Norway Model United Nations Society (NorMUN) is a society for students and others interested in international relations. Our purpose is to enhance the knowledge and understanding of Norwegian foreign policy and the values and ideas of the UN, and also to develop a better understanding for other nations' foreign policies. Please read our Constitution for a more thorough presentation of our purpose and other aspects of NorMUN.
The Society was founded on 7 June 2000, by the Members of the Norwegian Delegation to Harvard University World Model United Nations Conference (WorldMUN) in Athens, 2000.
The Members of NorMUN are from various faculties and levels of study at the University, and from various parts of the country.
Participation at international Model United Nations conferences (MUNs) is the main activity of NorMUN. To learn about the concept of Model United Nations, please click here.
NorMUN holds two Society Meetings each month. A variety of topics in international politics, current affairs and Norwegian foreign policy are discussed at the meetings. Please click here to learn more about our activities.
Our lectures are open to all interested, but our other activities are for Members only. Students interested in joining NorMUN are requested to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, where you describe yourself in short terms. What do you study? Why do you want to join NorMUN? What can you contribute? Do you have any thoughts about the activities of NorMUN?
NorMUN's membership fee is currently NOK 100 per year.
You can also contact the Board at email@example.com if you just wish more information about NorMUN.
**The Report --- **
Norway Model United Nations Society
The Norwegian Delegation
The Jordanian Delegation
Hosted in collaboration with
Harvard University's World Model United Nations Conference (WorldMUN) was this year hosted by the Koç University of Istanbul in Turkey. The Norway Model United Nations Society (NorMUN) would like to express its gratitude to the people and institutions who supported us – because you shared with us your valuable time, advice, and knowledge in the planning and preparations of this project. The purpose of this report is to provide you with feedback about the conference and the accomplishments of our Society in our participation.
In 1999, eight friends from the universities of Oslo and Bergen in Norway gathered to form the Norwegian Delegation to Harvard WorldMUN, hosted in Cambridge, England. The Delegation comprised three women and five men, from different academic backgrounds, who shared a common interest in international affairs.
The participation was a great success, and the Norwegian Delegation was increased to 12 delegates, all from the University of Oslo, to WorldMUN 2000 in Athens, Greece. Five of the delegates from the 1999 Delegation continued in the Delegation, and seven new delegates were recruited. The Delegation comprised six women in six men, once again from different academic backgrounds.
The Norwegian Delegation to WorldMUN 2000 decided to form a Model United Nations society at the University of Oslo, based on the experiences gained from the WorldMUN participation. Norway Model United Nations Society was thus founded on June 7th 2000.
NorMUN's Constitution states that the purpose of the Society is:
The Society shall engage in activities that further these goals and increase the knowledge and competencies of the Members with regard to Norwegian foreign policy, diplomacy, the United Nations, and international relations. Participation at international Model United Nations Conferences is one of the main activities of NorMUN. Following our pleasant experiences from Harvard WorldMUN 1999 and 2000, NorMUN chose to participate at WorldMUN 2001, in Istanbul, Turkey.
3.1 The Delegation
WorldMUN 2001 was the first international conference in which the Members of NorMUN participated as part of a formal organization. The Delegation was formed exclusively by Members of NorMUN. The Society elected a Head Delegate, and committee allocation was determined by the Head Delegate of the Delegation, the President of NorMUN, and one Board Member of NorMUN.
All in all, the Delegation comprised sixteen Members, thirteen women and three men. As usual, the delegates came from various academic backgrounds, such as Law, Political Science, and the study of languages. The delegates came from all across Norway, and have extensive experience with organization and leadership. Most of the delegates have broad international experience, and two delegates participated at their third WorldMUN.
Based on the purpose of NorMUN, the Society chose to represent Norway at the conference. Because of the size of the Delegation, and because the Delegation was divided between three different universities, we also accepted the Conference Administration's request that we represent the Kingdom of Jordan. Two of our delegates were also elected to act as independent Justices in the International Court of Justice. These delegates did not represent any specific country.
The NorMUN Delegation is presented below.
Model United Nations (MUN) is a concept within which multinational diplomacy is simulated. The simulations take place at gatherings and conferences. The focus at such conferences is the activities in the different bodies of the United Nations. The participants at these events are students at different levels. There are conferences for both college students and high school students.
MUN conferences can be organised in a number of different forms and formats. Both the number of committees and the number of participants vary from conference to conference. The number of committees varies from 1 up to 15-20. However, the central features of these conferences are that the participants are allocated to different committees. In these committees the participants discuss current issues of importance to the relevant committee. The discussions are carried out according to pre-set rules of debate. These rules vary from conference to conference, but the overall purpose of the rules is to make sure that the simulation is carried out in a realistic and efficient manner.
The World Model United Nations Conference is organised annually by Harvard University students in co-operation with a host university. This year's conference was the tenth in succession. Previous conferences have been held in, among other places, Budapest, Brussels, Cambridge and Athens. The number of participants is increasing, with over 500 delegates on 15 different committees at this year's conference. The conference is international in scope, attracting participants from all continents.
The popularity of MUNs is increasing both in Europe and in USA. Especially in Europe more and more conferences are being organised and the knowledge about the MUN concept is increasing. Hence, the conferences that are organised may attract more international participation and interest and thus have increased realism.
The MUN concept is relatively new in Norway. Thus, for the time being there are not many conferences that are organised in Norway, and there are not many universities and colleges that have MUN societies. Nevertheless there is one national conference organised by the Norwegian UN Association, and the International Student Festival in Trondheim organised a simulation of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights earlier this year. The latter was international in scope and attracted participants from several countries.
Earth observation By Orbit Cs - best in Satelite Communication ...
NorMUN had two delegates in this committee, representing Norway and Jordan.
Agenda and policies
The committee addressed the topics of A: "The Future of Palestine" and B: "The Missile Defense System in America". Concerning topic area A, the committee was asked to focus on a long term solution of Israel's relationship with the Palestine people. Concerning topic area B, the committee was asked to examine the role of the first committee concerning a possible NMD.
On topic A, Norway seeks to support the peace process both politically and economically. At the same time Norway wants to keep a neutral and balanced attitude towards questions that remains to be negotiated. Jordan's foreign policy has always been strongly connected to and dependent on the situation in Palestine. Jordan wishes for a peaceful and just solution to the conflict, with Palestine as an independent state with Jerusalem as it's capital. Jordan, always supportive of the PNA, sought to organise its work in the committee in Palestine's best interest.
With regard to topic B, the premises of Norwegian security politics is that global security must be achieved through national security by common effort. Norway holds the vision of a complete disarmament of nuclear weapons. In this aspect Norway opposes the deployment of an American missile defense system. Norway sees the debate on Americas missile defense system as little adequate in a multilateral forum such as the UN. Such debate may only reduce the responsibility on states possessing nuclear weapons and reduce the political pressure on these. Jordan, on the other hand, acknowledges the potential danger of a new armsrace as a consequence of the American NMD, but does also recognise its lack of influence on this matter.
Norway and Jordan shared the view that the main objective on topic A would be to get Israel and the Palestine people back to negotiations. Jordan also stressed the need to increase the understanding for the need for recognition of Palestine as a state for these negotiations to be between two equal parties.
This approach would though be unrealistic in the WorldMUN, since such negotiations only could happen informally. In the formal debates Norway therefore urged that the committee should propose a UN framework for such negotiations, rather than seek to impose a solution on the parties. In the informal sessions Norway worked with different EU countries to write a resolution that would emphasize this. Portugal, Hungary and Norway then finished a resolution that would accomplish this.
Jordan instead seeked to add the dimension of statehood into the different resolution proposals. The debate was mostly fruitless, as no new ideas to solutions came up. All resolution proposals urged the two parties to reinitiate the peace talks, and did not differ much. Jordan worked closely with the other Arab League countries during the informal sessions, and several amendments were put forward by this group. The amendments were not passed.
The debate on topic area A took most of the time. Little time was therefore left to debate topic B. Most states, including Norway, took the floor to oppose a NMD and address the dangerous impact the implementation of such a system would have on the global arm balance. Norway and Jordan only took the floor to explain their position, and did not work on resolutions.
Outcome and conclusion
The resolution proposed by Hungary, Portugal and Norway on topic A was based on the idea that the two parties should address the conflict and that the implementations of any obligations made by the parties would be monitored by a neutral body established by the UN. Any breach occurring should be reported to the General Assembly suggesting incentives and sanctions according to the breach. After hectic informal work the resolution was finally passed with a great majority. Jordan supported this resolution, as it was the most realistic and balanced one. The resolution was passed without the support of Israel.
The conflict in the Middle East is a complex and difficult one. It would be realistic to say that a solution may never be reached in the frames of the UN. Representing a neutral country as Norway was challenging, when most delegates wish for a fast solution. The work was exciting and provided insight into the importance but limitations of negotiations in a multi international framework.
The committee did not have time to vote for any resolution on topic B.
For the Special, Political, and Decolonization Committee the agenda was preset to topic area A: "Caspian Geopolitics and Oil Conflicts", and B: "Humanitarian Intervention". However, after a brief debate initiated by Norway, the committee decided to concentrate on topic area B: Humanitarian Intervention first. The Norwegian Delegation believed that the SpecPol was not the appropriate body for settling the issue of Caspian Geopolitics. Although SpecPol could make suggestions and recommendations the absence of several of the involved states, such as Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran, attempting a fruitful debate would be pointless. The discussion of Humanitarian Intervention went into such depth and length that the committee was not able to address the issue of Caspian Geopolitics at all.
Norway believes that human rights, as they are stated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, express the basic and fundamental rights and freedoms of every individual. It is therefore the duty of all nations to respect and protect the human rights of their people, regardless of race, religion or other individual characteristics. Furthermore, Norway also believes that protecting and promoting universal human rights is one of the main responsibilities of the United Nations. When breaches of human rights occur within a state, this is not only a domestic issue for the state in question. On the contrary, this is a concern for the entire international community.
Norway believes that the UN should adopt a more activist position in order to fulfill its obligation of promoting and protecting human rights. It is also the opinion of Norway that the UN Charter currently gives the UN sufficient legal grounds to pursue such a policy, even when human rights abuses are only taking place within the country's borders.
The UN has a wide range of options available when humanitarian intervention is appropriate, from diplomacy and trade sanctions to full-scale military intervention. As a general point, humanitarian intervention should not be of a more extensive nature than is necessary, and intervention should be proportionate to the human rights abuses taking place. Also, sanctions should seek to protect the civilian population from unnecessary suffering.
Humanitarian interventions should have clear mandates, and the mandate should set grounds for a stable situation in the future, where human rights are respected. All member states should be responsible for financing missions, but the economic burden of each member state should be proportionate to their ability to contribute.
Along with other Western states Norway worked hard to promote human rights as the paramount factor and justification of the international community's right to intervene when situations of grave violations of human rights are evident. As human rights violations are not necessarily a domestic issue, Norway argued that human rights abusing states cannot hide behind the principle of national sovereignty.
Through the debate and caucuses Norway together with New Zealand, Canada the EU and other European states tried to establish guidelines for when intervention is called for and standards for rapid deployment of forces. We also worked to secure the flow of information to ensure that grave human rights violations are brought to the attention of the Security Council. The financing of interventions was also thoroughly debated, and solutions proposed. However a substantial part of the debate revolved around the issue of state sovereignty and how the human rights situation in a state can be regarded as an internal affair and not be subject of attention and intervention from the international community.
After long debates and several draft resolutions the committee adopted a resolution on the topic of Humanitarian Intervention. However, for Norway the resolution adopted was not ideal. Norway collaborated with New Zealand, Canada and other Western states on a resolution that dealt with the topic thoroughly and proposed solutions to several difficult issues. In the long process of resolution writing Norway was the co-author of two draft resolutions, first with New Zealand, Canada and other Western states, later in a larger group, also including the EU. The result was the introduction of a broad and united Western Bloc. Sadly though, in the voting process the proposed resolution fell due to a tied vote. A third resolution, introduced by the third world nations, was adopted. Due to the contents of that document Norway was saddened by the outcome of the committee.
The debate and work in the committee was good, but suffered from unrealistic representation of certain countries and no representation at all of other. More active participation from the US delegate would have been an asset to the debate, as well as having the UK present.
The Norwegian Delegation was recognized with an Honorable Delegate award for the committee work.
The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee of WorldMUN 2001 discussed topic area A: "Innovative strategies to Combat Ethnic Conflict: Redefining the UN Role". Since this is such a wide topic, we did not have time to discuss topic area B, "Famine in the new Millennium".
Norway supports the "Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations" (A/55/205, S/2000/809), better known as "the Brahimi Report". The Norwegian delegation therefore focused on the following points during the debate:
The Norwegian Delegation tried to get the other delegations to focus on the Brahimi Report. This was quite hard because only few of the other delegations, the Chair not included, had knowledge about this report. Together with the Hungarian and the Turkish Delegation we distributed a summary of the report to the other delegations. These three delegations, including Norway, also wrote a resolution on Crisis Management based on the Brahimi Report. Unfortunately this resolution failed. We did not even manage to get it "on the floor", because countries such as Sweden and Denmark (!) voted against the Resolution. This would probably not have happened in a "real" UN committee.
The debate ended after three days with a quite comprehensive resolution that was passed by the committee by a clear majority. The Norwegian delegation was satisfied with the resolution, even though we found it a bit too comprehensive. All our main interests, inclusive a HIV/AIDS program and focus on women's rights, were included in the resolution. Unfortunately we had to give up on a proposal from the Brazilian Delegation on placing an UN International Monitoring Agency (IMA) within the United Nation Institute for Mediation and Dispute Resolution (UNIMDR) in Oslo. This proposal failed because we could not afford it, as it was being based on "the voluntary offer of logistic and financial support from the Norwegian Government".
Bearing in mind that the Norwegian Delegation was represented with only one delegate in a large committee (approx. 75 delegates), we are pleased with what we managed.
The two topics for discussion in the World Health Organization Committee were "Health in Palestine and the Occupied Territories" and "Drugs in Developing Countries". The latter was chosen as the first topic to be discussed, as it was by most country delegates felt to be the one that influenced the lives of most people and states as well as being the subject upon which WHO could have the greatest impact.
National Aim and Interest
In the developing world a large percentage of the population die from curable diseases, which prevents many countries from achieving stability and economical growth. This affects the stability of the entire world. In the age of globalization, unified efforts to fight the infectious diseases are vital. Diseases do not know national boundaries. Particularly the HIV/AIDS epidemic has shown the world the need for multinational efforts.
Norway stressed the need for understanding drug supply in developing countries as a part of political and economical issues, and called for a greater cooperation between different bodies including WHO, WTO, The World Bank, as well as non-governmental and governmental organizations to improve health infrastructure in developing countries, assist training of domestic health workers, as well as increase supply of drugs, develop proper guidelines and oversee the distribution and use of drugs.
Norway, being one of the countries in the world that donates the largest percentage of the GNP to developing countries, was concerned about the fact that more than 50 % of the drugs donated to developing countries never reach the patients, as they are being stolen, sold on black markets or expire, and a very large percentage of the remaining drugs are mislabeled, expired or misused, which leads to side-effects and new diseases such as multi-resistant tuberculosis. This indicates that it is not sufficient to simply increase the amount of drugs being donated or sold at lower prices. There must also be a greater commitment on part of the donor countries to follow the drugs to the patients and oversee their use, as well as a greater willingness in developing countries to prioritize heath care, fight corruption and black markets, and facilitate the work of donor countries and organizations.
On the topic of Health in Palestine, Norway intended to act as a mediator between Israel and Palestine. Norway believed that improving Palestine health conditions would be in the interest of both the Israeli and the Palestine people, as a population suffering from poor economical conditions and health care is less likely to come to a peaceful solution when confronted with difficulties. The consequences of the al-Aqsa intifada, as well as the problems in Palestine health structure inherent in the political situation, increases the anger of the Palestine people, and lessens the control of the Palestine authorities, which prolongs and intensifies the conflict.
Most of the discussion about Drugs in Developing Countries was centered around patent rights, with focus on infectious diseases, particularly AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Unfortunately the controversial issue of patent rights polarized the discussion. Developing countries argued the right to parallel importing as health concerns should be prioritized over protection of intellectual property, while USA and many Western countries stressed the need to protect patent rights. Norway found herself in the position of working closer with Nigeria and South-Africa than for instance Germany, as Norway, while recognizing the need to respect the TRIPS agreement, felt that it was more in WHO's mandate to constructively suggest on how to increase drug donation and cooperate with the pharmaceutical industry, than to develop ways to protect intellectual property rights, which is rather in the mandate of WTO.
A resolution from the Western block did not pass, mainly because of its focus on the protection of patent rights and its failure to suggest ways of how to improve drug distribution. It also included suggestions of forming new bodies within the UN. Norway believed that forming separate bodies was not the right solution, as the problems are rather lack of funds and lack of cooperation than lack of UN bodies to handle health concerns. This view was shared by most countries.
A resolution that was the work of countries (including Norway) from all continents except Australia passed, probably as it to a greater extent reflected the concerns of both developed and developing countries. Several clauses that Norway worked for were a part of the resolution, including the need to control black markets and corruption, the need for governmental and non-governmental organizations to follow the drug to the patient, the need for less isolation of health issues from the economical and political situation in developing countries. Because of the limited amount of time left after the first discussion had been closed, there was a general agreement that there would be no attempt to pass a resolution on Health in Palestine. Instead the committee focused on two practical implementations that could improve the health situation for the Palestine people; firstly aid tunnels through Israeli and Palestine territories, and secondly a proposal to include Israeli staff in Palestine ambulances to oversee that they are not being used to transport weapon or terrorists. Norway acted as a mediator between the Palestine and Israeli delegates, and contributed to the agreements that were reached after many compromises.
There was some confusion concerning the mandate of WHO, which occasionally side-tracked the discussion. At times there was also a tendency from some of the delegates to make general, broad statements that did not bring the discussion forward. Except for the two points of criticism mentioned, there was a lot of interesting work and negotiation taking place. The more specific issues often touched upon general challenges such as improving cooperation between different UN bodies, recognizing building of health infrastructure as a means to building political stability, and the difficulty in protecting human rights while at the same time respecting every country's right to national sovereignty.
The Norwegian delegate was awarded a verbal commendation.
The committee's topics were "Meeting Children's Basic Health Needs" (topic A) and "Child Labour Exploitation" (topic B). On a majority vote the committee decided to discuss topic B.
The abuse of children takes many forms including sexual and labour exploitation. Children are easily intimidated, unable to form unions, and cannot demand decent wages. They are therefore an easy target for economic exploitation. Children forced into prostitution, slavery or hard work are often both psychologically and physically damaged. The most difficult problem to deal with is breaking the cycle of poverty in which the children become trapped as a result of work superseding education. Factors leading to the exploitation of children vary, including economic, social and cultural factors.
Norway sees child labour and exploitation as a serious problem on a global scale. The approach is to see the problem within its context, namely poverty. To overcome child labour a holistic approach is used where the need for poverty eradication, income-earning measures for poor families and the development of educational opportunities are stressed. Norway's policies and work in this area follows three main areas
In all of these areas Norway stresses the importance of cooperation with and between international organizations, local governments and NGOs. The delegation used these three areas as cornerstones for work and as basis for strategy in the committee.
At the outset a few things about the committee worked towards shaping the debate. Firstly, the majority of our committee had limited experience with MUNs from before. Secondly, not all countries met at sessions, which made it difficult to work out and keep up a viable strategy as far as cooperation partners were concerned. Finally, there was an unequal distribution of representatives between developed and developing countries. Only about 1/3 of the nations represented were developing countries. It was noted in committee that this was unrealistic as the issues on the agenda largely concerned developing countries.
Debate was very slow at times. In the beginning the mode of the debate (formal debate) seemed to hinder communication, as delegates would often be addressing different issues. In later sessions the committee moved into moderated and unmoderated caucuses where things worked much better. During unmoderated caucuses Norway worked actively with Denmark, UK and the US, and found this the best forum for discussion. We produced a working paper together with these states as well as Canada, Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria. Many working papers served as a basis for focused debate and discussion. Because of thorough discussion of draft resolutions and working papers, the final two resolutions largely represented consensus in the committee and were thus passed easily.
In resolution 1, which was put forward by the Russian Federation, UK, USA, Bulgaria, Norway, Canada, Belgium and Denmark, we called upon the ILO, local government institutions, and NGOs working with children to cooperate with UNICEF in establishing teams of "Mobile Children's Advocates". These advocates would among other things be in charge of detecting child exploitation, educating communities about children's rights and the importance of job training and compulsory education. We strongly urged a micro-credit subsidy for parents of children working in family agricultural plots, which in cooperation with the World Bank and the UNDP will provide a self-monitoring system in which adult job creation is the priority so that children will have the opportunity to attend school. We also reminded the multinational companies that they should adopt codes of conduct against exploiting child labour. In resolution 2, which was forwarded by Bangladesh, Columbia, India, Malaysia, Rwanda and South Africa, they recognised the need for a global awareness campaign to highlight the worst forms of child exploitation and, in doing so, emphasise the importance of penalising those accountable. They also urged all national governments of countries which house the headquarters of multinational companies implicated in the use of child exploitation, encourage the global public condemnation of such activity as being in breach of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention.
Our director was very good at directing the debate when things got a bit slow. She tried to balance the inequality in representation between developing and developed countries by urging double delegations to split up. The UK did so, and one delegate came to represent Bangladesh.
The experience of attending a WorldMUN-conference was fun and educational. Meeting young people from all over the world was very special. One got to form new acquaintances as well as experiencing the great town of Istanbul. It was interesting to experience how a committee works. How the participants have to negotiate, without compromising the position of their countries, to reach an agreement and solve far-reaching problems. The whole process was fascinating, and it showed us, among other things, how important it is to be able to put one's ideas across to the other delegates. However, our experience was that delegates often spoke "past each other" in formal debate. We feel that a challenge in the future will be to actually communicate within the framework of formal debate.
In the Commission on Human Rights topic area A, "Human Rights and Economic Development", was discussed first. None of the sessions were devoted to topic area B, "Prisoners' Rights".
On the issue of Human Rights and Economic Development we brought forward our opinions and the problem was to agree upon and discuss practical solutions. The debate on this topic was long and thorough, and the main focus was on multinational corporations and how to involve them in this process. The issue of funding for projects and the role of the media was also brought up during the course of debate. Norway managed to bring her views and interests to the floor and also introduced a draft resolution that was altered in some aspects. The result of the final resolution can be seen as a compromise between the countries that were in favour of economic growth and those countries focusing on human rights.
Regrettably there were tendencies of polarisation between the so-called Western world and the Asian and the African nations on this issue. The main conflicts were on the relationship between national sovereignty and human rights. Especially the African and Asian countries were worried that the Western countries would impose their cultural values on them when focusing on Human Rights. After thorough debate the committee was able to produce a resolution which addressed these issues in a way that most countries found to be in accordance with their national interests. However, the resolution was not passed unanimously.
Norway early established co-operation with the UK and the USA. At a later stage Norway also co-operated with Belgium, Switzerland and Italy. The UK and Italy shared with us an active role in the writing of the resolutions although this was not the resolution that was passed.
The World Model United Nations favours countries represented by experienced participants, and thus the working constellations and the domination of the debates were somewhat different than the situation in the actual United Nations. Nevertheless the different nations interests were represented in a realistic and serious manner. The Commission on Human Rights consisted of many eager delegates, and debate was intensive. Most issues of debate were however resolved productively, partly because of the intensive participation from all parties. The Norwegian Delegation appreciated the Director's efforts to explain the procedural rules, even though we were well acquainted with these beforehand. The Director's informative behaviour made it easier for all delegates to participate in debate on the same level. The delegates from Norway were however disappointed that there was no time for discussing topic area B Prisoners' Rights. The Norwegian delegates hold the opinion that the last two sessions could have been far more efficient in order to discuss the second topic.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees committee had two complex and challenging topics to discuss during the sessions in Istanbul. The UNHCR's mandate is "to lead and coordinate international action for world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems." The first topic, "Serb resettlement in Kosovo", required a broader perspective than what the mandate describes. The second topic, "Forced Repatriation", was more in bounds with traditional UNHCR activities.
Norway was very committed to both of the topics. However, because of the substantial Norwegian contribution both to the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), Norway was eager to discuss the topic of Serb resettlement first.
Norway strongly believed that an unstable situation in Kosovo affected the whole of Europe. Thus, this topic required attention and action on behalf of the international society. During the NATO campaign against Serbia, more than a million Kosovo Albanians fled the province. They have been able to return. The situation for the Kosovo Serbs is the complete opposite. After Serb forces pulled out, thousands of Kosovo Serbs have fled to Serbia proper.
Thus the UN, according to the resolution 1244, had a responsibility to facilitate the return of all refugees and internally displaced persons. In addition the protection of human rights was of utter importance to the Norwegian delegation.
Norway was also dedicated to topic number two which concerned forced repatriation of refugees. As an important aid donor, Norway wanted to focus on the struggles of the receiving countries in the South. Human rights abuses were not acceptable to Norway. However, the Norwegian delegation wanted to broaden the perspective of the discussion. By doing so the entire spectrum of the problem could be examined.
The Norwegian delegate wanted to focus on cooperation and consensus, rather than polarization and block formation. Norway thought it was important to build bridges between the different countries in the committee, and.wanted to facilitate a free and open dialog.
After a voting, the committee decided to start discussing topic number one. It turned out to be a very extensive issue, which actually consumed the entire number of sessions. The complexity of the topic forced the delegates to consider measures that were outside the mandate of the UNHCR. This made the Norwegian delegate realize how important coordination and cooperation among the different UN organizations are.
The committee had the pleasure to experience three guestspeakers. The first, a Harvard student acting as US major to KFOR, was rather unprofessional. He presented a very bias version of the situation in Kosovo and the mandate of KFOR. The whole act felt like a waste of time for the Norwegian delegate. The two other guestspeakers were excellent. Especially Mr. Bereket, a Turkish reporter from NTV. He had an impressive experience from the Balkans and firsthand information about the conflict. Ms. Furkava, which represented the UNHCR office in Ankara, also gave an informative lecture.
The committee was supposed to have more than fifty nations present. However only about twenty countries, at the most, were present. Thus the debate did not reflect the composition of the real UN. While discussing the issue of Serb resettlements, important countries like France and Russia were missing. Though the small size of the committee was a drawback, it also turned out to be a benefit. The delegates could interact more easily and each delegation received more speaking time than in other, bigger committees.
The debate was dominated by a large number of unmoderated caucuses. These discussions were rather informal, but they facilitated a free exchange of opinions. The committee only produced one resolution, but the consensus about the content was broad.
The Norwegian Contribution
Norway only had one delegate in the committee. It was the delegate's first WorldMUN, but she still felt that she was able to participate in and contribute to the discussion. Due to the small size of the committee, Norway's delegate had an excellent opportunity to influence the direction of the debate. She especially underlined the issues of human rights and confidence-building among the different ethnic groups.
The Norwegian delegate was very satisfied with the final resolution and felt that it covered the most important aspects of the topic.
The Norwegian delegate received the Honorable Delegate award.
Not being a UN committee, the Summit dealt with Middle Eastern topics in what was supposed to be a manner of realpolitik. The two topics were A: "Reforming Iraqi Sanctions" and B: "Women in the Middle East". The committee first debated the topic of sanctions against Iraq – then was introduced to a crisis: the Palestinian Authority had declared an independent Palestinian state and Israel was cutting off the infrastructure in Palestinian areas. There was very little time to debate the topic of women in the Middle East, and this was shortly and informally discussed in the end. Resolutions were produced on both the sanctions and the Palestine/Israel – issue.
At the moment, Norway plays a vital role on the topic area "Reforming Iraqi Sanctions" in the United Nations, as Chair of the Sanctions Committee for Iraq. Norway's aim on the topic was to change the situation in Iraq. While recognizing that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the sufferings of the Iraqi people, we still see the need for reforms.
Jordan's position in the Middle East is that of balancing the strong positions from the other Arab countries on one side and the Western countries on the other – always calling for peaceful solutions and trying to negotiate. It supports the Palestinian demand of having its own state, but unlike most other Arab states, it has a peace agreement with Israel. A small, poor country dependent on foreign goodwill, it takes the UK and US position seriously into account. But the sanctions on Iraq may be seen as a sanctioning of the whole region – the trade relations with Iraq used to benefit Jordan greatly, and Jordan's goal was to lift the sanctions or at least to allow for more trade in the region.
In debate, Norway stressed the need for socalled "smart sanctions". New sanctions should have a time limit and be adjustable. Norway saw it as a purpose to make the sanctions more effective, and to affect the Iraqi government instead of the innocent Iraqi people. Norway used its role as a neutral part, with no immediate national interest on the topic. During debate, Norway mostly shared the opinions and interests of Germany and the UK. The Norwegian delegate felt that it was difficult to debate with the Arab countries, and that these countries polarized the discussion.
Jordan's main ally was Egypt, whose position resembled that of Jordan itself. It also co-operated with all the other Arab countries and the UK. The UK took on a leading role in the negotiations, and functioned as a connection between the US and the Arab world. Given that the US went to extremes like demanding "legitimate" elections in Iraq if the sanctions were to be lifted, it made more sense for Jordan to accept the UK as a moderating player rather than together with Egypt to take on the role of negotiator itself. Jordan was several times asked to bring forward the arguments of other Arab countries who felt overrun by certain other delegates. Jordan and Egypt tried to gather the Arab countries in order to create a joint stand on the topic of sanctions – but met little understanding from western countries like Germany and the US, who would not let the Arab countries meet in privacy.
The Director asked Iraq to step out of character so that a resolution could be passed. This severely hurt the enthusiasm of the Jordanian delegate, as she saw it as a betrayal of the MUN spirit. It did, however, allow for the Summit to pass a resolution allowing another inspection team into Iraq. The Iraqi delegation accepted this demand, and the resolution allowed lifting of the sanctions as soon as the team, finding nothing, had left Iraq. As Jordan wanted the sanctions lifted, this suited the Jordanian delegation very well. Norway was also pleased with this outcome. Trade relations would then be re-established as soon as the sanctions were lifted.
The resolution passed on the topic of Palestine/Israel established an independent Palestinian state within the end of 2003. This too, was very much in line with the Jordanian position. Norway was also supportive of this outcome.
The Middle East Multilateral Summit was a small committee, having only 15-16 delegates. This made it easier for the delegates to participate often during the debate. The delegates were generally highly qualified, and put a lot of effort into making the debate realistic.
The Jordanian delegate felt that being Jordan was difficult. The main reason for this is probably that being Jordan in real life is also difficult. The balancing, the worrying of stating things too clearly and thereby removing Jordan from the goodwill of the West or the community of the Arab brotherhood, was always present. In addition to this, finding information about Jordan was problematic, as their official homepage is primarily a tribute to the late King Hussein (the updated one was not available during the time of preparation). The Jordanian delegation therefore played carefully and was a bit passive. Its success was in forwarding the opinions of the least outspoken ones among the other Arabs to the UK. Seeing the Middle East through Middle Eastern eyes was very educational. The frustration caused by working in a non-UN committee where only certain countries were invited, and where the powerful and wealthy dominated the play completely, has strengthened the delegate's belief in the necessity of the UN.
On the pre-set agenda for the North Atlantic Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) two topics were listed, NATO enlargement and the crisis in Kosovo. Norway held the view that both these topics were important and urgent. However, Norway advocated that the Council should focus its attention on the latter as this was considered to be the most important and urgent. Norway brought forward its views in this regard. After a short debate the Council unanimously decided to set the agenda according to the Norwegian opinion. The second topic, NATO enlargement, was not debated during the course of the conference.
With regard to the situation in Kosovo Norway held the opinion that this conflict has the potential to influence the peace, stability and security of Europe. Norway therefore strongly supported the involvement by NATO both in the past and in the future. The framework for the efforts must according to Norway's opinion be Security Council Resolution 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement. These documents provide a sufficient basis for the operations on the ground. For the time being Norway does not support an increase of the number of troops or an enlargement of the mandate area. Norway nevertheless acknowledges the situation in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as a potential threat to the stability and prosperity in the region. Norway also brought attention to the situation in the Ground Safety Zone between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia and Monte Negro. Norway did not find it beneficial to set an end date for the mission in Kosovo, but underlined that the goal of the mission is full withdrawal of all NATO forces on the ground in Kosovo.
In order to secure a lasting and viable solution to the problems in the region, Norway advocated the importance of co-operation between NATO and other organisations, both IGO's and NGO's. Of particular importance in this regard is the co-operation with UNMIK. This co-operation is in Norway's opinion essential in order to secure economical as well as political development in the region. Norway held the view that all measures that would advance the democratic development and the rule of law should be supported. However, Norway was not willing to make any statement with regard to the future political status of Kosovo.
Norway took an active approach to the issue during the course of the debate. The most prominent issues in the debate was the situation in FYROM, the security challenges on the ground in Kosovo, and the issues regarding the development of the region both politically, economically and socially. The debate was characterised by the fact that all the members of the Council shared a common perspective on the topic. The discussion therefore was more a question of reaching agreement on the details and finding a structure within which to write a resolution. The committee was able to adopt a resolution unanimously. Norway supported the resolution, but held back on issues that could contain statements on the future status of Kosovo.
During the course of the conference The North Atlantic Council was presented with a crisis. An Air France flight from Paris to Istanbul was hijacked by a group claiming to represent the UCK. On board the plane were President Jacques Chirac and Secretary General Lord George Robertson. The UCK demanded that NATO should contribute to the establishment of an independent Albanian state in Northern FYROM. The Council made several statements regarding this situation within which the hijacking was condemned. The Council did not meet the demands of the hijackers. It would have been beneficial if the crisis had been more realistic in scope and execution.
The International Court of Justice had two cases on the agenda: USA v. Iran ("Oil Platforms") and Guinea v. Democratic Republic of Congo ("Ahmadou Sadio Diallo"), both based on cases currently on the docket of the real ICJ. The Court decided to deal with the Ahmadou Sadio Diallo case first. Both NorMUN Justices voted in favor of this decision.
The Justices of the ICJ at WorldMUN are considered independent, which means that they don't represent any specific country. The Justices base their opinions on their personal legal knowledge and background. The Justices are not obliged to follow a country's policy, as the case is in other WorldMUN committees. The purpose of debate is to reach unanimity on a legally well founded verdict. This makes participation in the ICJ a different experience than participation in other committees. For a law student, it is also a valuable and unusual experience, as the students are given a rare opportunity to act and think as a judge.
In the Ahmadou Sadio Diallo case, the Court had to consider whether or not it had jurisdiction, before discussing the merits of the case. Both Justices from NorMUN considered that the Court had jurisdiction in the case, and that breaches of Mr. Diallo's human rights had been committed. Following a strenuous debate, the Court ruled that it had jurisdiction. Several Justices disagreed with this ruling, but no dissenting opinions were written. Having ruled on the jurisdiction, the Justices agreed to a large extent on the merits of the case. Debate was detailed and legally well prepared, and despite minor differences, the Court reached a unanimous verdict in favor of Guinea.
Time didn't allow a thorough debate on the Oil Platforms case. In this case, it was already decided by the real ICJ that the Court has jurisdiction, and the Court had only to deal with the merits. It was no time to reach a final verdict, but several legal issues were debated.
We think it's an advantage that the conference deals with real cases. However, the Director should consider whether it is possible to supplement the facts of the case more extensively beforehand. In the Ahmadou Sadio Diallo case, the counter-memorial was not available before the conference, and the facts of the case were incomplete. This may have hampered debate. The WorldMUN system of calling witnesses helps remedy this problem, but we felt that some of the witnesses didn't give the realistic responses that the situation called for. We would also like to point out one small aspect that surprised us: In the "Oil Platforms" case, Iran has filed the original application, and it is Iran that has brought the case before the ICJ. To call an Iranian witness only to let him behave like Iran does not even recognize the competence of the Court, to let refuse to answer questions, to let him insult the Justices, and so on, was in our opinion not only unnecessary, but highly unfortunate. The witnesses should be called to make debate more realistic, which means that witnesses must also act in a realistic manner. Only minutes before, an American witness had been charming, well-articulate and highly skilled. This difference does not create a neutral, objective debate.
In the "Oil Platforms" case, it was also generally a problem that several of the Justices were Americans. Some Justices – not all – seemed biased, and it was difficult to create a neutral, objective discussion on the merits of the case. The problem was increased since almost all Justices came from Western countries. The Justices from NorMUN consider that a system where also Justices are assigned specific countries beforehand may remove this problem. This could also provide the Justices with an increased knowledge of the different schools of thought in international law.
In our opinion, it was also a problem that the rules of debate were rather vague. On occasions, the existing rules also weren't maintained sufficiently by the Director, and these two issues resulted in an unstructured debate. When only the Justices who shout the loudest get their opinions through, it is extremely difficult for non-native English speaking Justices to voice their arguments. In all fairness, the situation improved towards the end of the conference.
The Justices from NorMUN also consider that it would be an advantage to have a law student as Director. The cases involve complicated issues of international law, where Justices and Director alike need extensive knowledge of both general and specific rules, both concerning treaties and customary law. When the Director in some regards lacks this knowledge, it is more difficult to keep the debate on track, and to develop the debate in the right direction. Should this alternative be unfeasible, based on the American system of legal studies, it might be an idea to make sure that the host director is a law student.
NorMUN would like to bring forward its views on certain issues regarding WorldMUN. First of all, the Members of NorMUN thoroughly enjoyed the conference. The conference was very well organized, and contained a good mixture of social activities and committee work. We sincerely appreciate all the work that has been put into the conference, to make it an exciting experience for all delegates.
At previous conferences, new delegates have experienced some difficulties in fully understanding the procedural rules of the conference. We therefore appreciate the introduction of a Procedural Rules Seminar at the first day of the conference, as this is a most welcome supplement to our own preparations in this regard. We hope that this initiative will be continued at future conferences.
However much we recognize the great work of the Conference Administration, we would also like to bring forward certain comments and suggestions that perhaps could improve conferences to come.
One of the exciting aspects of WorldMUN is the great variety of committees. However, we think that the number of committees this year was rather unproportionate to the number of participating delegates. This was most evident in some of the EcoSoc committees, and also in certain Specialized Agencies. Ideally, an EcoSoc committee should have close to 50 delegations, to resemble the real EcoSoc. Some committees this year had less than 15 delegations present, and this reduces the realism of the conference. This problem is most evident when vital countries are missing from debate. In some committees, it was also a problem that the ratio between developed and less developed countries was rather unrealistic. It would all in all seem beneficial to reduce the number of committees slightly, to allow for a more extensive representation in each committee.
A related issue is the unrealistic representation of vital countries that occasionally occur. We regard it as fundamental for the conference experience that such countries are represented by delegates with a comprehensive knowledge of the policy of the country. One suggestion might be to assign such countries to delegations that have performed well and distinguished themselves at previous conferences. We are aware that this raises certain practical difficulties, but maintain that this should be a goal for the country assignments.
The topics of the various committees are normally both interesting and challenging. This was also the case this year. However, in a couple of committees, the NorMUN delegates considered that some topics did not fall under the mandate of the committee. This made debate difficult, as the delegates experienced the additional problem of not knowing what action the committee could decide or recommend.
The Members of NorMUN enjoy the concept of adding crises to the committees, as this is an additional challenge to the knowledge of the delegates and the work in the committee. This year, some crises were perhaps a bit unrealistic. We consider it very important that the crises are very well planned and prepared, to facilitate a smooth implementation in the committee.
WorldMUN is different from many other MUN conferences as awards are assigned to some delegates in each committee. NorMUN is somewhat ambivalent towards the assignment of awards. We recognize that the awards provide for an additional motivation to perform well in the committees. However, we are also cognizant of the fact that the awards can deflect the focus of the delegates from the main purpose of the conference. It is important that the committee work is not directed solely at winning awards. A measure in this regard is to make sure that the criteria for the assignment of awards reflect the realistic scope of the conference and that the roles of different countries are taken into consideration.
The members of the NorMUN delegation to the 2001 Harvard World Model United Nations in Istanbul all think that their participation at the conference was an exiting and educational experience. MUN conferences provide a stimulating and important supplement to the ordinary academic activities at the university. Thus, NorMUN also in the future plans to organize delegations to WorldMUN.
NorMUN also wishes to extend her gratitude to the people and organizations that have provided us with essential support and advice. Both the preparations for and the participation at the conference have benefited greatly from these contributions. We hope that the cooperation and contacts can be maintained also for the future. Furthermore, we hope that this report has provided an overview of the project we have carried out.
On behalf of the Norway Model United Nations Society,
Oslo, June 9th 2001
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