Behind-the-Scenes of ILYMUN: MUN club at the CSI
A Model UN Club has been held at the Cité Scolaire Internationale of Lyon for many years. Students get together every Thursday, after school, to debate various topics, often inspired by ongoing events. Ranging from a motion on measures to protect forests, in light of the Australian bushfires, to resolutions on the refugee crisis, students are brought to confront ideas in a setting imitating a United Nations assembly.
Participating in the MUN Club is necessary before ILYMUN, in order to practice debating and speaking in front of a committee with ease. Each delegate can choose beforehand the country they will represent, and therefore anticipate their arguments in favor or against the discussed motion. In fact, the motion of the week is posted on social media a few days in advance, thus facilitating the preparation of any innovative ideas and examples to support them.
Each session lasts an hour, giving enough time for points of information (i.e. asking for clarifications, questioning the validity of an argument, etc.) and the submission of amendments. The discussion is led and overseen by the chairs, two students who guide the course of the debate, a role that they will have during ILYMUN as well.
Now let’s take an example from one of the most recent debates, on January 9th. Due to a large of number of delegates, the group was split into two committees, in order to let everyone take the floor. The motion was:
In the light of increased wildfires, notably the current Australian bushfires and wildfires in the Amazon Forest in August of last year, this house urges all member states to:
- Expand protected forest areas by 5% by 2022
- Better the response to these fired through the creation of a UN firefighter brigade and a world ‘fire fund’ to centralize donations
- Regulate and enforce the strategic planning of deforestation in aim of lessening the creation of dry arid land, vulnerable to wildfires
- Recognize climate change as the main cause of these fires and encouraging countries to enforce more environmentally conscious policies.
This motion was particularly relevant that week, as the bushfires in Australia kept increasing and threatening inhabited areas. Brazil was the first delegation to take the floor, arguing that these measures had good intentions but would greatly restrict its economy, largely based on the exploitation of land and forests. However, among the delegates in favor of the motion, New Zealand explained that the country was often impacted by fires, and their tourism was highly affected by these natural risks. They urged all delegates to vote in favor of the motion. The delegate of Israel agreed by pointing out that these measures were achievable and mentioned the importance of a centralized UN fund, in order to protect all forests. Finally, the United States submitted an amendment to remove the final point of the motion, that recognized climate change as the main cause of the fires, and defended the invalidity of this argument. The amendment didn’t pass, but the session ended with the majority of the house voting in favor of the resolution.
This is just an illustration of what happens weekly at the CSI’s Model United Nations Club. Its members are greatly invested in the debates, and can indeed prepare for the ILYMUN Conference. Therefore, students are able to educate each other, take initiative and reflect on the most relevant political, social, economic and environmental topics that affect today’s world.