By Michael Omondi
On Saturday 10th March 2018, we had our first Mock Debate for the annual SAIMUN conference. The mock debate was held at Riara University, Nairobi. The turn out was what the team had anticipated and planned for which was exciting. However, it was noted that the high school students outnumbered the university students by far with participants from schools such as Mary Hill School, Sunshine School, Alliance School and Jaffrey’s School. Hopefully, the university students will take this as a challenge and show up in large numbers for the next debate.
There were no prior talks by different speakers as the organizing team felt that at times this tended to consume too much time so the committee sessions kicked off as soon as the delegates arrived. This was made easier by the fact that country allocations had been done prior to the debate. The sessions started as soon as delegates were given their placards and the committees that were in place included SOCHUM, UNHCR, UNEP and UNESCO. The committee chairs took it upon themselves to train the delegates on the rules of procedure and everything pertaining to a Model United Nations deliberation. The delegates proved to be very fast in grasping the rules of procedures and at the end of the training, the committee chairs were very impressed.
The UNEP committee discussed the agenda item: addressing pollution globally by reducing Carbon Emissions from Industries and improving hazardous waste management and disposal to reduce the national and global impact. This topic proved to be controversial because it was agreed that stopping Carbon emissions is not an easy task and because most industries emit Carbon emissions and couldn’t sustain themselves without the very activities that cause carbon emissions. Stopping Carbon emissions will mean closing shop for most if not all of them. However, the environment has been affected as a result of pollution and carbon emissions have been a major factor. The delegates agreed, in the end, the carbon emissions have an adverse effect on the environment and alternative sources of energy were strongly and repeatedly mentioned such as wind and solar.
UNESCO committee discussed: the implementation of education for sustainable development and ensuring equal access to education for all women and girls. It was agreed that excluding women and girls is equivalent to playing with half of the team and educating girls and women is equivalent to educating the whole society. Giving women and girls equal opportunities was implied to be an imperative and affirmative action which should be implemented anywhere and everywhere and at all times.
UNHCR was tasked with discussing: the situation in refugee camps; ensuring security and preventing radicalization. It was held by various delegates that the refugees need security in their various camps as they are prone to violence from all walks be it the locals or other belligerents. On the issue of radicalization it was agreed that it needs to be looked at objectively because even though there has been evidence proving that the aspect of radicalization is happening there has also been blanket condemnation of the same and it was agreed that the research should be more objective and scientific in making informed decisions and opinions on the same. It was also concluded that there should be policies and measures in place to prevent the reported cases of radicalization and the insecurities they face.
SOCHUM discussed the role of the UN in promoting development internationally through agreed development goals including SDGs. The delegates focused mainly on Sustainable Development Goals and it was felt that all SDGs were important and none super ceded the other and therefore the UN should strive to ensure that each country achieves the SDGs.
In UNEP Norway and Angola were recognized as the best delegates. Oman and Azerbaijan were best delegates for UNHCR, India and Sri Lanka for UNESCO and Norway and Ireland for SOCHUM. The above delegates were recognized due to the fact they were conversant with their countries position on the issue, good research and good articulation of issues. The SAIMUN team concluded UNHCR to be the best committee as it was lively and there was great participation.