The 5th Annual Model United Nations (MUNNAM) High School Conference took place at the Safari Court Hotel Conference Hall on the 8th and 9th of June 2016, with an overwhelming attendance of 70 students from 12 different high schools across Namibia, amongst these participating schools were two from the Otjikoto Region, namely Etosha Secondary School and Otjikoto Secondary School.
At the official opening ceremony, held on 8 June 2016, the UN Resident Coordinator, Kiki Gbeho raised the gavel to signal the official opening. She highlighted the importance of the topics under deliberation and encouraged the young people to take an active role in decision making and ensuring their voices are heard. Her message to the young Model UN delegates encouraged them to “take space, be prepared and dare to be different”.
MTN Business Namibia’s Finance and Administration Manager, Keith Handura, the main sponsor, in his opening address encouraged the youth to be innovative and emulate the MTN Business core brand values. He applauded the UNIC Windhoek team for the educational initiative and encouraged the youth to utilize the platform to move to greater heights.
Contrary to the usual modus operandi, this year, two topics were discussed, both of which were themed around the newly implemented 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ‘Woman’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development’ (as it pertains to Goal 5 of the SDGs) and ‘Ensuring Universal Access to Water’ (as it pertains to Goal 6 of the SDGs).
‘Woman’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development’ was the first topic to be tabled on the agenda for day one of the conference. The delegates deliberated and debated upon the topic, exchanging interesting perspectives and crafting ideas and solutions. During the debate, they placed emphasis on defining ‘Sustainable Development’ and sought to shed light on the role an empowered woman can play in order for the goals to effectively materialize.
Interestingly, the course of the discussion took a slightly different route during interim moderated sessions, as the aspect and technical relevance of religion, tradition, culture and gender based violence gained permanence. The delegates weighed these factors against one another and discussed how they impede gender quality, women’s empowerment and women’s knowledge of their rights. The delegates also discussed how both women and men can work together to bring about changes that will benefit the disenfranchised masses.
Pressure mounted up amongst the very eager delegates, as they had to ensure that a resolution was passed by the conclusion of the first day. Although a majority of the delegates where novice first timers, they managed to grasp the different concepts of diplomacy which made for exceptional deliveries of draft resolutions.
A resolution was passed by the following sponsoring countries: Germany, Central African Republic, France, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, which, amongst a couple of other factors, focused on the importance of education as a means to empower women and to generate awareness of women’s human and social rights.
The two day conference was off to a great start, as the delegates moved to discuss‘Ensuring Universal Access to Water’ (as it pertains to Goal 6 of the SDGs),the second topic on the agenda. This topic was to the favor and warm reception of a number of delegates representing African and Asian countries, as most countries in these continental regions face serious water insecurities. Collectively, the delegates worked hard to attempt to dismantle factors attributing to the ineffective distribution of safe drinking water across the globe so as to come to amicable solutions on how this very pressing issue can be solved.
The discussion was centered around the importance of global participation in alleviating the factors that hamper access to water, most especially in the poverty stricken countries of Africa, Asia and South America. Countries from the African and Asian continents such as Namibia, Central African Republic, South Sudan, South Africa, Ghana, India, China and Nepal (to name a few) called upon the more affluent and resourceful countries of the West to assist them in their efforts to ensure that they have sufficient access to water, as many of these countries are experiencing severe drought and climate variability and need expert, financial and physical assistance for aqua development and other initiatives relative thereto.
The dialogue concluded in a resolution being passed by the following sponsors: Ghana, South Sudan, China and South Africa. The resolution included calling upon the assistance of not only the West, but the global community at large, as water insecurity affects every nation.
The highlight of the second day was an award ceremony to honor those delegates who performed exceptionally at the conference. The judging panel, who meticulously scored delegates on various indicators including content, delivery, participation and use of the rules and diplomacy, revealed the prize winners.
The “Best School Award” went to Delta Secondary School, who won the MTN Business Namibia’s, “Best School, floating trophy” as well as three thousand Namibian dollars for their school. The Delta Secondary School participants included, Patience Masua, representing Germany, Thelma Mackinza, representing Central African Republic and Gabriel Haughk, representing India.
The “Best Delegate award”, as voted for by the participants, was awarded to Jules Van De Port from St. Paul’s College, representing Saudi Arabia at the conference. The “Best Delegate” received a trophy and one thousand five hundred Namibian dollars prize money from MTN Business Namibia.
Furthermore, two special achievement awards, along with one thousand five hundred Namibian dollars prize money was awarded to Nils Schuler, recognizing his long standing participation since 2012 (as the youngest participant) and his active leadership role in the programme. Another special achievement award was given to Paulus Amuthenu, representing Ghana (from Academia Secondary School) for his active participation during the conference, effective use of the rules of procedure and overall diplomacy, analysis and comprehension of the programme.
With the sponsorship of MTN Business Namibia, the 5th Model United Nations Namibia (MUNNAM) High School conference proved to be a great success. As the delegates left the conference centre, many students commented that they were already excited for the next MUNNAN conference.