As the representative of the Republic of South Africa, it was truly my pleasure to have had the opportunity to serve as a chair for the General Assembly first committee on disarmament and international security of the 2017 UA-MUNC conference.
The Convention was truly informative, and I had the opportunity to participate, learn and understand how things really work when adopting a resolution and reaching consensus in the UN. As a chair, I was able to grasp the procedure and, with the help of our secretary, Mr Adam Othman, make sure that the experience was productive, educative and enjoyable as much as possible for each and every delegate.
During our work together as a committee, each delegate tried as much as possible to apply the rules of diplomacy in order to reach consensus. Participants were open to proposals and most of them were fully implicated in their roles as countries’ representatives.
On the first day, we had a very informative presentation from Mr. Amandeep Gill, an expert on disarmament. He gave us specific information on weapons, how they represent a threat, and the challenges the international community faces regarding this issue. From his presentation, we all had a clearer understanding of the topic. After that, the delegates started presenting their positions and almost all of them had their names on the speakers’ list.
After formal meetings, delegates spent time discussing and solving their differences related to their respective policies. At the beginning, some delegates were shy and it was a little bit challenging for them to participate in discussions. But, with some encouragement they felt ready to engage more in discussions and were more active.
What was really remarkable during informal meetings, is that they all had different interests and positions but worked closely together in order to find solutions that can be profitable not only for each one of them, but also to all countries and to achieve sustainable development goal number 16 which tackles Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The delegates kept in mind the 2030 agenda on sustainable development and tried to create measure that can suit as much as possible the policy of each Member State. The main issue was to reach balance between the interests of those States who have weapons production and dealing as a substantive part of their budget, and those who wanted to control the use of armament, raising the question of States’ sovereignty, as well as the states in favor of the non-destruction of their nuclear arms, while other nations rooted for their total destruction, raising the question of national security, all in the lights of realizing goal 16 of the 2030 sustainable development agenda.
At the end of discussion, the delegates decided to focus on education on weapons and the danger they can represent, as history shows that people tend to be more sensitive and act on a subject they are familiar with. They therefore decided to work closely with the UNESCO, to create more platforms for discussions and to raise the awareness and more implication of each Member State when it comes to the usage of WMDs.
Due to the Delegates’ hard work and their willingness to reach consent, by the end of the first day, we were able to come out with a draft resolution. By the first line by line reading, most of the paragraphs were agreed upon. By the next day, the delegates were able to work on new paragraphs. We were all very pleased to see that our work was not in vain and the satisfaction we experienced cannot be expressed by words.
To conclude, I would like to mention that this experience was one of the best of the year for me and I am sure that each one of the delegates can relate to those feelings. It was very educational and an effective way to meet with people who share the same interests as me. Diplomacy is part of our everyday life and it was nice to see that no matter our differences we are able to come together and solve them in a peaceful way.