Opening day

Posted on : by : Coman Tudor

This article presents some of the highlights of the opening day of this edition of Laude MUN.

The Opening Ceremony

Tova Ben-Nun Cherbis, founder and president of the Laude-Reut Educational Complex, started the ceremony with an introductory and motivational opening speech, followed by a welcoming speech from Dr. Gabriela Hartescu, thus showing the support from the Romanian Banking Institute. Dr. Anton Comanescu then explained in detail the inner-workings of the real counterpart of our ECOFIN committee. His excellency also showcased the repetitive nature of failure through a intricate ,,bear-hunter” allegory, while suggesting information sources such as The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Mihaela Corina Bouleanu, from OTP Bank, presented the stages and processes of Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing, while describing the procedural framework of K.Y.C. (Know Your Customer). She presented K.Y.C as being mandatory and reliable. Robin Andreas Scrieciu, Conference Manager, talked about his time as a Secretary General in 2015 and the evolution of Laude MUN, while Maria Progloff, Secretary General, showcased all the inner-workings of this edition of Laude MUN.

General Assembly

China, France, The Russian Federation, the UK and the USA entertained the delegates with their opening discourses on the general topics from all the committees. They have achieved this successfully, while some of the countries

The ECOFIN committee

Two delegates from our exchange program with Israel entertained us with their motions and speeches. The entire committee held a mock session in order to show first-timer delegates how MUN debates work. This mock debate had the popular among teen topic of ,,milk or cereals first?” A few diplomatic gems that came into existence from this exercise were ideas such as ,,milk should be distributed equally to every cereal”; ,,is the USA willing to bomb any country that puts cereals first” and all-time classics such as the Netherlands supporting crunchy cereals or that the USA somehow calls out The Russian Federation for nuclear testing.

The actual on topic session was about Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing. There are a few events that happened during this time:

  • the delegate of Bulgaria kicks off the session with the suggestion of keeping track of personal information through a program very similar to the NSA
  • the delegate of India talks about its own history with money laundering and wants to cooperate with other countries to find a viable solution for Romania
  • the delegate of Italy shares its own views on organised crime and black markets which should lead to more surveillance
  • the delegate of The Netherlands brings to the table the idea of monitoring transactions
  • in response the UK and the USA accuse Netherlands of smuggling 1.2 mil euros through Coffee Shops which might be used for money laundering. The accused denies both of the claims
  • the USA calls Romania’s surveillance system very vulnerable. Romania, in response: ,,We’re working on it.”
  • Romania rejects the accusations of Netherlands and the USA, which have stated that Romania has blocked the activity of 40 NGO’s such as ,,Salvati copiii” and of the many politicians that have recently been arrested for money laundering
  • the delegates of China and The UK ask The Russian Federation about its own money laundering problems to which it replies that they’re ,,doing everything in their power”
  • the Syrian Arab Republic calls back all its emigrants since the Civil War
  • the USA states that it has established Anti-Money Laundering programs since 2001 and calls for a moderated caucus.

There were also 4 moderated caucuses in this first day of ECOFIN, in which the following happened:

  • The first was about solutions for preventing terrorist financing; nothing was definitive, though, and no resolution could be established
  • The second was about the effects of money laundering on the world: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: ,,affects all markets”; China:,,leads to human trafficking and drug markets”; USA: ,,Ghost Companies, illicit fronts, endless resources, legitimate companies going bankrupt”. The UK invokes another moderated caucus. Russia objects. The UK prevails.
  • A considerable event that happened in the third moderated caucus is the UK proclaiming itself to be crucial, while still no resolution is being proposed
  • The last moderated caucus was focused on the effects of terrorist financing. The UK discusses charity vs. jihad and decides to investigate fishy charities. Bulgaria, on the other hand, suggests that businesses are covered in plain sight and that should be tracked from the beginning. The delegate of Syria says that „[the] Internet promotes terrorist activities”.

In the second session of the ECOFIN committee was highlighted by the USA’s request of further investigation upon undercover ops. Russia suggests that Interpol should be part of this operation and China holds USA’s gun laws responsible for the increase of terrorism. A fifth moderated caucus takes place in this session. Concluding this day’s debate, all delegates make a point for finding a definitive resolution and conclude the promising beginning of the MUN.

The SOCHUM committee

From the beginning of the session , the atmosphere revealed to be more than pleasant due to the fact that chairs kindly introduced themselves and the rules of procedure as well as the delegates which were looking forward to meeting each other and debating with passion.

Pakistan occupies the 6th place on the scale of child marriage in the world and it is supposed to be banned by 2020. Each delegate agreed on the fact that children are being victims of their parents and they do not earn the future they deserve by simply because their rights are being violated. Marriage is something serious and children are not prepared to start their sexual life and become parents as well as being in charge with the household duties. Sometimes the local traditions lead the parents to marry their children before they are born because they want to keep them safe from danger such as sexual violence which is actually increasing as the spouses are elder than their wifes, a problem that often disturbes the balance of the family. More problems that should be taken into consideration are affecting children’s mental health and psychological behaviour, diseases of all types (especially pregnancy related health risks) and not having the right to an education(most families do not have the facilities to send their children to school or the religion mentality mentions that women should take care of the house which does not require high qualifications or large amount of knowledge-leading to discrimination).

The first solution seems to be setting the minimum age of marriage at 18 (the current law sets 16 for girls and 18 for boys-a discriminatory perspective). The delegate of Pakistan exposed that they’ll be looking forward to enforcing this law by raising awareness of the issue with its consequences mostly on education instead of persuading the Islamic religion leaders to abolish their beliefs as it will take a long time to change that. They have lived their entire life based on this tradition and civilians might face difficulties in adapting their mentality which should be treated with both respect and patience.The delegate of China also agreed with that statement emphasising that they do not encourage these practices but there is no way to make the leaders understand the actual consequences so collaborating with local authorities might be more effective. The delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is also an Islamic country added that imposing laws based on psychological tests and banding marriage without the children commitment should help as well.

This issue is really devastating with links not just in terms of money and education but also in domestic violence, depression, anxiety, narcotics addiction, alcohol or even suicide. The delegate of Norway illustrated with both frustration and grievance the murder of Shafilea Ahmed, a 17-year-old British Pakistani girl which was killed by her parents as she refused to marry her first cousin and thought of being too Westernised. Her impact of the speech succeeded in pointing how terrifying and horrible can these mentalities become if they are not stopped or limited and emphasized once more that parents are not conscious of their actions.

Overall the discussions were really challenging and full of plenty ongoing motions which I strongly consider that will end their way with enlightening solutions (such as the punishment that chairs gave: singing and dancing the well known „baby shark” phenomenon).

The UN Extraordinary Session

The first day in the Extraordinary Session had a smooth start. Some of the delegates were a bit shy in the beginning, but after a short briefing done by the chairs, the delegates were eager to start the debates.

The motion to verify the Quorum was entertained and shortly after a mock started, so that the delegates got a better understanding of the structure of the committee and of how to use the platform that replaced the usual notepaper used for directives. The topic of the mock was a friendly one – the banning of Uber by the Romanian Government. After getting a taste of how the actual committee session will be, the delegates were a little “braver” and all the more eager to start the debates on the official topic: the Iranian Programme.

The session was composed of two parts: the first one is similar to the other committee as in that the delegates presented their points of view on the given topic. The second part involved the crisis. From the six updates that came during the day, the ones that stood out the most were the putting down of the Iron Dome, the ground missle that hit Ashdod and Israel’s regaining control of the Iron Dome.

Unfortunately, by the end of the day no solutions were found for the ongoing crisis.

The SC committee

The SC debates focused on the 2008 Georgia invasion, thus introducing the delegates in a historical context. The emergency session is taking place in late August 2008, with the states starting to discuss the humanitarian and military matters. They started working towards ceasing fire agreement between Russia and Georgia. The direction of the discussions suggest that every state is willing to make compromises, but no one is taking actual steps towards this goal. To conclude the day, Russia and Georgia argued upon the sovereignty of the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while both keep the silence.

The DISEC committee

The committee debates started with the first topic, „Approaching the issue of illegal weaponry trafficking in the Central African Republic”. The delegated introduced to their fellows their position. A moderated caucus was invoked to find solutions regarding the theme. At the same time, the deputy PGA replaced the delegate of Central African Republic (which was absent due to some diplomatic issues) and gave an edge to the whole committee. The discussions were supplemented with a discussion about the national sovereignty. In the end of this day, Central African Republic is requesting more and more aid from the UN charter.

Editing team:

Andrei-Lorin Vacariu – Editor, ECOFIN, SC & DISEC committees

Maria-Cecilia Minea – Editor, SOCHUM committee

Alexandra Stoina – Editor, UN Extraordinary Session

Tudor Coman – Deputy Chief of Press, Editor-in-Chief

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