Our WorldMUN 2015 Experiences in Seoul

One City, a conference of 6 days, with participants from 118 different countries, in total 2,500 students made this a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. What we […]

One City, a conference of 6 days, with participants from 118 different countries, in total 2,500 students made this a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What we experienced between the flight to South Korea on the 13th of March and the end of conference on the 20th is hard to put into just a few words. We have to mention the conference itself with the committee sessions, the speeches we gave, the unofficial negotiations in the hallways we took part in, the delegates from more than 100 different countries that we met, the huge amount of experience we gained while representing Algeria in such few days. And also we would have to write about the incredible hosting country Korea and hosting university Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and everything they did to turn this week into the great week it was. The opening and closing ceremony with the interesting speeches of national Korean politicians, the performances of many different Korean acts, from the known K-Pop Gangnam style to more traditional fan performance. The indescribable amount and locations of every evening’s social event from the Global village at the Hankuk university, the roaring party-streets of Hongdae to the floating island for the farewell-party.

With the following remarks, we would like to give an overview over the committees we attended, the topics that were discussed and the experiences we gained.

DISEC (Disarmament and International Security), the First Committee of the UN and the largest committee of the conference with more than 170 countries represented, discussed the topic of cyber security and cyber warfare. Since these are issues the UN does not have a long history with, the committee had to start at very basic discussion points, like finding definitions for crucial concepts such as cyber warfare, cyber terrorism and cyber defence. The committee also had to come to terms with the problem that international law, developed in the context of conventional warfare, does not seamlessly adapt to cyberspace. Our delegates Hendrik Damerow and Johannes Klemm worked together with a core group of African and Arab states, focussing on precise definitions, translating the concept of state sovereignty into cyberspace and addressing the needs of developing countries. The resulting draft resolution was promising and had considerable support, but was not even voted on – one bloc of countries managed to strategically change the order in which the drafts were voted on just minutes before the end of the session.

This year a very essential topic namely Violence Against Women has been discussed in SOCHUM (the Third Committee of the UN: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

Our „Algerian“ delegates Maria Mazur and Polina Sulima worked in close cooperation with the delegates from Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa and Australia. Together we tried to push forward the resolution that we created with the support of 48 countries. It has been a week of learning to be a diplomat; filled with discussions, negotiations and scrutinizing diverse country-positions on this issue. While trying hard to negotiate the wording of working papers and draft resolutions, we came to understand how much effort must be put in to reach a compromise and find a common language in the diplomatic environment. Apart from exploring the world of international politics, we, as the delegates, had a unique opportunity to take a new look at the policies of single countries, thus discovering those new ones we do not represent or personally belong to. It goes without saying, that such a huge committee served as a perfect platform for having fun, exchanging cultures and getting to know bright young minds from all over the world!

The High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was a single-delegate committee and the quorum consisted of approximately 125 countries. The MDGs consist of eight different goals with 18 special targets. The thematic range included the fight against poverty, gender equality, environmental sustainability and many more very interesting and important issues. The year 2015 is the benchmark year, in which the United Nations will review the successes and failures of each and every single goal in all the member states. The committee’s main topic consisted of discussing the successes and failures of the previous MDGs and in the end we had to come to a resolution, which contained suggestions on how to face the problems and challenges of a post-2015 development agenda.

Because of the broad thematic perspective, the committee needed to first decide on how to approach this broad topic. Slowly but surely the delegates discussed each goal separately, until the first working papers, containing suggestions, approaches and goals for a post-2015 development agenda, were on the floor. Peer Rieck, our delegation’s representative, started to work and cooperate with the African block early on and the cooperation continued until the very end. During the sessions, further developing and transitioning countries joined our group and we were able to present a draft resolution in cooperation with a small number of industrialized nations. With approximately 60 signatories, our draft resolution turned out to be the strongest draft of all three draft resolutions on the floor. In the last session on Friday morning, the amendments were voted upon and our resolution passed with a very high majority.

The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) belongs to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The committee dealt with the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) which is the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Because 2015 is the benchmark year for all MDGs, the CDP had to look deeper into how much progress has been realized based on the standards set for extreme poverty and hunger to conclude how a post-2015 development agenda could look like. The CDP consisted of 24 member states with two delegates per country. Right from the beginning Laura Berger and Julia Maxein were holding speeches, connecting with states like Botswana, Burundi, China, Pakistan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the first days the committee discussed mainly the definition of poverty, new problems that have arrived during the past battle against it and a future path to fight the root of extreme poverty and hunger. Due to the good preparation and the successful networking within the CDP, Laura and Julia could yield the points of Algeria very well. On Thursday the committee had submitted two draft resolutions to the chair, which were merged in the end. Laura and Julia are proud about providing important points towards the final resolution and developing the entire Preamble together with Pakistan. It passed with unanimous majority.

In addition to the bodies of the United Nations, some special summits were also held at the conference. In the African Union (AU), Jena’s delegates Jördis Waak and Mariella Loock represented Algeria’s interests and discussed the topic of „Education in Africa“. They had a constant and fruitful debate with other 53 African countries. Since Algeria is one of the wealthier countries in the AU and also maintains friendly relationships to all members, they had a good starting point to emphasize Algeria’s positions through several speeches. Afterwards, they concentrated on writing a draft resolution in close cooperation with Sudan, Chad and Tunisia. The previous formulated material was very useful, the effort turned out well and a lot of ideas were accepted. The most exciting moment happened on Friday: two draft resolutions were submitted to the chair and nobody seemed to be sure about the outcome of the voting. Finally the resolution at which Algeria participated was accepted – what an incredible feeling after all those days of hard word.

In addition to the conference, two amazing trips were organized on Wednesday afternoon. Delegates could choose between a trip to the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea and a trip to the Gyeongbokgung Palace to see some traditional Korean heritage.

Jena’s delegation is proud to have participated in such a great conference and to have experienced such a great outcome. In all committees, the delegates were able to have a significant impact on the discussions and to put forth their opinion which in many cases led to great influence on the passed resolutions. 2015 can absolutely be called a successful year!