UN Resident Coordinator at UN Model event

24 Mar 2010

(Suva, Fiji) – Students of the International Seconday School (ISS) and three other schools, Adi Cakobau School, Marist Brothers High School and Saint Josephs Secondary School, are currently participating in the ISS-Model UN, where students play the role of Ambassadors from UN member states. The ISS-MUN started in 2008 and was successfully conducted within the school after a series of training sessions for the participants. All participants are between the ages of 13 to 18 years.

This year, ISS-MUN called on the participation of other schools so they could share their experiences with them and most importantly so that students interact with each other and discuss world issues by developing their own.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Knut Ostby was chief guest at the UN Model Opening Ceremony today. He has worked for the UN system in a wide range of countries and in his speech he underlined the importance of a wide international network, such as the UN.

Referring to the global issues facing the UN he said, “The international community is generally good at offering immediate relief after a disaster, but we need to ask how good we are in responding to the needs of recovery and reconstruction after the immediate needs for food, water and shelter have been met.  Too often, when the “CNN effect” has passed and the media headlines no longer serve as a reminder, the support also goes away and many are left to their own devices for rebuilding.”

During the two day long ISS-Model UN, students will be preparing speeches and draft resolutions on issues being faced in the world today, such as Climate Change and Poverty. Teachers and students alike have benefitted from Model UN and have enjoyed this interactive learning experiences as it not only involves young people in the study and discussion of global issues, but also encourages the development of skills through their lives, such as research, writing, public speaking and so forth. Model UN students tend to go on to become competent leaders in politics, law, business, education and medicine.

“We need commitments for financing of activities for emission reduction and for adjustment to climate change, for example sea level rise, in developing countries.  The result was the Copenhagen Accord which includes these ambitions, but is not binding. So we have a declaration of intent, but no commitments and an important question now is how we can move towards a binding international agreement," Mr Ostby said.

He underlined the difficulties by working on such complex problems as the UN are addressing, and added that this also makes them extremely important.

“That is why we continue to try to solve these problems, even though it is difficult.  And that is also why even a small contribution towards solving one part of one of these problems can make a big difference in the life of many people. The UN belongs to everyone, and depends on the contributions and ideas by everyone," he said.

The two day event, has a total of 65 students participating. At the closing ceremony, prizes will be awarded for best delegates, best delegation and commendation awards where delegates are graded according to diplomacy, knowledge of the topic, presentation skills, listening and questioning skills by the organising committee.