My experience at the International Model United Nations Nigeria (IMUNN) 2015
The International Model United Nations Nigeria (IMUNN) 2015 conference held in Lagos, Nigeria between 4th and 9th August was the first edition of its kind. I found it privileging to participate in the Summit, serving as Vice President to the General Assembly for Asia (VPGA Asia).
Having encountered several challenges in my efforts to participate in MUN Conferences in the past, good fortune allowed me to finally participate in an MUN event at the Ghana International Model United Nations (GIMUN) in 2014. The event was held in Accra, where I served as the Turkish delegate in the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN).
IMUNN 2015 plenary sessions were held at the Centre for Management Development (CMD) Shangisha, Lagos State. I could not help feeling nostalgic returning to the areas where I grew up and was schooled as a child. Adding to this generally nostalgic tone was the chance I had to once again meet with colleagues I had previously encountered at GIMUN 2014.
IMUNN 2015 began with the arrival of officials and delegates. After warm hearted but informal welcome sessions, officials proceeded to a training session facilitated by the President for the IMUNN2015 General Assembly, Joseph Mensah. After this training period the delegates participated in an orientation session facilitated by the Secretary General for the IMUNN 2015 General Assembly, Chibueze Ofobuike.
The summit formally commenced on 6th August with the inaugural plenary session of the IMUNN 2015 General Assembly. Participating in that event were guests from international diplomatic core circles who were actively involved in the session. Drawing inspiration from the conference theme ‘Consolidating on the MDGs through the SDGs’ and seeing the event as a prelude to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held in September 2015 in New York, was helpful. Having ratified the Post 2015 Agenda/SDGs as its focus, those members of the international diplomatic core present, including the Ghanaian Consul General to Nigeria Mr Kwabena Okubi-Appiah, the South African Consul General to Nigeria Ambassador Mokgethi Sam Monaisa and a representative from the Nigeria Institute for International Affairs, Professor Osita Agbu, Head, Division of International Politics; gave their assessments of the progress, achievements and challenges facing the MDGs in their respective regions. The South African Consular General gave an intriguing and detailed report, which though time consuming, was in the end quite informative.
After the opening plenary session, delegates proceeded to their respective committees to debate and propose resolutions on their allotted topics. In all there were four committees and each committee, apart from the Security Council, debated on two topics. The Committees and their topics were as follows:
1. Security Council: Having its president in Chiemzie JudeMary Udechukwu, the topics for the debate were:
- Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations in Maintaining International Peace and Security.
- Global Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Regime.
2. UNESCO: The group chair person was Isaac Opoku Adjei and the following topics were debated:
- Appraising the Education For All (EFA) Goals: Consolidating on The Gains and Reinforcing against Lapses.
- Cultural Mixing and Politics: Multiculturalism and Hybridization.
3. SOCHUM: The group was chaired by Justice Yaotse Kodzo and debated on the following topics:
- Intensifying Global Efforts on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, Negative Stereotyping, Stigmatization and Related Intolerance.
- Promotion of Democratic and Equitable International Order.
4. WHO: This group’s chairperson was Oppong Eugene Nimapau and debated on the following topics:
- Building A World Void of Substandard/Spurious/Falsely-labelled/Falsified/ Counterfeit (SSFFC) Medicines.
- Synergizing For Global Monitoring Against Communicable Diseases.
The Committee sessions lasted a total of two days thereafter the closing plenary session for the General Assembly was held at the conclusion of the second day of committee sitting.
To add some extra spice to the experience of IMUNN 2015, the Security Council held a crises session which interrupted the normal debating flow of the committee. The crisis meeting revolved around the hypothetical news of a large scale advance of the Islamic State (IS) Militia in Syria leaving hundreds of Civilians dead in its wake, the Security Council committee transmuted to a crises session and in the end came up with a draft resolution to ensure speedy UN action against the group referred to as IS.
Upon the conclusion of the committee sessions, I set to work with my Co-VPGA’s to critically examine the submitted draft resolutions from the various committees and to ensure compliance to relevant standing protocols and resolutions with respect to the debated topics. Before this, I was also delegated by the President of the General Assembly (PGA) to observe committee sessions and managed to do this interchangeably with my co-VPGAs.
The gala and awards event followed immediately after the closing plenary session. Awards were given to delegates who had the best position papers in each committee. Aside from these, there were other award categories which included:
- Best delegate in each committee
- Best dressed delegate
- Most sexiest
- And lots of other sundry awards
Foreign delegates were also recognized, particularly for their steadfast dedication and commitment in making the journey by road and air to the event. Most of the foreign delegates were Ghanaians.
After the formal conclusion of IMUNN2015, the conference participants enjoyed a more informal conclusion to the event with a fun trip to water parks at Ikeja. On reflection, it was a great way for delegates to unwind after days of cerebral discussion. The contrast was helpful with light discussion, music and dance, table tennis, swimming, footballing and all sorts of refreshments available at the venue and its surroundings. Delegates wishing to explore more of Lagos were hampered by the notoriously slow moving Lagos traffic jams.
I particularly enjoyed every bit of IMUNN 2015 as it afforded me a refresher course in diplomacy and served to indulge my feelings of local nostalgia.