11 March, 2010: UNON urges Model UN students to embrace common interests
[New York | Author: UNIC Nairobi]
The ninth annual session of the Kenya Model United Nations (KMUN) is scheduled to conclude with resolutions and agreements on Friday, 12 March, at the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON). Over 600 students from 12 universities across the country are participating in the conference which began on Tuesday, 9 March.
In his keynote speech, UNON Director-General Achim Steiner underlined the need to shun individual interests and embrace common ones if global challenges were to be addressed effectively.
He expressed his delight with the progress made by Kenyan youth movements in furthering common goals of the UN - creating peace, developing friendly relations, cooperating in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian challenges, and promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.
The Director-General reminded the delegates of the need to have an institution such as the UN to bring together nations to find solutions to the conflicts engulfing the world.
Taking an example of Somalia, which had known no peace for several years, Mr. Steiner commended the Government of Kenya for hosting many refugees from the neighbouring country. He noted that peace and conflict resolution among the youths and the world at large would make the world a better place for all.
Turning to environment issues, he questioned: “How do you perceive a forest next to you being degraded to pave way for settlement because of refugee influx?” He went on to say that the UN Environment Programme was fully committed to addressing desertification, climate change and water scarcity which had diverse effects in many countries, and he made a link between environmental degradation and conflicts.
He then referred to the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and said that the Organization was standing alongside the most vulnerable and victimized to ensure that they had been assisted in a timely manner.
Mr. Steiner concluded his remarks by commending and acknowledging the enthusiastic KMUN delegates for being imaginative and ambitious. He stressed that they were a driving force for other young people.
In his address, the Secretary-General of the KMUN conference Paul Gathara described the KMUN as one of the best movements the country has ever had. “There can be no doubt that the Kenya Model United Nations is one of the most unique, dynamic, progressive and empowering youth organizations regionally, because it's a reflection of who we are as individuals.”
Mr. Gathara reminded the delegates of the tasks ahead in coming up with realistic resolutions and binding agreements.
In his welcoming remarks, UN Information Centre (UNIC) Representative Tetsuo Maximilien Ohno emphasized the importance of the Model UN exercise and congratulated KMUN on the creation of the Director of Communications. Mr. Ohno stressed how effectively the Model UN can play the role of dialoguing between the UN and young people. He concluded by inviting the students to participate in the forthcoming Global Model UN conference to be held in Malaysia.
The Kenya Model United Nations conference includes support from the UN Information Centre in Nairobi.
Middle school students from Kenya, Uganda and Zambia participate in a Model UN at UNON
Earlier this year on 27 Janury, about 800 students from Kenya, Uganda and Zambia converged at UNON to participate in a Middle School Model UN.
The UNON Director-General Achim Steiner welcomed the students, reminding them how Model UNs are important to enlighten the young people on how the Organization operates. He explained that such platforms can help students understand the challenges that, through its 192 Member States, the UN faces during the course of its work.
He stressed how vital it was for young people to understand, appreciate and participate in the issues that the UN is involved with, since, as the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations begins "We the Peoples...", it includes everybody.
The Middle School Model UN is held annually at UNON. Delegates range in age from 11 to 14 years old.