UN and Youth: The future is here and now

  • By julia
  • 06 Apr, 2017
By Alan Avila
Now, more than ever, The Arctic is facing a tremendous change.
For many of us, the Arctic may seem very remote in terms of geography and relevance. However, the region plays a key role in regulating the world's climate. If climate change continues at predicted rates, it will have profound consequences for us all. The question that play on people's minds is: How me, a single individual, can make a difference? On my humble opinion, we can't. At least not alone. Working as a team, with organization like UN or UNESCO, that helps create guidelines and helps unify nations, is one of the solutions.

Today, we greet not only the future, but the present of this world. People like the delegates in this conference are preparing themselves to make a difference in the future. We are really happy to see the involment of our youth. We are helping build the structure of this future representatives of the nations, that will build the road for future generations.

The obstacles along the way are many. Day by day, new perspectives appear in the world, sometimes creating an imbalance, that can be affected by the own interests. It is our job to reach agreements that, as our honorable organizer Sandra Mitts emphasized, not only benefit a few, but we create a common good in society.

MUN is just a simulation; A training for what the outside world will find us. However, regardless of the difficulty of the obstacles; To see all these developing minds in the problems of the planet, we can realize that the future does not look so bad after all.

Keep up the good work, and thank you for your dedication in this great work.
By julia 09 May, 2017

FinMUN 2017 has ended, delegates have returned home and the organizers have finished all their conference-related tasks. It’s been a while since the conference came to an end, so now is the time to look back and sum up the conference.

 

I sat in both the Environmental Assembly and in the Security Council, spending most of my time in the latter. Being the primary point of contact between the delegates and the organizing team in the days before the conference, I had gotten to know some of the delegates beforehand and I had an idea of the skills, experience and enthusiasm levels of all the delegates selected for the conference. Having said that, the level of research, commitment and professionalism shown by the delegates in both committees came as a surprise, a very pleasant one at that, starting on day one of the committees.

 

The conference ran smoothly, not a single person was lost and the organizing team was on top of their game on all things conference-related. The discussions and debates held in the committees was sometimes heated, but advances were made and both committees came up with resolutions that passed. This was especially impressive on the part of the Security Council, seeing that the topics chosen by the chairs were on issues that one or more of the permanent members, who have a right to veto any rulings, had an interest in, often not shared by other permanent members of the council.

 

The United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) focused on the minority rights and Arctic environmental protection, as well as sustainable tourism in the Arctic. UNEA passed a resolution as the first of the two committees, calling for joint efforts to fight climate change, increase economic opportunities in the Arctic and tighten environmental requirements of companies. The resolution also called for clean and renewable energy to be promoted within the signatories.

 

The Security Council (SC) focused on oil drilling in the Arctic and the demilitarization of the Arctic. Debate focused heavily on issues of national sovereignty, as member states from the European Union pushed hard on the two superpowers, Russia and the United States, to limit both oil drilling and military action in the Arctic areas. Tempers flared at times, as is normal when these issues hit so close to home, but the delegates assumed the views, behavior and rhetoric of the countries they represented extremely well. In the end, the superpowers could join the other members in accepting some limitations on both oil drilling and demilitarization, but the far-reaching goals of the European Union member states, and other members within the council, were left far out of the reach of the resolution.

 

Outside of the debates, FinMUN provided the delegates with visits to Finnish ministries, the embassies of the United States and of the Kingdom of Sweden, Helsinki City Hall and treated the delegates to a quick introduction to Finnish traditions, both student and regular, in the forms of a sauna evening and a sitz party. The delegates headed home happy and I believe we’ll be seeing many of them again next year.

 

Tomi

Head of Delegates, FinMUN 2017

By julia 09 May, 2017

After days of heated negotiations, during which the world’s superpowers pointed fingers at one another for either obstructing progress towards world peace or meddling in the affairs of a sovereign state, the members of the United Nations Security Council have agreed on steps to reduce military actions in Arctic regions.


During the negotiations there were suggestions of a demilitarized zone in the Arctic, bans on nuclear weapons and other limitations that were mainly vetoed by the top two countries with nuclear weapons and military actions in the arctic circle, the United States of America and the Russian Federation. It was a rare thing to see that the views and goals of the Russian Federation and the United States of America were shared to the extent that they were and to see that the strongest opposition to the superpowers came from a unified group of European member states.

 

The Security Council at FinMUN 2017 had a great conference, marked by heated debate, well-researched arguments and diplomatic deals being struck. The delegates with more experience let their talents be shown and the younger delegates took huge leaps during the conference, so that in the end the Security Council was full of talented, experienced and driven delegates.
By julia 08 Apr, 2017

On 7th April 2017, FinMUN also simulated a press conference at the Security Council where the chairs were interviewed. The Chairs expressed their satisfaction with the discussion between the delegates on the demilitarization of the Arctic. Delegates discussed about creating a framework that will lead to a stronger resolution. The presidency of the council expressed its wish to have strong independent resolutions. Moreover, the Chairs reminded that Security Council was created to deal with difficult issues and that the international community will continue to look for solutions within the multilateral security framework.

The press conference was also attended by the delegate of the Russian Federation at FinMUN who expressed his satisfaction about the cooperative attitude with other major powers at the Security Council. However, Russia expressed its concerns regarding a number of European countries pushing for a counterproductive narrative. Furthermore, Moscow expressed that it has no intention to send the military to the Arctic and reiterated that every move of Russia has been within national borders. The Russian delegate expressed its concerns over other nations that make military moves outside of their borders, including in the Arctic. Additionally, the delegate accused some countries to show less respect to the law of the see, especially in regards of the continental shell. Also, Russia seemed satisfied with the negotiations with the USA regarding it as a very cooperative relationship under the new administration. The Russian delegate expressed that there is a sense of working towards progress and overcome misconceptions with a firm belief to tackle environmental issues related to international security. For the next sessions, Russia expressed its will to work in bilateral and multilateral settings including the Arctic Council, with a special mention on protecting the indigenous populations and hope to engage with further cooperation with the western countries.

Finally, the Russian delegate made a kind reminder expressing that international law is binding and underlined the importance to have an open dialogue among all Member States present a the Security Council. 

By julia 08 Apr, 2017

On 8th April 2017 the United Nations Environmental Assembly of FinMUN adopted a resolution on Minority Rights and Environmental Protection. After intense discussion and negotiations the following submitters have sponsored the resolution: The United States, Poland, The United Kingdom, Turkey, France, Argentina, New Zealand, The Netherlands. Additionally, Peru decided to become a signatory to show support to the overall objectives of the resolution.

During the negotiations countries expressed their concerns about the global warming effects and insisted on the importance of following the goals set in the Paris Agreement to preserve minority rights and promote environmental protection. Moreover, delegates stated their fears about the loss of biodiversity including the alarming situation of endangered polar bears. Additionally, many countries expressed their support to the indigenous peoples in the Arctic who face severe consequences of climate change. Delegates called for further cooperation within the international community through scientific evidence in order to tackle climate change. Furthermore, carbon-neutral sources of energy were encouraged to be promoted among signatories. Member States recommended enhancing economic opportunities in the Arctic while strengthening environmental standards for companies. Future scientific research was considered as crucial in order to monitor the effects of climate change and produce new policies in order to tackle root causes. The UNEA resolution encouraged empowering the voices of indigenous peoples concerning environmental issues in international organizations as well as including them in the decision-making process.

Finally, the resolution was adopted by consensus. The Chairs expressed their satisfaction with the great work done by the delegates!

By julia 07 Apr, 2017

On 6th April 2017, the Swedish Embassy in Finland warmly welcomed FinMUN 2017 on the first day of simulation of the Security Council. His Excellency Ambassador Anders Ahnlid invited FinMUN participants to a reception. Mr. Jonas Wendel , First Secretary of the Swedish Embassy in Helsinki gave a lecture to the FinMUN's Security Council on the role of the United Nations regarding the multilateral security system and the environment in the Arctic.

With views to the sea in one of the most beautifully located embassies in Helsinki, the Security Council started its first session. Delegates, fully immerse in the grandiose diplomatic atmosphere at the most historical room of the embassy, delivered their opening speeches on the first topic to addressing the demilitarization of the Arctic. Moreover, oil drilling and security in the Arctic will be discussed.

Participants could participate in a sincere conversation with the Ambassador and the Chargé d’Affaires allowing university students to learn from an insightful perspective about the world of diplomacy.

The evening session was followed by a session of diplomatic sauna where delegates could culturally “break the ice” and continue with the negotiations.

By julia 07 Apr, 2017

On 7th April 2017 the Ministry of Environment welcomed the participants of FinMUN 2017. Such a visit was of particular importance given that Environment and Security are the topics of the conference that the Security Council and the Environmental Assembly are currently discussing at the simulation.

The presentation by Henna Haapala, Ministerial Adviser, and Johanna Hämäläinen, Senior Officer, at the Ministry of Environment addressed the challenges regarding the degradation and fragmentation of the environment, institutional framework and policy implementation. Some of the most pressing challenges include thawing of permafrost, coastal erosion, challenging advance of tree-line, increased shrub cover in tundra, shift of vegetation in zones and issues regarding river flows, lake water temperature, ice-free seasons. All those aspects affect population sizes, species distribution and breeding areas. Therefore, life modes of local indigenous populations are severely impacted.

Regarding the global impacts of changing climate in the Arctic, President of Finland Mr. Niinistö recently affirmed, “if we lose the Arctic, the whole world will suffer”. A direct impact of Arctic ice and snow melting, enhances acceleration of the global climate change through the melting of glaciers that accelerate sea level rise and thawing permafrost that releases additional carbon dioxide and methane.

We may feel traumatized by the consequences of climate change. However, there is not enough regulation to limit the causes. Participants felt that there is a need for further awareness raising. Politicians need to take further into account what scientist and research studies show. Nevertheless, regulations remain too loose as globally many pollutants continue their activities. The stubbornness of long-range transported pollutants such as persistent organic pollutants including mercury with other heavy metals is especially worrying.

The Arctic Council is a forum inspired in 1991 by a ministerial conference during the Rovaniemi Process and was finally established in 1996 by the Ottawa Declaration. However, note that military and security issues are excluded from the mandate of the Arctic Council. The current members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and USA. Indigenous organizations are consulted and included in the decision-making process of the Arctic Council. In addition, there are also twelve observers: France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore and India. Institutionally, the Arctic Council decision-making process comprises ministerial meetings that draw the general guidelines. Then senior Arctic officials cooperate with working groups and task forces to implement the guidelines. Task forces are operating during a limited period for a very specific mission while working groups function on a permanent basis. Examples of working groups are the Arctic Contaminants Action Program, Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program. Examples of an expert group is on Black Carbon and Methane.

The priorities of the Finnish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council include environmental protection, meteorological cooperation, connectivity and education. The framework for the environmental cooperation is based on the framework set by COP21 Paris Agreement, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, as well as strengthening the Arctic Council and ensuring continuity throughout the implementation of the decisions. The top priorities of the Ministry of the Environment of Finland include mitigating climate change and adapting into the new situation, protecting fragile ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable use of resources, oil spill prevention and preparedness and pollution prevention. Additionally, there are some crosscutting issues including indigenous and local knowledge, sustainable development goals and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Participants asked questions including the transition towards a low carbon economy to mitigate the causes of climate change, for example, in a private basis by choosing to buy electric cars that could be recharged by electricity produced from renewable energies. Refreshments were served.

By julia 07 Apr, 2017
The topic discussed is Minority rights and Arctic environmental protection (1).
By julia 06 Apr, 2017

The unique opportunity to participate in the biggest Model UN in the land of saunas and salmiakki: FinMUN! We are ready to kick off the simulation of the United Nations in Finland. Blue sky that matches with the many flags of Finland celebrating the 100 years anniversary of this Nordic country and the special occasion that the UN Youth Association of Finland is celebrating its 50 years of history. The cozy and picturesque atmosphere of Helsinki is welcoming international students from all over the world. The organizing team has been working for months preparing for this moment. Now the time has arrived and FinMUN organizers are welcoming participants with a warm smile!

Security and the environment in the Arctic are the issues addressed at the Security Council and UN Environmental Assembly of FinMUN 2017 . Over 60 university students are gathering for the opening ceremony hosted at the European Union Office in Helsinki. Welcoming remarks were given by Selene Tenn , Director General of FinMUN 2017. Keynote speakers included Finn Tarp , Director of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research. His remarks encouraged youth to engage in the Sustainable Development Goals process by taking local action. Francis Uy , Deputy Head, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner of the Embassy of Canada to Finland, exposed how it is possible to make compatible trade with sustainable development and respect for the environment. Ilmi Salminen , UN Youth Delegate of Finland 2017, shared her inspiration on how youth can get involved with the UN and discussed Security Council resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security. Marja Helander , photographer, presented the life of Sami indigenous communities through artistic photographies and videos to raise awareness about the environment and indigenous communities living in harmony with nature in the Arctic. Sandra Mitts , Secretary-General  officially inaugurated FinMUN 2017 with great remarks on the importance of the role of youth to take this opportunity to make a difference engaging in fruitful debates on the environment and security. Participants enjoyed delightful traditional Finnish pulla with refreshments. Young delegates appreciated the opportunity to mingle and get to know each other’s role in the simulation. Students exchanged impressions with keynote speakers and met with Nuutti Kiiveri , Security Council Head Chair and Mathilda Timmer and Nadja Filina , as Assistant Chairs; as well as for the Environment Assembly, Jasmin Kopra , Head Chair, and Thuy Vo and Milla Antikainen as Assistant Chairs. The Security Council will deal with the topics of 1) Demilitarization fo the Arctic and 2) Oil drilling and security in the Arctic . The Environment Assembly will deal with the topics of 1) Minority rights and Arctic environmental protection and 2) Sustainable tourism in the Arctic .

The opening ceremony was followed by a reception at the beautiful Helsinki City Hall to learn more about the local history and culture with food and drinks. Participants felt warmly welcomed by Ritva Viljanen , Deputy Mayor of Helsinki in charge of Educational and Cultural affairs, Kata Pääkkönen , President of FinMUN among others.

Additionally, Mirna Aho , President of UN Youth Association of Finland joined the informal meeting with Pau Petit , President of the UN Youth Associations Network (UNYANET) to discuss about the upcoming UN Youth Associations General Assembly scheduled for October 2017.

By julia 06 Apr, 2017
By Alan Avila
By julia 28 Mar, 2017

My name is Tomi Peltonen and I am the Head of Delegates for this year's Finnish Model United Nations: the Arctic.

 All the delegates have come to know me as the person asking you for information, money and documents, but that part is now behind us, so congratulations: you can now focus your attention solely to the conference ahead, to coming up with persuasive arguments, to coming up with a plan of attack and to just enjoying the MUN-experience!


When you arrive at Helsinki you can look forward to, along with the conference, interesting visits to embassies and government organizations, evening activities and a quick introduction to Finnish student traditions. The secretariat and the organizing team has worked hard to provide you with an MUN-experience that you'll remember for years to come. You'll learn more once you arrive!


This year the theme is the Arctic, which is host to a variety of issues: global warming, territory claims, oil drilling issues, minority rights and so on. The committees of FinMUN 2017, the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Environmental Assembly, will be debating some of the toughest issues that are facing the UN today, with a special emphasis on the Arctic region. The theme ties in with Finland taking over as the chair of the Arctic Council from the United States of America in May of this year.


But back to the actual conference: when you arrive, you will be met by the registration team and given the instructions you need to get around town to all the places you need to be at. I will be joining you on Thursday and will be with you until the end of the conference. Remember that the Secretariat and the organizing team are there for you, should you have any questions or concerns.


See you in a few weeks!

 

Tomi,

Head of Delegates

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