This article highlights the proceedings of the EU and ECOSOC during the second half of today.
What happened in the EU?
In the second half of the day the committee continued with the moderated caucus discussion, and it was great to see more delegates becoming engaged in the committee procedures.
The discussion included;
Whether voluntary quotas for refugees are more viable [UK/Greece] than a compulsory quota system based on GDP/population proportionality [Hungary].
The status of detention centers, with Denmark highlighting their importance and Croatia equating them to prisons.
Also, the IPC was pleased when the debate shifted away from refugees coming from the Middle East, and discuss the plight of African refugees, with Bulgaria proposed to increasing funding to African countries. Bulgaria and the Netherlands also stated the importance of improving the conditions of refugee camps in countries closer to the refugees’ home countries, as it would deter refugees from attempting to take the arduous journey to Europe. The delegates should discuss further the practicality of such a proposal further.
One issue that could have been addressed was addressing the psychological needs of the refugees.
Also there were some xenophobic comments flying around with Slovakia stating that it’s people would never accept Muslims, Poland stating that it would only accept Christian refugees. Also, Greece stated that Bulgaria was a «poor country» – quite a statement to make given that Greece has been bailed out by the EU on several occasions.
The IPC would also like to commend the EU Head Table of both Committees and the Deputy Secretary General for encouraging the delegates to talk and motivating them. All in all, the IPC was please on the improvements made, but would encourage the delegates to move away from stating parables, and instead come up concrete proposals to solve the issue during tomorrow resolution writing.
What happened in ECOSOC?
The Second session of the ECOSOC added on to the progress made earlier during the day when the delegates continued debating on a vast area of moderated caucus topics. Taking the African region to focus, the delegate of Palestine suggested using trading blocs as a measure to address financial issues in these countries. This was criticized by Russia which argued that trade blocs would not address the persisting issues. This argument was backed by a bold statement by the Russian delegate when he states that “The EU has failed” as a trading bloc with reference to addressing the matter at hand. The delegate of Afghanistan joined Russia and provided a perhaps realistic perspective of a developing country, and stated that the African countries could not afford to be members of a trading bloc. Once again it was observed that there was lack of participation from the delegates of the African region whose opinion would have made the matter more prominent.
Delegates continued their flow of addressing key issues such as Pakistan pointing out the importance of the disputed region of Kashmir as an agricultural territory and Canada pointing out water scarcity which was overlooked until that point of time.
The highlight of the second session was the moderate caucus topic raised by the Russian Federation; debate of ‘food vs fuel’, the wastage of agricultural lands for bio fuel. Delegates of Russia, Afghanistan and Palestine were quick to argue against countries with prominent bio fuel policies, mainly the US. The Head Table took steps to get a guest delegate to represent the US as there was no in house representation at the time. The guest delegate gallantly defended its country’s policies on bio fuel and suggested that it was a better option thinking of it in terms of a alternate fuel source. It would have been ideal if a designated US delegate was present at the ECOSOC committee as it would have led to a more in depth representation of policy which covered the advantages of bio fuel such as it being safer, biodegradable, renewable and producing less emissions; as these are the characteristics with which the US justifies its policy. However with delegates of Australia, the UK and Italy also speaking, on a much neutral stance, the topic was wrapped up by surely energizing the committee floor.
The delegates later turned their focus towards Genetically Modified Organisms and its impact on the agricultural sector and the society as a whole. The Russian delegate voiced concerns on GMOs and was supported by Sweden in their claims. Argentina however took the role to reassure the committee that GMOs do provide a reliable way out from the existing food crisis. The delegate of Argentina justified his claims by pointing out the 20-year experience of using GMOs in the country. The South African delegate added to this assuring statement by stating the country’s ‘Pro-GMO’ policies.
All in all, the IPC congratulates the ECOSOC Head Table for its conduct and the delegation for really raising the bar in MUN debates.
EU and ECOSOC temporarily unite!
The ECOSOC Committee was invited for an inter committee debated with the EU of the NYMUN by the Deputy Secretary General, to discuss the relationship between the EU refugee crisis and regional food and nutrition security. The combination of the two committees had the potential to spark a series prolonged debated but it was observed that this opportunity was not fully grasped by the delegates. The Russian delegate was quick to voice his opinion during the inter-committee debate when he questioned the policies of the EU in terms of securing access to food to the migrants to the region. Austria did label the Russian involvement in Syria as a contributory factor to the migrant crisis and raised a point that Russia is not ready to accept any migrants. An important remark for the IPC was when the German delegation framed its migrant policy on ‘Humanitarian’ terms. Taking a subjective stance in this regard we strongly believe that it is not mere humanity that drives the migrant policy but the deepening demographic threats faced by the German working force. Further the delegation took the opportunity to advocate the EU states signing the TTIP.
On a final note, it may be true that such an inter-committee, let alone an inter-organization session is highly unlikely to occur in the real world, we believe that this is what MUN is all about – thinking outside the box and take pro-active initiatives to solve the world pressing issues. After all, today’s MUN delegates may very much become the Diplomats of tomorrow – and transpose these ideas into the real world.
By Ramesh Ganohariti and Raveen Ubeysekera