„We are now entering voting procedure. Absolute decorum is to be maintained at all times in the committee room. It is imperative that there is no talking, no note passing and no moving around the room.” And here I was, representing Canada in the Disarmament Committee at this year’s ISAR Model United Nations gathering my notes, getting hold of my placard and preparing to hoist it up in order to tip the scales in favour of the resolution that resulted out of the joint effort of the delegate of Germany, Iran, Brazil, France, China and Canada. Delegates had been exchanging arguments about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East all day long, frequently engaging in political bickering and strategic filibustering. Towards the end of the session every delegate was sucked into the great maelstrom of UN formalities, trying to squeeze and mould the political ideology of the country into the practical and accepted form of UN resolutions. As the debate was drawing to a close, the committee quickly transitioned into voting procedure and tension mounted …But before jumping the gun and revealing the outcome of the vote, let me rewind the clock and make room for a few introductory remarks. The LMU delegation, after months of preparation, had been feverishly awaiting their first United Nations simulation which was hosted at the Academy for Civic Education in Tutzing located in serene grounds close to the “Starnberger See”. This year’s ISAR MUN received considerable attention and was even visited by students from Turkey, Bulgaria and Russia as well as the consul general of the United States of America and Israel who chaired an illuminating discussion on American and Israeli security policy. All of them helped to make the simulation more insightful, more realistic and more international. Our delegation was represented in all councils and debated various subjects ranging from women’s rights in South East Asia to genetically modified organisms. As for myself, I represented Canada in the disarmament committee and tried to put the topic “prevention of an arms race in outer space” on the agenda. Unfortunately, my voice went unheard and we ended up debating the equally important topic “proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East”. Debates in the DISEC committee were heated and fruitful. Unfortunately the session was overshadowed by some interruptions due to changes in the rules of procedure and the unrealistic alliance between the Federative Republic of Germany and Iran, with the individual representatives choosing personal friendship over national interests. Nevertheless, this alliance brought some new momentum into the discussion and as soon as delegates had adapted to the new rules, a more realistic atmosphere of a UN simulation began to sink in. Due to the arduous work of individual delegates, alliances were forged immediately and working papers were drafted quickly. With the delegate of the United States straying away from classical American policy, I found myself tinkering with the accepted limits of Canadian policy, stretching the position in order to accommodate for changing alliances. During the next session, efforts and discussions crystallized in the form of two resolutions. As political disparities grew however, it became evident that the two-thirds majority, required to pass the resolution, rested on a pile of quicksand which gradually began to slide. Notes were passed around prior to voting in order to sway more nations and mobilize support behind one of the two resolutions. When the chair announced that we were finally entering voting procedure, there was no more time for diplomacy and everything was down to the simple arithmetic of addition of votes. Unfortunately, the first resolution failed to reach the two-thirds majority by a thin veneer of votes and the second resolution was divided up with delegates voting on every operative clause separately. By now the two thirds majority was not met by one vote, and the voting process had got hopelessly bogged down. Although our committee was unable to pass a resolution, we were granted an interesting and unique insight into the workings of the DISEC and the process which precedes all UN resolutions. All of us have collected special memories which we will learn to treasure. See you again at Main MUN 2014.
– written by Matthieu Kohl