Debating on a broad topic is always a tough task and that is exactly what the ECOSOC delegates took upon themselves. Initially, even though lacking the ideal depth in arguments, the second day opened to much more comprehensive sessions which showed how these delegates have really grown in one day. The effect of such a broad topic is that it gives too much freedom, not necessarily bad, for delegates to explore various sections within it, and it is only understood that there cannot be ‘in-depth’ discussions on topics such as climate change, energy security, renewable energy, vulnerability, influence of conflicts, demographic issues, genetically modified organisms, supply side and demand side economic policy, knowledge transfer, public-private partnerships and so much more, which are all very relevant to the general topic of “rising food prices and food security”, in just two days. Quite to the surprise of many, the delegates did, I would say, to the best of their potential.
The Russian delegate took the floor to advocate high yielding and regionally specific crops which he also said could be complimented by a ‘Big Data’ initiative. Today’s data collecting and data processing technologies are already used in many agriculture related projects and this point being discussed in the committee should be commended. Germany and Sweden were prompt to urge for more comprehensive research in this regard which was followed by the delegate of Greece raising a point regarding the ‘nutritional security’ if and when these seeds are used.
Pakistan turned the focus towards empowering the rural farmer and providing the support needed in making sure that their livelihoods are sustainable. There were no disagreements in this regard and in contrast a variety of schemes to support this claim were discussed. Argentina proposed a high involvement of NGOs and pressure groups, Afghanistan was advocating micro finance, Canada wanted to work towards diversifying income sources, Russia and Australia suggested price controls such as a maximum price scheme in regard of food prices, and Italy made a very relevant claim regarding women empowerment. It is understood that each of these claims are very much in line of empowering the rural sector so it was inspiring to see many proposals to support such an important cause.
The delegate of Afghanistan was a true voice for the developing nation states as throughout the two days he argued on the risks of MNC dominance in small foreign economies. This did lead to a constructive debate as Russia stood on its claim that MNCs increased the money supply and boosted the circular flow of income which the delegate argued that these countries need. Later the house agreed on the requirement of capacity building through the means proposed by Palestine; IGOs and NGOs. South Africa and Germany were first to support this claim. This idea was further improved by suggestions such as involving institutions like the BRICS bank for financing, and the need for IGOs and NGOs to collaborate in this effort.
The important issue of “accessibility” was brought out by Afghanistan to which the delegate proposed using sub-urban development as an answer. Empowering the local retailer is in fact an important policy in making sure the rural areas are food secure. Even though the house did not discuss about ‘how’ to empower the local retailer it was a positive sign that this was brought up. Russia too added to this by proposing that farmers sell within the local markets which I believe is a good policy initiative. It is my opinion that “accessibility” was not given much prominence by the delegates but I believe them touching on areas such as regulating middlemen, efficient stockpiling and price controls made up for that fact.
The house also discussed areas of; awareness through social media, educating farmers as a supply side policy, privatization of state enterprises for efficiency, depletion of fish stocks and biological pest control, before going in to un-moderated caucus which led to a surprise on its own.
The un-moderate session in the ECOSOC was able to impress the head table, third party observers (me) and even veteran MUNers. This was simply by the fact that we saw energized lobbying, unity in policy making, compromises being made, ideas being shaped, devolution of responsibility and mainly contributions by ‘every’ delegate that was present. This led to the formation of well rounded directives which the ECOSOC can be proud of.
The change and progress of these individuals would not have been possible if not for motivation, courage and of course guidance. In regard of these factors I would like to highly commend the head table for their conduct. Avinash Jayasekara and Saritha Irugalbandara chaired the committee and were a big part of the positive NYMUN experience of all ECOSOC delegates.
Well Done ECOSOC of the NYMUN 2016.
The International Cauldron will be publishing a separate write up on the resolutions passed at the committee