The idea of modelling international decision-making bodies that eventually became what today is Model UN has been around longer than the United Nations itself. However, not much has changed since the very first MUN conferences - Delegates attend Committee sessions separated from the rest of the Conference in near-isolation, taking decisions on their own. While easy to simulate, this system does not resemble reality.
Pioneered by our partners at WebMUN, the concept of Interconnectivity is now championed by both conferences. Interconnectivity is far more than a tool that allows us to create a more life-like simulation of all involved international bodies and institutions; it is the principle that makes your professional experience truly challenging and educating. Everything you say could be reported by the Press and relayed to your fellow delegates. Your actions – every resolution you fought to pass or helped engineer its failure – will be remembered and their repercussions will be felt throughout the conference. No matter whether you are a diplomat in a UN body, an ambassador to an international organization, a member of an influential news agency, or a cunning lobbyist, your work will affect that of everyone else: 10 committees interconnected through one overarching topic of global proportions, and a mechanism where every decision – be it unilateral, bilateral, or multilateral –, every international treaty, every UN resolution in effect can reshape international order and upset the balance of power.
Decision-making: that makes a difference
When a Committee adopts a Resolution or Directive, it will affect the work of all other Committees - this is because the work of all Committees revolves around one central issue that is considered from different perspectives.
Delegations must coordinate their efforts across the entire Conference to achieve their aims cohesively and attempt not only to sway opinions in Committees where they are represented but lobby with allies and opponents alike in Committees where they are not.
Other Committees can be called upon to take action or negotiated with to achieve common interests. Some of the Committees were designed with the explicit purpose of having to cooperate with each other.
The Press: always involved
Participants can apply for spots in the Press Committee, where they will represent News Agencies rather than States. There, they will have to work to cover the events of the Conference from their Agency’s point of view, providing a certain degree of bias. Depending on the Agency, Press Members may also have to support some States’ interests through their reporting.
For the rest of the Conference, the Press Committee will be the source of up-to-date information from all the other Committees. It will be essential to follow news published as in each article, as one might expect, the devil is in the details.
Crisis: Prepare for the Unknown
Adding an additional degree of challenge that Delegates must face is the interactive Crisis Scenario that will unfold at the Conference. The Crisis Team will work constantly to update and modify the Crisis based on the actions taken by States and Committees in response to previous events.
Committees continue to retain their own individual topics but must also respond to those Crisis events that are relevant to their mandate, making debates far more challenging and unpredictable.
Solve a Crisis and reap the rewards, or fail and be prepared for the consequences!
A spectre is haunting the Americas. A spectre that harnesses the forces of nature with a malign purpose; to strike at those who are defenseless against its schemes. Schemes that seek to collapse economies and scatter people – deprived of their demolished homes – to the four winds. It spreads epidemics to decimate populations. Its minions produce and spread drugs in order to weaken society and gain funds for its future war on civilization. It calls forward the past to cast its shadow upon the North and the South both. It deceives and blinds those who struggle for a noble cause.
This malevolent spectre wreaks havoc and destruction wherever it casts its gaze. This spectre does this all for its own entertainment. From the shadowy depths of the Yucatán, the wind carries dreaded hisses; whispers of ancient seers from forgotten tribes who know what the spectre’s true name is. A horrible legend straight from the darkest Mayan myths: the Crisis Team.
Treaties: Achieve Your Interests but Mind Your Resources!
Interconnectivity links not only Committees but individual States as well. State interests do not always require the consensus of an entire Committee but only the agreement of two or a few States. Delegates will be able to achieve their aims, gain resources as well as support possible allies by signing bilateral or multilateral Treaties.
However, only a limited amount of resources will be at the disposal of Delegates - money will often be in short supply, as will tradeable items. Furthermore, resources will not only be required for signing treaties but also for dealing with unexpected Crisis events, so Delegates must be mindful of their spending!
Hierarchy: Be a Leader and Guide Your Delegation to Success
States represented in multiple Committees will be considered Delegations, that have common aims and resources. Each Committee will have a designated level of representation, so Participants could be Foreign Ministers or Ambassadors to the UN, just to name a few possibilities.
Being at the top of a delegation’s Hierarchy will come with many rights but also responsibilities. A Delegation’s top Representative will be the only one authorised to approve Bilateral and multilateral Treaties in the name of their State and will often be invited to other Committees to speak on behalf of their State. However, they must also support all members of their Delegation and in many cases make hard decisions regarding where to allocate a Delegation’s central resources.
UN Reform: Perfecting the Reality
Our supply of new features this year involves a topic of great controversy – one that has been around in the international arena for several decades now. The United Nations, a unifying force for change and human progress in our world, has existed and operated with the same post-war international order and set of rules in mind for over 70 years now. Although its ability to adapt to the new political, economic, social, and cultural norms dominating the prevailing world order is flexible enough, it can neither act upon them with exemplary or binding power, nor absorb the changes it speaks about into its core.
As such, we shall seek to bring new elements into the existing UN mechanism. Literally, for the growing need to acknowledge new global players of significant economic, demographic and political influence have inspired us to implement one of the most discussed UN reforms of our time: the expansion of the Security Council by four new permanent members, namely Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan.
While the inclusion of these four nations into the decision-making processes on international peace and security will definitely result in significant shifts of power, taking the narrative of the conference in directions even we cannot foresee, our ambition to reform does not end there. In the coming months, we will shed more light on the full scope of our UN reforms – financing, democracy, diversity, transparency – whose ultimate fate will culminate in a special General Assembly session on the final day of the conference. A fate you will have to decide along with the rest of the world…