Academy Model United Nations (AMUN) is a two-day Model UN conference hosted by the Bergen County Academies in Hackensack, New Jersey. This is AMUN’s 16th annual conference, held on February 5th, 2015 to February 6th, 2014. Secretary General Rachel Boutom and Chargé D’affaires Erik Wu welcomed the delegates with tales and advice from their past MUN experiences. Bergen Academies Dean of Discipline Mr. Victor Lynch then offered some words of wisdom, sharing how important good international relations are to maintaining peace. Finally, Mrs. Lucia Ponce shared the story of her childhood in El Salvador, and gave us a new perspective on why international cooperation is important. Ponce was a child during the Salvadorian Civil War and lived in one of the country’s most dangerous areas, La Zona Roja (The Red Zone). Her family had to flee their hometown, moving first to San Salvador and then to the USA. She asserted that the UN can play a role in bringing an end wars like the one she experienced by making countries answer for their crimes and negotiating peaceful resolutions.
Thanks to our Secretariat, staff, teachers, delegates, and Mrs. Ponce, the AMUN opening ceremony was impactful and inspiring.
Discussions in ECOFIN
The ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Committee) has mainly been discussing the effects of sanctions on countries, looking at these effects in various perspectives. Several nations have agreed that sanctions are needed to solve many of the arising problems. However, a few other nations disagree with certain details on placing sanctions on certain countries, considering their situation. These disagreements led to an exciting debate between a number of nations.
Each nation had its own opinions about sanctions that included what kinds of sanctions should be made, which situations are appropriate for making sanctions, and how to use them effectively. Some of the nations include Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Korea, and others. The United States of America states that economic sanctions are useful and can be used to gain the compliance of noncompliant countries. The USA suggests the use of economic sanctions by strengthening the sanction every 2 weeks until the country agrees to its terms. However, countering the USA, Nicaragua states that economic sanctions are not reasonable. Citing a US embargo on Nicaragua, it argues that the USA violated the Treaty of Friendship, thereby deeming economic sanctions as bad. However, many countries are somewhere in the middle, such as Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan states that outlawing sanctions are out of the question, because it is simply just too impossible to bring into reality. It, however, proposes a sanction on military only, because it would be effective in not affecting small countries, which are caught in between conflicts, as much. France agrees with Kazakhstan, but also supports targeted sanctions that are preventative and precautionary.
All in all, every nation in ECOFIN agreed on the usage of sanctions, but are debating over the minor details. They are all working together to pull a solution out of the many problems that surround them, and they all know how important it is in upholding the global economy.
Ebola – Destroy or Be Destroyed
Upon entering the first session of The World Health Organization (WHO), heated discussions of what should be discussed first on the agenda arose. Canada, France, and Sierra Leone, as well as other nations, proposed the topic of the Ebola outbreak as their main discussion. However, other countries, most notably Brazil and the Republic of Korea, stated that they believed clean water and sanitation should be debated first instead of the Ebola crisis. With the knowledge that Ebola has been around for a long time, Brazil states that the virus spread so far in a very short time due to the lack of clean water, which the delegate states, is a worldwide conflict. Despite Brazil’s reasoning and Korea’s support, the first topic of the day was decided on the Ebola outbreak.
As the topic is decided, the discussion opens up as delegates discuss about where their efforts should be focused. There was a lot of talk of vaccinations and funding, as well as methods of containment and quarantine. For the first part of the session, it could be clearly seen that the nations were focused on the production of vaccines as well as the necessary money to fund it. Canada and Japan both stated that they were in the midst of creating a vaccine that would be able to fight the deadly virus, although the WHO has approved neither. The United State of America and Rwanda both offered to provide funding for the costs for additional research and production of the vaccines. In efforts of containing the virus, the Democratic Republic of Congo offered to share its methods of successfully eradicating Ebola within their region. After discussing these topics, the delegates began to prioritize the order of which major points should be addressed. As this list grew, a new concern was introduced: education of Ebola. This includes awareness of what Ebola is and how it can be transmitted from person to person as well as training medical teams on how to properly handle the virus. The general idea of the list (as each nation had different opinions) was:
1. Protection (containment; quarantines)
3. Research and Development (vaccines)
After an un-moderated caucus, the delegates from Japan, Sierra Leone, Canada, as well as many others decided on a possible plan, titled the 4 Point Plan (or the 4 Committee Plan). It had been decided earlier that having each country focus on achieving the same points was that the countries would be divided into 4 committees where each would tackle a specific task mentioned above. As the first session adjourned for lunch, the delegates were in the midst of creating plans that would later develop into further, more concrete methods.