Event Reports

Negotiations skills key at 'UN conference'

Climate change on agenda 

A group of Year 10s participated in a Model United Nations Conference at LaTrobe University on May 17. 

The day’s topic was Climate Change, and focussed on collaborating as nations to help lower global gas emissions, whilst considering the economical and social state of many developed and developing countries. BSE was given three countries to represent: France, Fiji and Afghanistan. 

France was proudly represented by Joelle Colliver, Hayden Parrott, Susie Godfrey and Sheeba Vigneswaran; Fiji was represented by Liam Griffiths, Alicia Bertani, Jacque-Li Dykema and Jemma Curnow, and Jack Sides, Ashleigh Hallinan and Alyssa Lai represented the views of Afghanistan.

The day began with a presentation from guest speaker Dr Benjamin Habib, who talked about life as an engineering teacher at LaTrobe and his various trips to China and South Korea to study different techniques of engineering to combat climate change. 

Then, in alphabetical order, the delegates of each country were required to present a position statement. This speech lasted for 2-3 minutes, and gave their country’s views on climate change. After that, we participated in a caucus. This could take one of two forms: a moderated caucus and an unmoderated caucus. The moderated caucus was essentially a debate, that was controlled by the Secretary-General. If your country had something to say, you had to raise your placard and only speak if you were recognised by the Honourable Secretary General. 

The Unmoderated Caucus could only occur if a country had been recognised and calls for an Unmoderated Caucus for either five or 10 minutes. This motion would then be voted on, and required a simple majority to be successful. During this, delegates were free to roam and discuss with possible amendments to the resolution that your country wanted to make. It was important for us, at this stage, to gain support from allies, so that our amendments were seconded. 

Finally, the session for action came. The “Amendments” section. In this part, suggested amendments that were submitted to the Secretary-General were presented and debated. It would then be put to a vote as to whether or not the amendment would be successful. Countries were able to either provide support, disagree or abstain from voting. Later, all successful amendments were put into the Resolution, and the final Resolution would be voted on. All these decisions were subject to debate. 

Overall, it was a really beneficial day. It provided an opportunity for students to expand on their listening, public speaking and democratic skills, calling on compromise to come to a consensus. All of us really enjoyed the day, and found it was a really eye-opening experience. It encouraged us to think beyond ourselves, to how difficult it is to make decisions that affect the whole globe. 

— Alyssa Lai and Jack Sides, Year 10