Model United Nations Prepares Students for Engagement at Rio+20
More than 400 students participating in the 2012 Beijing Model United Nations were given insights into the issues and challenges that will be discussed by world leaders when they gather at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development later this year. The event was held over a period of three days from 6-8 April 2012, during which students were able to engage with representatives from the United Nations system in China. In addition, following the launch of a major UN campaign to gather thoughts on the future people want to see in twenty years time – called the Future We Want – students were encouraged to think about and submit their ideas during an interactive session drawing on the conferences’ main theme of sustainability.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Special Assistant to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Pablo Barrera, highlighted the need for innovation, creativity, energy and vision, adding that: “while we can’t afford to continue on our current development direction, we must ensure the choices we make today are the right ones for tomorrow. If we don’t, we run the risk of following in the footsteps of those who created a framework based on the idea that the world was flat.”
Over the course of the conference, students were split into three committees to discuss drought, food security and agricultural development; trade barriers to a green economy; and the goals and objectives of Rio+20. Seeking resolutions that result in sustainable development, the conference sought to mirror Rio+20 and envision its outcomes. Meanwhile, senior government officials in attendance included Mr. Le Yucheng, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs.