On Wednesday 8th of January, FerMUN held its 4th conference, on the theme of climate change, at the International Telecommunication Union in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization. After months of preparation, the day was finally here, with 550 students and 50 teachers from 30 schools from 12 different countries arriving at 9AM at the ITU. As the president of FerMUN club Philippe Launay reminds us, one of FerMUN’s special features is indubitably its bilingualism. Florence Baudry, FerMUN director says: “We are very lucky to be so close to Geneva where UN organizations genuinely open their doors to young people.”
Managing all of these well-groomed delegates, handing out badges and folders, and putting in place placards with delegation names proved challenging! It was ”speeding and go time”, says our Head of Admins. Controlled chaos aside, Wednesday was an opportunity for delegates to meet, discover each other’s origins, give their impressions on the place, their chairs, the croissants – and, of course, for intense lobbying. While translators prepared and interpreters immediately got to work, the press team wrote its first newspaper and attended a press conference at the UN at 2.30 PM.
Later, everyone met in the UN’s famous Room XX for the FerMUN 2014 Opening Ceremony. Secretary General, Juliana Rademaker, defended with conviction this year’s theme by reminding young delegates that global warming is our issue: this challenge concerns us all, particularly the younger generation which will build tomorrow’s world. She pointed out that this conference should act as an eye-opener and make us all think about concrete solutions to change our way of life.
The enthusiasm during formal debates on Thursday proved that everyone was working wholeheartedly. Each committee – 9 in total – had topics revolving around climate change, such as the effect of global warming on human health or the impact of weapon development on the environment. The Security Council debated on the Syrian conflict and the water conflict in the Middle East. Discussions, often lively, raised sometimes contentious solutions. While in GA4, the delegation of France spoke of the resolution submitted by Korea as “blackmail for the UN”, and North Korea in the HRC proposed to install a video surveillance system in the forests. The first amendments are voted – nearly 6 resolutions per committee had to be voted by Friday! Meanwhile, the MUN directors were enjoying themselves with their own debates on the theme of e-waste.
On Friday, debates continued in some committees while for others, the General Assembly was starting. The four GA committees all joined to debate the selected resolutions for this Assembly. Controlling debate time on each resolution was challenging, however at 3.30 PM everyone was getting ready for the Closing Ceremony, this time in the ITU Popov room as well as Rooms C1 and C2. FerMUN participants received a message from Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, who observed that “we always have a plan B, but we don’t have a Planet B”; and the Secretary-General of the ITU, Dr Hamadoun Touré, joined the ceremony by Skype from his home in Mali.
FerMUN 2014 was not like any other conference. Selected resolutions amongst the ones passed during these three days will be presented to Ban Ki Moon by Dr Touré himself; FerMUN delegates were excited and thrilled to see their efforts considered. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s leaders, and we have to start taking issues in hands – as Dr Touré said, “just go and do it!”
Leila Hassan is a final-year student at the Lycée International de Ferney-Voltaire. She led the Press Team for FerMUN14.