SCRAP Representatives Attend Model United Nations in New York

united nations building in nyc

 

From 24-28 March, SCRAP representatives attended a Model United Nations Conference in New York, as part of the delegation from the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) of the School of Oriental and African Studies. SOAS represented the Central African Republic, which was interesting from an arms control perspective since the very day the simulation started, rebels from the Sékéla took over the Presidential palace and ousted President Bozizé.

SCRAP representatives sat in the First Committee of the General Assembly, which was composed of more than 200 participants. A vote was organized to determine which item was to be top of the agenda. After negotiations, it was agreed that “Combating the Illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons” (SALW) was the most important topic for the Conference.

During the SCRAP Conference in the UN headquarters in Geneva, the concept of ‘humanitarian disarmament’ was recalled by Peter Herby (see report on the Conference below). SCRAP representatives thought that it was a good idea to bring up this concept during the negotiation to see what young students from around the world thought about the idea.


Unfortunately, the debate focused largely on education measures as the main means to counter the illicit trade in SALW. Lots of countries took the floor, but it was sometimes hard to figure out where the debate was heading (for example: Qatar asking countries to stop the funding of rebels in Syria). The grading system and the procedure left little space for the SCRAP proposal and outside the box thinking, which is why we did not manage to have this concept implemented in one of the two resolutions the First Committee voted on.

Overall, this experience was very insightful since it showed how people outside the field of arms control and disarmament would react to an initiative such as SCRAP. Students, whether they were studying international relations or not, were very interested by the proposal, but at the same time reluctant to implement it in a resolution. It seemed that the structure of Model UN, which is close to the real UN setting, restricted outside the box thinking. In the future, I think SCRAP would benefit from reaching out to other Non Governmental Organizations in order to build on civil society.

Gautier Castillo, is a SCRAP Project Officer studying for a Master’s degree at CISD, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

References:

Report on SCRAP Conference in Genva:

http://www.cisd.soas.ac.uk/Editor/assets/scrap%20un%20discussion%20report%202013.pdf

 

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