When agreement becomes dangerous
On the first sessions of the UNDP Committee, conflict zones were the main topic of discussion. There, a pattern could be spotted: every delegation held similar views and they seemed to agree on almost every matter. Unfortunately, that did not happen because controversial topics were resolved by constructive debate, but rather because controversy was not on the agenda of any delegate.
What’s more concerning is that there was simply too much discussion on general statements and definitions: at some point, time was given to discuss the very definition of a conflict zone. But while delegates enjoy the comforting drug of agreeing with each other, the pain of war is part of the daily routine for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Those people, those communities, those areas under conflict were not mentioned at all after hours of discussion; rather, the phrase “conflict zone” was continuously floating in the room as if it were an abstract term that affected something far away from our world.
There are armed conflicts around us. More than in the past decades, actually. Supporters of those conflicts are sitting in this room today, talking about ensuring human rights in war. And they will continue to do so until any delegation sees and points out the elephant in the room. Of course, this will lead to disagreement between nations, but Member States lacking the willingness to change and ultimately bring peace in the ugly landscape of a conflict zone is more concerning and more dangerous than debate.
A committee where no delegation agrees on anything is indeed not productive, but a committee that agrees on everything and does not make efforts to change anything is discouraging; it’s one of the strongest reasons why people trust their representatives—along with their representatives’ abilities—increasingly less.
Hopefully, the committee sessions that follow will include less comfortable debates and hopefully, delegations never forget that they have the power to change the world.