Understanding the Resolution of the Model United Nations 2016 Youth Assembly at the UN Headquarters.

A turning point in Model United history was made on August 26th, 2016 in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters. Nearly 300 Model UN youth leaders from around the world - United Ambassadors delegates, observers & staff - as well as United Nations Diplomats and Senior Officials - including the President of the General Assembly - convened to officially launch & celebrate the resolution adopted at the MUN 2016 Youth Assembly at the United Nations. This was the world’s first and only Model UN focused Youth Assembly. The MUN 2016 resolution is a comprehensive collection of 103 clauses that collectively and effectively address how Model United Nations around the world can improve in relation to the agenda items discussed. The resolution was guided and inspired by the United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Academic Impact’s definition of “global citizenship”, United Ambassadors’ definition of “Everyday Ambassadors”, the United Nations Department of Public Information’s Model UN Education Outreach Division’s development and launch of UN4MUN, and Security Council Resolution 2250 and the role of youth in promoting peace. References were frequently made to the Charter of the United Nations during discussions. The resolution congratulated conferences already implementing Multilingual MUN initiatives, recognized the commitment of all MUN Societies, Clubs and Organizations towards the development of global awareness and understanding and highlighted the social responsibility of Model United Nations participants and organizers to their local communities.

This article presents a summary of discussions and explanation of the ideas proposed and recommendations made on each of the various “MUN-strategy” topics addressed at the Assembly.

A) MUN 2030 - The Role of SDG’s in MUN: Various action oriented recommendations were made in relation to incorporating SDG’s into Model UN, and they can be summarized into 3 categories:

1) Incorporating SDG’s Academically into MUN Simulations, Conference Discussions & MUN Education Curriculums. It was recommended that Model United Nations conferences (simulations) actively and directly work to explicitly add specific SDGs into the agenda of their committee discussions.

  • Direct and explicit discussion of all 17 SDG’s and the work of the United Nations in MUN simulations.

  • Education initiatives in which presentations, workshops, pre and post conference programs that aim to include SDG’s in Model UN program curriculums are used. Creativity was encouraged in this area.

  • Examples included establishing General Assemblies that discuss progress and implementation of specific SDG sub-targets, innovative futuristic crisis committees, or historical committees to simulate previous natural disasters and crisis situations, or arranging in-class mock debates addressing SDGs.

2) Incorporating SDG’s Practically into MUN Conference Structure: It was recommended that MUN organizers adopt practices that include and promote the SDGs in their structure. This refers to: secretariat selection, the conference’s external partnership initiatives, the upholding of the universal values of the United Nations internally and externally. Below are some examples on the above:

  • *The creation of a code of agreement for Model UNs -- an MUN Green Chart (MGC) to promote and facilitate the organization of environmentally friendly and responsible MUN conferences, involving actions if applicable, including but not limited to: reducing the use of paper and locating alternatives that are less harmful to the environment, using reusable or recyclable material and reducing waste and plastic use when possible.

  • *Staff selection was a strongly highlighted element of debate. It was recommended that large and reputable MUN organizations ensure national & cultural diversity and geographic distribution of their selected members, and actively strive to maintain gender balance while maintaining a transparent, scientific & unbiased selection process of staff/ secretariat.

  • *MUN Culture: Inclusiveness, respect for diversity and adopting a global mindset in the world of Model United Nations was highlighted as a critical and indispensable quality of “Model UN culture”. Delegates referred to the United Nations Charter frequently as they discussed how it should project on “Model UN culture” and working towards equality, inclusiveness, tolerance, acceptance and non-discrimination in all its definitions was encouraged as a value in Model United Nations, in all countries, around the world.

3) Field Advocacy – MUNers working to promote the Sustainable Development Goals. The third theme was the actual engagement of , through that promotes the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, by their MUN club or society. The following actions were recommended to Model UN conferences, clubs, organizations, students and graduates around the world:

  • *Community engagement to raise awareness on the SDG’s through active publicity, social media (or any) marketing, in addition to in person workshops/outreach was highly recommended.

  • *Active sharing of SDG related updates, news, or facts through the Model UN Circuit, employing social media or other connection opportunities.

  • *Initiatives to use in person outreach to make Model UN accessible to all, through organizing visits to public schools, orphanages, communities identified as less developed, shelters, rural areas and others where conditions of vulnerability clearly exist.

  • *Participation in open online forums that allow discussion and thought sharing about sustainable development and Model UN topics addressing them.

  • *MUN clubs/ teams/ conferences organizing social project competitions, and university student platforms, hosting campaigns, events, free workshops or charitable social events to raise awareness of the student body on the UN’s 2030 agenda, what it means and how they can get engaged.

  • *Annual post-conference discussions, follow-up meetings and summits regarding the implementation of SDG-related projects, publishing MUN conference resolutions on social media and attempting to communicate them to the relevant bodies of the United Nations when possible.

  • *Host virtual awareness campaigns, either in the form of social networking, discussions led by experts, conferences, articles or other suitable manners, to generate interest and understanding of climate change, the impact of urbanization and ways to embrace responsible lifestyles;

B) MUN Reform Around the World: Multiple insightful recommendations from experienced Model UN veterans that attended the MUN 2016 Youth Assembly were proposed. They cut across the main topics: UN4MUN, Multilingual MUN, MUN Awards, MUN differences around the world, MUN fundraising, MUN partnerships and MUN as a promoter of world peace.

1) The UN4MUN Phenomenon – How to support UN4MUN around the world:

While understanding the value of UN4MUN as a Model UN platform that provides an accurate understanding of the functions and decision-making processes of the United Nations, yet acknowledging that many are not yet familiar with UN4MUN as it’s considered as a nascent MUN platform, various recommendations were made. The UN4MUN action oriented paragraphs are divided into: proposed action by key players in MUN (organizations, conferences, individuals, schools and the UNDPI), in addition to ideas for UN4MUN reform.

Much of the below section on UN4MUN is directly quoted from the resolution.

a) Key players – role in UN4MUN support & promotion: