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21.11.2020 - Day II
Exactly as expected in a Jedi council meeting, opinions of the member delegations in NATO were divided on whether to use peace, or intimidation to ensure security in outer space. Pulling the metaphor further, indeed most of the committee was in support of peace co-operations with non-NATO members, while namely the delegate from the United States played Skywalker’s emotional role and thrive for blood. That was further supported by the Italian and the Polish delegates, also known as R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Walking into uncharted grounds of war, in the darkness of space, NATO members seemed to be lost on agreeing to an optimal strategy that would ensure both their national and space securities simultaneously. Would launching more satellites into space increase vulnerable targets for the enemy, or would it entail a backup network system in times of aggression? Would the intimidation of placing weapons, militarily-equipped satellites, or even laser-shooting spacecrafts in space force non-NATO countries to defer war, or would it invoke them to launch their own arsenals up there as well? What would happen if Russia or China acquire enough space military power while NATO being peaceful, taking the ‘let’s all hold hands together’ approach, as the Polish delegate called it?
In attempts to reaffirm the possibility of having peaceful space co-operations, the delegate of Norway used the International Space Station (ISS) as a 20-year-old live example, while the Greek delegate tried to remind the opposing parties that American astronauts are regularly launched from Russian space bases. Soundly, although being a long-term friend to Uncle Sam, the delegate of UK seemed to be leading the calls for peaceful stances on the matter. Meanwhile, the delegate of the USA, after taking a history detour through the country’s cold war with Russia, allegedly shamed the UK for calling for space cooperation, reminding them of the consequences of their last world-war cooperation with Nazi Germany. Will ground-based allies differ from space-based ones? This and more will follow soon.
- Pavly Nashed
NATO Space Strategist: ‘NATO has no intention to put weapons into space’
Through an interesting 1-hour speech by the NATO Space/Cyberspace Strategist & Space Weapons Officer, Lt. Col. Henry Heren, several topics formerly discussed by the BIMUN’s NATO delegations were hit head-on. According to Mr. Heren, NATO Leaders recognized back in 2018 that space is ‘a highly dynamic, rapidly evolving area’ which is ‘essential for the Alliance’s security,’ that motivated the addition of space as NATO’s 5th domain less than a year ago.
However, the addition of this domain did not accompany the launch, or even the intention to have, NATO-owned space assets. The overarching policy called for the usage of the current capabilities of the member nations, with these nations ‘retaining full control on their owned assets,’ a point that was reaffirmed several times by the committee’s guest speaker.
To an inquiry to the added value of such kind of sharing to the member countries, Mr. Heren highlighted the importance of a common defense. ‘One of the easiest ways to protect your satellites is to ensure that the surrounding satellites are safe,’ said Mr. Heren. ‘If there are to be debris (coming from destruction of satellites), everyone will have to deal with that.’ A reply that seemed to startle the delegate of the USA who was seeking support on his demand to have ‘more say’ since the USA has ‘more capabilities.’ The NATO Space Strategist also assured that smaller countries with no space assets do have a say on the table of the consensus-based NATO.
‘The utility approach’ of NATO when it comes to space, however, was a core part of the speech. That was the first part of the guest speaker’s answer when was asked about the hot topics of current concern in regards to Space Defense in NATO. Between NATO having ‘no intention to put weapons into space,’ and ‘no single NATO operation happens without space,’ the newly established space domain seems to be more of a utility to the other domains than an independent one. According to Mr. Heren, a question that is being implicitly discussed at this point is: ‘what does it actually mean for NATO to have a space domain?’ It is hoped that the current BIMUN’s NATO committee will finally give an answer to this.
- Pavly Nashed
Yet again nuclear energy is a power source of controversy
Australia has found perhaps an unlikely partner in Russia when promoting nuclear energy as the solution to battle desertification. Other western powers, such as Member States from the European Union, do not follow Australia in this approach and come up with their own initiatives such as solar and wind energy. They promote their ideas as a more sustainable approach. This is countered by Australia with the argument that nuclear energy is far more reliable. However, the question remains what the African countries who actually struggle with this issue have to say.
Generally, they seem to be in favor of a collective of multiple solutions, some of them also smaller and most importantly more local initiatives. Especially the delegate of Sudan has repeatedly voiced their enthusiasm for more support for local projects. The issue of desertification is indeed complex and will most certainly need a wide range of measures to tackle every single aspect of it. This is clearly illustrated in the answer that was received when asking the delegate of Nigeria what she had to say about the current developments in the UNCCD committee: “With an economy closely tied to oil and gas exports, Nigeria has tirelessly worked towards greater diversification of our energy sources, ranging from more traditional gas power systems, to renewable energy mechanisms, such as hydro, solar, wind, biomass and nuclear sources. Whilst we are therefore considering nuclear sources as a viable alternative, we also believe that sustainable farming, local and community-based initiatives as well as climate change actions are of primary importance to fight desertification.”
So, all in all we can conclude that that single approach solutions like nuclear energy are not necessarily met with disapproval, like this quote form the delegate of Benin shows: “The delegate of Benin is aware that the UNCCD's first priority is to reduce LLD induced migration by improving local living conditions. This can be best done by providing economic stability and prosperity. Nuclear energy can be a good tool to achieve that without producing putting out more carbon emissions. Benin is open to the idea, though wants to stress that nuclear use must be limited to civilian and non-military programs.”
However, the African countries have a wide range of ideas they want to see discussed and implemented.
- Lorencia Poçi
UNSCW: Is the offer of virtual support to domestic violence victims effective?
Domestic Violence is a problem that has always existed in many homes. Today, this problem has only increased as the sanitary measures and contingencies continue to be present in many nations worldwide.
In the UNCSW, the delegates have a long way to go before settling a solution that brings benefits and especially reachable help to the victims.
Domestic Violence requires a lot of attention from the countries, and even though solutions have been proposed and implemented, the reality is that now the circumstances have changed which makes it even more complicated to reach the victims. COVID-19 has questioned the capacity of health and social services to identify and assist victims of domestic violence, in addition to aggravating fear, anxiety, financial stress, and alcohol consumption. In response, countries are putting solutions in place to offer support and safety. On one side delegates have to think about the sanitary measures of each of their countries. On the other side, they have to think of a solution that respects these measures, without compromising the health of others.
Increases in domestic violence have been well reported during crisis periods. However, with fewer than 40% of women who report abuse seeking some support or reporting the incident, wide underreporting has made reaction and data gathering a challenge. Less than 10% of those women who do seek help go to the police. The delegates of the UNSCW were discussing the best ways to offer support to the victims of survivor infrastructure in these difficult times. Many delegates proposed ideas that have worked for the nations in the past, although the most relevant questions that were brought up during the session were: Is the virtual support offer to the victims as efficient as other support systems? Are helplines accessible for all women? Is it better to resort to shelters? Or is the implementation of laws the solution?
- Angélica Marisol Villarreal D.
We have Hong Kong why do we need Canton?
With questions like this the British Empire heads into an important discussion.
How should military operations continue to be handled? What steps must be taken to ensure that the interests of the British Empire are upheld? What roles do the other powers also involved in the Second Opium War play? These are all difficult decisions that need to be made as soon as possible. The situation is critical. All delegates involved are urged to find a sustainable solution as soon as possible. Because of that, the picture that can be seen at the beginning of the debate is surprising. It takes too long for individual delegates to get into debate properly. Although time is pressing, there’s is a long shortage of concrete solutions. Nevertheless, the post man manages to loosen up the mood in between with his musical contributions which are actually quite good. What a blessing! To several problems, a certain delegate continually has an answer: “Gun boat diplomacy!” After a rough start the delegation of the British Empire manages to offer excellent solutions. To push the legalization of opium, an offer to the Americans is discussed which we will surely hear more about. In addition, a crisis has primarily found itself routed in Central India, with smaller states officially declaring that the British cannot remain in control. They have managed to turn many of the local Bengal army to their side, and Central India has been taken from British control. But the delegates manage to cooperate with Nepalese officials. The debate is heating up! Let’s stay tuned what’s going to happen during the following debates!
- Jana Döring
A too slow start, but slow and steady wins the race
Today is an important day for our glorious country. Today, our countries greatest minds and most important diplomats, royalty and military personnel started their conference on what to do on the question of the British conundrum. Our country is being ravaged by the addictive substance known as “Opium”. This dangerous poison of the mind is destroying the youths of our country. In his utmost brilliance, our glorious emperor decided to ban the consumption and possession of this most demonic substance. However, the British dogs still find ways to import it, from ways like a wine they call “laudanum”, to just the substance in its purest form.
The people of glorious China have called out to save us from this evil affliction and we must be ready to retaliate to the British. However, we have seen large problems within the discussion. Everything seems to be happening in backrooms, between columns and not in the open. Most of the public discussion was just organizational. On top of that, the Glorious commanders of our beautiful and huge military are surprisingly absent.
Near the end, we saw our glorious leaders truly coming together and work on common plans, let us hope they bring salvation to our people.
- Olivier Van Poppel
Interview with Doctor Seif Hamisi – Forest Landscape Restoration in Kenya
This afternoon, I had the chance to discuss with Dr. Seif Mutinda Hamisi, the speaker for the UNCCD Committee. He shared his ideas about deforestation and restoration in Africa with great sincerity.
Dr. Seif Hamisi is a specialist in natural resources management and community development in Kenya. He is currently the leader of a WWF project, the Forest Landscape Restoration in Africa. He lobbies and advocates the need to restore forest landscape in eight African countries, including Kenya.
During the interview, Dr. Hamisi has shown to be sincere, hopeful, and down-to-earth. His interest in the environment and restoration came from his experience as a child. He remembers when he was surrounded by large forests in his village, could still hear the sounds of animals, and crossed two rivers on his way to school. Therefore, during his childhood, he experienced what nature could offer. Unfortunately, he then saw the degradation of this natural abundance. These forests, animals, and sources of water have now disappeared. He dreams about filling this emptiness, hearing the forest bark again, and seeing the wildlife recover.
He believes that people have been cutting trees to be wealthier, but in fact, they are poorer without these trees and wildlife. Restoration is thus the foundation for bringing back the wildlife and rivers. Restoration also brings new economic opportunities, such as offering new jobs and growing fruits. Therefore, Dr. Hamisi gets the energy in his job through his hope of building a wealthy ecosystem again. To stop degrading the landscape, better management is now needed. For instance, schools could ensure that kids recognize and appreciate restoration. As he did when he was himself a student, children could grow trees before the start of the day at school. Nevertheless, not only should kids plant trees but also take care of them.
In his opinion, to reach this goal, policies are not enough. Indeed, adding continuously new policies will not overcome the challenge. What is truly required is deliberate actions. Leaders should say “enough talking, let’s go for it.” Although speaking about change is the first step, taking action for restoration is the most important move. This need for action thus explains the relevance of lobbying and advocacy in order to make leaders realize that restoration is needed for the country’s security and survival. Hopefully, in the next years, a leader will come with clear, deliberate actions and will understand how deforestation is linked to many policy fields. For instance, restoration should be considered when doing agriculture, enhancing livestock, constructing cities, and building roads. Restoration should be an agenda for Kenya. These moves would also prevent catastrophes, as conflicts, to take place.
When asked about his view of the future in twenty years, Dr. Hamisi presents two opposite views. On the one hand, if political leaders do not take some initiatives now, then the situation will worsen. There will be bigger fights for water, huge human conflicts about wildlife, global extinctions, and elephants will desperately be looking for water. On the other hand, if leaders act and follow Rwanda, there is an opportunity to recover wildlife, create jobs, grow fruits, improve farming, and the economy would hence strengthen.
In conclusion, people at the policy level should move to implement restoration, which will itself improve the national situation. Despite the current problems, Dr. Hamisi has hope for a more positive future. In the worst scenario, he will still be able to tell himself that he worked for a better future and did his best to have an impact. We, BIMUN participants, should keep in mind his message that leaders should be pragmatic and act before it is too late. Enough talking, taking action and getting results are what countries really need. As promised to Dr. Hamisi, I will visit him in Kenya in twenty years, and I hope to observe trees everywhere. See you in 2040 Dr. Hamisi, in a better future!
- Lora Gailly
How to rule the MUN: Secretary-General behind the scenes
As a Secretary-General, Glynn Cooreman knows how to get to grips with the MUN dynamics in the challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic. Her choice of committees was minimalist, yet not coincidental. The UN’s 75th anniversary marks the climacteric on the world stage, therefore, she admits, the real-life UN global consultations on the future of the UN inspired the selection of BIMUN topics. No matter where we live, our fears and hopes coincide. We hope for the improvement of access to basic services, for the proliferation of women’s rights and for settlement of conflicts. Simultaneously, we fear military and political frictions which are yet to come after the pandemic and climate changes. Amidst the current crisis, what we need is multilateralism and increased international solidarity as many of the BIMUN guest speakers emphasised. Hopefully, this is going to resonate in the committee resolutions, she adds.
When I ask Glynn about the real-life BIMUN editions, she wallows in nostalgia, recalling socials from the past, such as a gala party on the river in Bonn. Under the scenario of an online conference, she reduced the number of topics per committee from two to one and picked up an innovative Gatherly start-up for the spacial video platform. At the same time, she notes, the online conference setting makes it feasible to invite delegates and guest speakers from around the world. Who would have expected Dr Hamisi from Tanzania, Lt Col Heren from the US and Mrs Legowo-Zipperer from Indonesia on a university-level UN simulation had it not been in the proximity of their laptops. And there is more to be proud of - 33 nationalities across the delegations, while normally Glynn would have expected a few European nationals, with US exceptions, to come to Germany. To the MUN first-timers and beginners, she advises - do not lose the track of the social gatherings and opportunities. The delegates you make friendships with today can pay you a MUN visit tomorrow in another country. And when the pandemic situation is over you’ll find out how the MUN beau monde is all over the place and what were these friendships worth of. She does not stop just there and lists the positives of the MUNs in general and their practical use for career prospects. Confidence-building relevant for job interviews and recruitment fairs or lobbying important to build networking with future employers. But most of all being aware that you never can prepare yourself for everything and that you can speak to people you don’t know against the barriers.
In the end, the Secretary-General lets us into the more secret history of her MUN experience. Her most embarrassing punishment as a delegate was when she had to read out loud the washing machine instructions with an accompaniment of 1970s porn music. This turned out to be inspiring for her own punishment ideas later as a chair. Ultimately, her KULMUN 2019 closing speech memory comes flooding back. Glynn could feel all of her pressure relieved from her shoulders, then the tension eased with a bottle of whisky she had got from her fellow delegates-friends.
- Julia Perendyk
NATO: No lightsabers to be used today
After what had seemed to be the rise of the ‘dark side’ on the horizon earlier today, with allies temporarily sheathing their lightsabers, the presence of the guest speaker seemed to restore the ‘force’ in the universe. Russia and China, admittedly the Darth Vader’s to NATO members, can sleep tight tonight.
‘NATO has no intention to put weapons into space.’ With this remarkable statement in his speech, the NATO Space/Cyberspace Strategist, Mr. Henry Heren, destroyed the dreams of several delegates to launch laser-shooting spaceships into space. A topic that was heavily discussed earlier between the different members, with the delegate of the United States projecting the country’s history of mistrust and cold wars into the space arena. To that extent, several delegates were seeking a peaceful cooperation with the non-NATO countries, while suggesting ‘deterrence by denial’ to avoid possible conflicts.
Although no clear answer is yet provided on whether launching more satellites would give out more vulnerable targets to the adversaries, or rather ensure a firm backup network of satellites in times of aggression; the newly-adopted peaceful approach of the committee is pushing them to discuss possible cooperation with private and commercial companies. It seems that the bubble of trust now includes Elon Musk.
Will the committee be able to ensure security without invoking weaponization? Can a defense strategy be employed without signaling possible wars? While they have space, they don’t have much time, and the answer needs to be found soon!
Now that the sun has started to set, and darkness resurfaced, the committee got back to talking about defense in wars, and the extension of Art. 5 to space.
- Pavly Nashed
UNCSW: Introducing Dr. Ursula Sautter
The UNCSW committee had the unique chance to get into a deeper perspective of the urgent issue of GBV with Dr Ursula Sautter, whose lecture was, without any doubt, deeply inspiring and showed her tireless commitment addressed to the strengthening of women’s right.
Starting in the last years of her doctoral studies with an half-time position as an editorial assistant at the correspondent's office of the American TIME Magazine, she lately continued to work there after graduation as a Germany correspondent. 2012 marked a turning point in her life: also due to the difficult economic situation stemming from the 2008 crisis, Ursula Sautter decided to pause her journalistic career and to commit herself to the German association Hilfegardis.
A big change that mirrored the necessity to distance herself from the journalistic word and dedicate to the urgent issue of supporting women. What Dr Sautter wanted to highlight is the importance of the protection of women's rights, regardless of age, origin or social and ethnic background.
Hilfegardis association’s main purpose remains to provide help for all girls and women, empowering them through education and support, as its motto clearly suggests: ‘Bildung verleiht Flügel’. It has gone a long way since it was first established in 1907, an age in which women were not even allowed to attend universities in Germany. It is important to underline how much has changed in our society since then, but also how much more still has to be achieved. Several are the initiatives carried out by the association, just to give an example among many ‘Church in mentoring’, aimed at increasing the number of women in church leadership positions in Germany.
Besides her involvement in Hilfegardis, Dr Sautter has been working for the NGO UN Women Germany as Vice-Chairwoman, an organization which she defines as the perfect marrying of local activism and the taking of action at an international level. What she wanted to further stress is the importance of taking country representatives on board of the process towards the achievement of gender equality. Only with government’s commitment, the issue can be brought under a new light at a national level. This is the only way people can truthfully realize the unacceptable burden that women, all over the world, must face during their lives. It is a ‘glass ceiling’, as she said, which every single woman will have to experience, sooner or later, without any distinction or exceptions among generations. In the same way, we cannot think that the issue exclusively addresses developing countries, every day we witness the same form of violence even in those countries generally considered to have achieved advanced protection of human rights.
What is missing is the awareness of a social issue which affects every single girl, soon to be the woman of the future. What must change is the mindset, the burden of social expectations, the pressure imposed by gender bias which can no longer be admissible in our changing society. Children must have the possibility to choose, an open eye over the several and diverse possibilities for their future. Being an established and complete woman today can have so many different meanings and we must accept all of them, regardless of the common and stereotypical idea of woman that we are used to accepting as the only possible choice.
Awareness must be spread not only among young girls but also and more importantly among boys and men. Only taking on board also the other ‘half of the population’ we can achieve this much-struggled equality.
In times of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing, the rate of domestic violence, that kind of violence that hides behind doors as Dr Sautter mentioned, is getting significantly worse. The fact that victims are stuck with their perpetrators in their own households, is only drastically increasing the chances to be exposed to such violence.
This is why the shadow pandemic of GBV has driven a high number of women to rely even more on the helplines to seek help. As means to denounce, social media are also worth to be mentioned. They play, for instance, an enormous role as well, being available at every moment of the day, an extremely wide net that connects women all over the world and gives an important message, no one is alone in this battle. However, a point that Dr Sautter held worth of further stressing, is that the use of social media has also a downside, which is the possibility to increase the danger of violence against women of a digital nature. Something which, of course, must be taken into consideration and cannot be undervalued.
Shame and fear deriving from this form of violence hold women back from denouncing what they are being victims of and Dr Sautter explained it making an accurate point, the perpetrators instill this belief that victims are responsible for what happened to them, leading them to refuse the fact that they need help and cannot be socially condemned for something over which they have no control.
What Ursula Sautter, inspiring example of an empowered woman dedicating her life to this issue, wishes for our future generation is to maintain the spotlight on the tireless effort towards a real change in our world. Keep raising awareness and knowledge, speak up anytime we have the chance to, regardless of our age, origin, ethnic, social and religious background and most of all, never be afraid to be identified as feminists. This is the only way in which we can finally gain real freedom and equality, as empowered women, and men with us, ready to mark a change.
- Greta Fantoni
Pride and Appeasement: Do not legalize opium!
Today started strong. Our great leaders seemed to have come together to truly work towards a solution. However, the absence of military command within this great conference is palpable. Despite us having all the resources we need, some of the diplomats seem to want to dance to the tune of the British anthem. They wish to open even more trade routes and allow for more goods to be traded all the while the dastardly British scum threaten us with ultimatums to dump their devil’s poppy on our doorstep. The demands of the British are unheard of, and still there seems to be no stronger talk at the early time of the conference that seem to suggest a stronger response to British aggression.
As our leaders started debating a response, the appeasement politics seemed to continue. One delegate even had the audacity to suggest the legalization of opium and implied that we had not enough glorious military troops to defeat the British hooligans. Our great troops would be more than capable to destroy the opium addled farm boys who call themselves servants of the false “queen”. Luckily we soon saw a hero in the viceroy of Zhili, who seemed to echo the voice of our nation when he unilaterally rejected the legalization of opium and on top of this seemed to take some military actions to cull the British incursions.
After a long discussion, they still seemed to fetishize the unholy word “compromise”. Now they will allow the trade of opium into glorious China, but would ban Possession? This makes absolutely zero sense. It seems like the conference is full of opium consumers who would jump into the bed of a British diplomat for just a crumb of the devils’ flower.
After a long amount of days, a representative of our beautiful military finally showed up. Now we will be able to make a strong response to British aggression. On top of this, there seems to be trouble in the Indian colonies. It seems the gods are smiling upon us finally, even as the topic of opium legalization still seems to crop up.
The emperor however stood his ground, there shall be no opium in china if he has anything to say for it. We here at Turning Point Beijing want to thank our glorious emperor for saving the youths from these incompetents and to turn our attention back to what matters, destroying the idiotic British and making their life hell.
- Olivier Van Poppel