CONFERENCE WEEK (10–02–2020 TO 14–02–2020)
Throughout 2019 February to 2020 February the Kenya Model United Nations members, divided into 16 registered University chapters have embarked on a vibrant, awe-inspiring journey through a simulation of the United Nations sessions and dealings. Led by the theme ‘Think Global, Act Local’ in line with the Sustainable Development Goal number 6 and 13. The first day began with an active, and lively opening ceremony led by our National Sec.Chief Guest; UNON Chief of Staff, Kazimiro Rudolf- Jocondo.
We excitedly marched on with the committee sessions which are inclusive of Economic and Finance Committee (ECOFIN), Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (SOCHUM), Special, Political, and Decolonization Committee (SPECPOL), United Nations Educational, International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Law Commission (ILC), And the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Each room engaged in a knowledge filled moderated caucus session tackling current topics of issues affecting the international community through the making of short comments on a specific sub-issue to the chair.
Each committee was equally represented by passionate delegates representing various nations across the globe. In light of the fact that there were some controversial topics being debated, such as the LGBTQ matter, it was a sight for sore eyes seeing the delegates set aside their personal convictions and representing their nations policies and views in technical terms, listing their states various penal codes and how to overcome all those differences to enable a productive discussion beneficial to the international community.
DISEC — Non-Proliferation of Chemical and Biological weapons
This matter was inspired by the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, this is an international treaty with the objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology to promote cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to further nuclear disarmament. The delegates echoed on various ways their nations have been tragically affected by nuclear weaponry on not only an economical level, but most importantly a humanitarian level. There were moving narrations of heartbreaking war stories and the continuous impact that the tragedies still have years on.
‘Earth is the playground of our children and their children. We cannot allow it to be the playground of the nuclear arms of the evil forces.’ (Amit Ray, 2017)
ECOFIN — The importance of curbing money laundering to reduce levels of drug trafficking
For any large criminal community, money laundering is heavily part and parcel of their activities. In hindsight it’s what keeps them afloat, its giving oxygen to organized crime. It allows movement of large sums of money and assets to evade law enforcement suspicions and to avoid leaving an incriminating trail. The economy of a nation essentially plummets due to the change of the demand for cash, making exchange rates more volatile and consequently leading to inflation. Drug trafficking does not only include the manufactured products, but also the illicit transportation of controlled substances and operations of clandestine laboratories. Different nations have been looking into it from the angle of banks collaborating with criminals to ‘clean’ money and thus aim at improving and adjusting their laws on the flexibility of the banking industry.
SOCHUM — Addressing the recognition, respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of the human rights of sexual minorities.
The matter of sexual minorities has been a global issue that has taken precedence in the international community. The LGBTQ community has taken the world by storm as of recent years. The Rainbow tribe, has faced cruel acts of painful discrimination and shunning. For a moment, it was a repeat of the Salem Witch trials as conservative nations and religious groups raised their arms in spirited protests against the movement. For many, it is an infringement of their strong religious beliefs and is termed as an abomination of the human body. Nevertheless, the United Nations has brought light to their plight as they are still human beings thus indicating a human rights issue. Various nations were placed under a microscope as they were expected to come up with ways to avoid criminalizing these groups and providing a safe environment without greatly rearranging majority of the communities.
SPECPOL — The question of sovereignty and independence of former colonial territories with particular reference to the issue of the Chagos Islands
Located in the central Indian ocean, south of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Chagos island has been amidst a myriad of controversy. Having been a former colonial territory, the UK under orders from the court (ICJ)reluctantly relinquished control of the Chagos islands and its separation from Mauritius in 2019. There is a shocking number of 61 colonies across the globe that are still under colonial rule. As absurd as it may seem, they are unable to enjoy the benefits of independence. Decolonization is not only a confusing process but falls prey to violence as disagreements in matters leadership arise, not to mention the economic situation. Furthermore, nations exist in terms of community blocks thus they have to form alliances with other nations and that’s a difficult endeavor. The delegates tackled the matter of the Chagos case highlighting the fact that the case might arise once more in regard to the 61 colonies still under colonial rule.
UNSC — Impact of Narco-terrorism in Central Asia on International Peace and Security
The drug war is a raging battle in the Central Asian region. Illicit substances are being smuggled from Afghanistan, fuelling the terrorist groups in the Middle East. There is an increasing circulation of drug money that is sure to cripple the peace and security of the people living in the affected areas. There is a huge disregard for human life as many families, children and women are caught in the crossfire of the drug lords. The young men in such communities are consequently forced into a life of drugs by their families to be able to sustain them and to similarly fall in the good graces of those that rule the streets in hell fire and brimstones. Families of famous terrorists are sustained by the money acquired through narcotics trade. Its a never ending cycle that only ensures terrorism continues to thrive and to enforce control in the area.
ICJ — Hypothetical Scenario
Solely centred on a humanitarian environmental crisis, the ICJ debate highlighted the theme of the year inspired by SDGs 6 and 13. The ICJ Committee did not certainly experience a walk in the in park. Navigating through a cluster of information to get a grasp on the refugee laws was a challenge the delegates embraced. The debate strongly featured refugee laws. Since 2015, millions of refugees seeking protection have fled war and violent prone areas. The state of the environment is often ignored. Over 700,000 life jackets have been left on the coastline and landfills. Pollution, deforestation, de-vegetation and irreparable degradation.
The effects go both ways. The impact of environmental deterioration on the refugees themselves is intense. Low-quality water affects the health of large numbers of people, in a situation where there is a high risk of infectious diseases multiplying rapidly.
ILC — The ban or regulation of lethal autonomous weapons
Autonomous weapons are technologies such as drones, tanks and machinery controlled by a computer run on artificial intelligence systems and programmed to attack targets without human control. At a UN level 28 governments are demanding a ban, while China, Israel and the UK are racing to develop autonomous weaponry.
There is a visible stale mate as Nations are not in a unified agreement on the way forward. This has created a delay in the legal framework and laws that can regulate further production. If there isn’t a concrete law put in place, the future of the international community will be in for a rude shock as weapons with more advanced technology will continue being produced and used unregulated.
Every Global Village is like confetti floating in the air in slow motion, in the evening it reaches the ground and you hope a bit of wind could blow on it so it could fly a bit longer, and this year’s was no exception. Culture and diversity graced the United Nations Halls as various delegates and other members went all out in bold prints, colors and styles. The African nation was especially proudly represented by a large majority. You could not help but be simply blown away as they interacted with each other, a vision of the hope that we all hold,for a united community with strong peaceful intentions towards each other.
The Committees did not fall short of splendour as they performed their own composition of songs, dances, plays and skits to drive home the message their committee represented. It was especially beautiful as a violin and guitar instrumental took the breathe of the audience in a symphony of tunes. The SOCHUM Committee raised their flag high with the best performance of the day inspired by the LGBTQ community. In an entrancing performance, the crowd was up on their feet joining in, in their song.
Flowers and notes of gratitude and compassion dominated a better part of the day, as the Valentine week went on. Different delegates appreciated each other in a display of red roses and warm smiles all around the room. To preserve the memories of the day the Communications Bureau took charge of capturing photographs of the various outfits and displays of affection. It was truly one for the books.
As delineated in the Charter of the United Nations, the function of the General Assembly is to discuss, debate, and make recommendations on subjects pertaining to international peace and security, including development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the peaceful arbitration of disputes between . According to experts the resolutions read out are legally non-binding, however some matters such as the budgetary discussions are binding.
As the reality of the final conference dawned on us, there was a tangible dusky mood with a scent of sunshine in the atmosphere. The committees gathered to read out their resolution papers which were impressively prepared by the delegates.
The nature of the conference was fully felt as the committees and delegates extended feedback on the proceedings of the week. Followed by a heartfelt appreciation from Sharon Aduda, the outgoing PGA.
To say the moment was crowned by our guests of honour, would be to rob the hour of its glory. In a standing ovation they were ushered in to the General Assembly. Michelle Akwe, president of the Council of representatives eloquently introduced United Nations Information Centre Director, Nasser Ega Musa, who went on to give a briefly worded but informative statement regarding the guest speaker Barry, regional director of the International Civil Aviation Organization of the UN (ICAO). Barry Kashambo, began in a light hearted moment of modesty as he accused Nasser for giving him undeserved praise.
However, a man of his accolades certainly deserves such. He began by mentioning his field of work and his background. The aviation industry is the safest and most dangerous mode of transportation for the global community, as it is prone to transmission of diseases from a nation to another. An aeronautical engineer by profession, he echoed his journey as a young 18 year old boy interested in the UN. Years later, through a newspaper Ad, he saw his name all over a certain job as he had attained every requirement needed.
Having resided in Nairobi for over 37 years, he has seen the city regenerate itself to what it is right now. And as the UN headquarters for East Africa were moved to Nairobi, it only served as a stepping stone for the greater good.
He went on to highlight the 4 fundamental areas he believes are the foundation of the United Nations,which include Global Security, Climate change, Governance, and Welfare which is concerned with health and education.
Life is like a drop in the ocean, the time we have is limited on earth, and thus we have to take care of it, as it has taken care of us from eons on.
They left, as they came in honor and grace. As the day winded on, the best delegates, commissioners, teams, committee and position papers were awarded as they stood out among their peers.
National Secretariat Elects
There was almost not a dry eye In the room as the outgoing National Secretariat gracefully handed over their seats to a new team. The new team includes the following ;
- Secretary General as Sum Jeff,
- Deputy Secretary General as Jael Marere,
- President of the General Assembly as Elsie candy,
- President of International Law Commission as Sam,
- PICJ as Sydney
- Communications as Mustaqim Quadir,
- Finance is Michelle Akwe and the
- chief of staff is Nasrudin.
From the beginning to the very end, it was an experience to be remembered, as a delegate pointed out at the end ‘This has reminded why I chose law in the first place, why I am even pursuing a degree, It seems I had forgotten the fire’. If that’s not a success, then I don’t know what it is.
Kenya Model United Nations 2020. Forward oh Hail!