On 9 May, the United Nations Association of South Africa University of Pretoria (UNASA UP) hosted the premier of the first virtual Model UN in South Africa. Organised by the UNASA UP Chairperson, Andrea Yazbek, the topic of discussion at the premier was ‘Multilateralism in Food Security after a Pandemic Shock’. The delegates were representing five countries, namely, the People’s Republic of China, the Argentine Republic, the United Mexico States, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Republic of South Africa. The event was attended by the Secretary General of the UNASA, Mr. Ali Kiyaei.

A Model United Nations (MUN) is a recreation of the working of the principle organs of the United Nations (UN). Students represent one of the countries of the UN framework in one of the work meetings of the General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC, and significantly more. Students debate on the most pressing worldwide issues, and work on normal arrangements that will converge into UN Resolutions. A Virtual Model UN is an altogether advanced occasion utilising current correspondence innovation. The preparation movement is duplicated inside a virtual framework that lets members relate to the recreation works, interface with different students, and work in a group utilising an internet enabled device.

Multilateralism in Food Security after a Pandemic Shock

The opening speaker, Dr. Sithembele Mbete from the University of Pretoria’s department of Political Sciences, brought light to the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming more than a health issue, but a governance problem. Many nations have responded in a nationalistic manner by closing their borders and prioritising citizens over immigrants. The speaker suggested that is maybe time to amend the current multilateral system. Multilateralism was a response to the second world war in 1945, and, currently The World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted the same response to the pandemic, as many countries are uniting to defeat the pandemic is. From this, it is shown that multilateralism has been a common response to the health crisis, especially from WHO and the African Union. The call to rethink multilateralism was reiterated by the speaker in order to be protected admidst the crisis, and be able to have food security after this pandemic.

Delegates representing the different countries went on to state their opening statements and debated about the appropriate way going forward about multilateralism in Food Security after a Pandemic Shock. The winners of the MUN were The United Mexico States for ‘Best Delegate’, and the Republic of South Africa for ‘Best Position Paper’.The Resolution paper passed at the virtual MUN will be sent to the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) as part of research for the UN75 Agenda and Coronavirus.

NOKWANDA KUBHEKA