UN Day 2011
Conference in reverence of the 66th anniversary
of the entry into force of the Charter of the United Nations
21st of October 2011,14:30 to 18:00
Palais des Nations
“The UN in our day-to-day”
2011 has been a year rich in events that, if not already, will change the world: the Arab Revolutions, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Fukushima catastrophe and a future vote on the adhesion of Palestine at the UN. In this very active international context, the United Nations took, or should have taken – depending on the vision we have – a major role. These events, whether predicable or not, needed a fast reaction. How did the UN react in response to these issues? Did it do enough, too much, or not enough?
On the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the entering into force of the United Nations Charter, GIMUN organized a conference that gave students the opportunity to express their visions regarding the UN’s role in these changing international contexts. Four topics of particular importance for the tomorrow's world were selected in order to address contemporary issues dealt with, or not, by the United Nations.
As a young participant, GIMUN offers you the opportunity to discuss these issues central to youth, with participants of different professional backgrounds. Our aim is to provide an arena for inclusive and respectful discussions among country- and NGO representatives, UN officials, the academia, as well as the interested general public, bringing all these different circles to reflect on the role of the UN.
1st Topic: The role of the UN in the “Arab Spring”
Panel leader: Mehdi Ben Youssef, president of the Tunisian International Model United Nations.
The trigger event of this "Arab Spring", which spread through most of North African countries, took place the 17th December 2010: an unemployed Tunisian, who like many others had an university degree, self-immolated causing Tunisia to ignite with protests all around the country.
As months passed by, the Tunisian regime fell, followed by Egypt and Libya. The revolution » internationalized with NATO’s support to the Libyan rebel against Mouammar Kadhafi. In Yemen, however, where the repression of the demonstrators is extremely violent, the United Nations do not seem to take things in hand.
What is it that holds back an intervention in some countries? Which role did the UN play in the fall of some of these regimes? How did the UN invest itself in the protection of the different populations?
2nd Topic: Response in times of an emergency: Somalia’s famine crisis – July 2011
Panel leader: Dr. Thierry Tardy, Research Coordinator at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)
The summer of 2011 brought to the Horn of Africa (which includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) one of the worst droughts in 60 years. In Somalia where a conflict has for decades dwindled the country’s food supplies, the drought hit with a particularly devastating impact. Tens of thousands of Somalis have died of malnutrition-related causes; three million Somalis are in urgent need of aid and more than 10 million are at risk. The United Nations declared a famine crisis using scientific criteria of death and malnutrition rates.
The question is, was this enough? Has the UN reacted fast enough to this crisis? Has the reaction been efficient or successful?
3rd Topic: The United Nation’s implication in the fight against international terrorism
Panel leader: Dr. Christina Schori Liang, Research Fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)
Ten years have passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks that changed the world forever. Since that day, the fight against international terrorism - though not a novelty - became a priority for the United Nations. However, what the past decade has shown us is that the leadership of this battle against terrorism is being led by individual States, not necessarily acting in accordance with the UN principles.
Hence many questions can be asked, such as: What exactly has been the involvement of the UN in the fight against international terrorism? Have the UN resolutions been useful? How can the UN take the lead in this fight against international terrorism?
4th Topic: The implication of integrating a new State to the UN
Panel leader: Mr. Adrien Evéquoz, adviser at the Swiss permanent mission, FDFA.
On September 20th, 2011 Palestine will file its application to become a member of the United Nations. Shortly after its independence in June 2011, South Sudan also applied for membership at the UN. Hence, 2011 will perhaps be marked by the adhesion of two new States to the United Nations: one not yet recognized by all States and one newly independent State.
Moreover, closer to home, it has been 9 years since Switzerland joined the UN after a very tight vote by its citizens.
What are then the implications of an adhesion for both the joining State and the United Nations? To which responsibilities and obligations must a newly adhered State submit itself? Which changes does the adhesion to the UN implicates at a national level, politically, economically or even at the security level for a State?
Click here to consult the UN Day Program
Read the Reports from each panel at UN Day
- The role of the UN in the Arab Spring: Read the Panel Report here (FRA).
- Response in the moment of urgency - Somalia (July 2011): Read the Panel Report here (FRA).
- The UN's fight against terrorism: Read the Panel Report here (ENG).
- The implication of integrating a new state to the UN: Read the Panel Report here (FRA).
Watch the GIMUN Video on UN Day
Read an Article on UN Day by the US Non-Governmental Liaison Service
- Check out the official photos from the United Nations Office at Geneva