Held in Wellington from the 10th to 13th of July, the 2018 New Zealand Model United Nations was themed UN+Forgettable, exploring those issues that the world tends to forget, the way that media controls the narrative of world history and the ethics that should underpin such a venture. For me, being the third time I’ve attended this event, NZMUN involved representing Saint Vincent and The Grenadines in various committee sessions.
Unlike the last two times I attended this conference, where I represented Greece and the United Kingdom, the country I was allocated faced challenges very different to the many economic, political and social issues developed European countries face. Saint Vincent and The Grenadines has a looming environmental issue, the threat of climate change. As such, I was very fortunate enough to participate in a UNEP Climate Change committee, proving to be highly topical for my Member State. It was certainly interesting comparing the attitudes of developed, less vulnerable nations with those in a more precarious position like Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. After all, the topic in question was such a global issue, which inherently treats nations unequally based on their geographic location. While Saint Vincent and The Grenadines stands below the world average for greenhouse gas emissions relative to GDP per capita, they continue to punch above their weight with commitments such as economy wider reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 22% and a 15% reduction of electricity consumption by 2025. Not only that, researching Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, I found it so admirable the action plans and schemes they had in place to achieve these targets, such as labelling schemes for appliances and plans to fund transfers of international carbon assets, mobilised through bilateral, regional and international carbon markets. Probably the most interesting factor I found was that they impose an 8 East Caribbean Dollar tax per day for each visitor to combat greenhouse gas emissions! Not too sure what I think on that one, but definitely a surprising find!
In the end, our committee resolved to provide avenues for vulnerable and developing nations to diminish ignorance and regulate the issue through international collaboration. There was definitely a wealth of interesting debate at play and was an all round great committee to be part of.
As per the conference theme, my four days in Wellington was once again an UN+Forgettable experience and platform for recognising the symbolism, change and perspectives that underpin how an event is remembered. NZMUN was also a great opportunity to meet with like-minded people who had come together from diverse backgrounds to offer perceptive debate from their country’s stances. When I walked out, not only did I feel that I’d developed new skills or challenged myself with negotiation, I also walked out with new friends and ideas. NZMUN was again such an amazing opportunity, one I’d highly recommend anyone to apply for in 2019 and beyond!