Invicta Mini Model United Nations (MUN) Debate
Student Emily Read sent us this report:
“On the morning of 1 February, students from Aylesford, Offham, Loose and Lunsford Primary Schools attended the Invicta Mini Model United Nations (MUN) debate. The primary school students collaborated with Invicta students to debate on the topic of ‘Life Below Water’, one of the UN’s 17 global goals for sustainable development. The opening speech highlighted the problems many nations face in terms of aquaculture, such as pollution, the extinction of marine species, and the death of coastal ecosystems. The dangers posed by global warming were also stressed by the chairs. The resolution was then presented to the delegations, with 5 articles concerning the protection of the oceans. These included the proposal for the proper treatment of sewage, asked for financial and construction aid from richer nations for less developed nations to ensure UN aquatic standards are met, requested countries that create manmade aquatic disasters to pay for the damage and asked countries with marine borders to dedicate 5% of their GDP to aid the conservation of marine species. The final article asked that countries to be advocated for responsible aqua-tourism through education and/or fines.
After the opening speech and a reminder of the official procedures, delegations had the time to lobby with the other delegations, form alliances and develop their stance on the articles presented to them. We were pleased to see all delegations getting involved and communicating with other countries to ensure they had a strong opinion and presence for the coming debate.
The delegation of South Africa were the first brave students to start off the debate on Article 1. After their stance, the debate quickly got under way with students representing France and the United States expressing their opinions and the delegation of India proposing the first amendment. India and Russia chose to combine their amendments, as the proposal of incremental change (India) seemed to fit in with Russia’s proposal that each nation receive financial aid from the UN and the World Bank. This amendment was then seconded by China, France and Iran. This amendment was then voted on, and with an 8 to 1 majority, the amendment passed. The vote for the first article also passed with the same 8 to 1 majority.
The debate on Article 1 allowed the students to get a feel for how the debate worked. Therefore, Article 2 was discussed with more confidence. Delegations such as Australia and Iran were able to make their voice heard where they previously had not done, with China and Australia both proposing amendments. Both amendments passed, meaning that economically advanced countries providing aid should be in the G7 and that voluntary aid was to be given by more advanced nations.
Article 3 was highly controversial to many countries, as it meant that their own nation would have to pay for any manmade marine disasters. India proposed an amendment that almost all delegations agreed with, stating that the company that caused the disaster would be held responsible rather than the country. India’s amendment passed with all delegations voting in favour of it.
The chairs then changed a rule of procedure, stating that countries could now make as many amendments as they wished, rather than the previous rule which restricted delegations to only two amendments throughout the entire debate. This allowed for more opinions to be expressed by the delegations, and gave them more material to bring to the debate, which all students took in their stride.
The new rule of procedure made the discussion on Article 4 all the more lively as all delegations expressed their views. It seemed that most delegations disagreed with the article, stating that the 5% of their GDP was far too high to dedicate to conservation efforts. However, Australia seemed to feel the exact opposite, as they stated that 5% was too little, justifying this with the fact that much of their income comes from tourism around the Great Barrier Reef. Iran proposed an amendment stating that the percentage should be proportionate to their GDP. The USA responded by amending the article to a 0.1% contribution, with Russia then proposed that the percentage should be lowered to 0.01%. Article 4, a clarification amendment from China and Russia’s amendment all passed.
As the debate came to a close with the final article being discussed and the final vote on the resolution, we can truly say that we were very impressed with the contribution of all students, especially those from primary schools, as they fully complied with the rules of procedure and threw themselves into the debate. All articles debated were done so with enthusiasm, and each article was amended in the spirit of UN cooperation, so much so that the resolution was voted in favour for by each delegation. Their professionalism and dedication made this year’s Mini MUN a great experience for everyone involved, and therefore we would like to thank them for their participation.”
Thank you to Mrs Ricks and Miss Laming, who have been working so hard with the preparation and planning the preparation days as well as today’s event.