The Disarmament and International Security Committee – Day 2
The debate on the prevention of an arms race in space continues at the Hôtel de Courcy in Rennes. China quickly gets the ball rolling with a ten minute moderated caucus to discuss a legally binding treaty for an international space agency that would allow countries to share information on their current presence in outer space as well as check up on what other nations have been up to in their national space agencies. Although Russia agrees with China that there should be a legally binding contract, the United States of America makes it very clear that with their space presence, which is arguably one of the most advanced and expansive in the world, they would never participate in a legally binding treaty. Japan also raises the idea that a non-legally binding treaty might restore trust between nations, which has been an important goal for all during these proceedings.
After a fifteen-minute unmoderated caucus there are two papers presented on the guidelines of an international space agency. Paper 1.1 (sponsored by China, Russia, and India) only differs slightly from Paper 2.1 (sponsored by Japan, the United Kingdom, and the USA). The main discrepancies are where to include a clause on creating a Code of Conduct, whether or not to organize an authority capable of settling disputes in this space agency, and whether or not the treaty should be obligatory or not. Throughout the course of the day the two teams as well as all the other nations debate over and work together to create a new and improved resolution. The representative of the United States of America said how pleased she was that people were collaborating and trying to find common ground. In her experience there are usually two teams working against each other to get their resolutions passed instead of trying to find points that everyone can agree on.
The resolution is finally drafted, printed and distributed, and amendments to the resolution on the regulation of space warfare start flooding in. First off is Amendment 1, proposed by Argentina, who suggests the removal of a statement in Clause 4, which says, “Each State is free to determine its level of participation in the agency.” In the opinion of Argentina, who is supported by Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria, this resolution is useless if participation in the agency is optional. However according to Israel, Russia, China, and Japan this statement promotes trust between nations. They believe that working with other countries and having access to any voluntarily shared information is incentive enough to be a large part of the agency. Israel, Russia, China, and Japan believe that countries would feel more comfortable divulging their intelligence if it was not required of them. After a heated debate on the topic the first amendment ultimately fails.
After this, four other amendments are easily passed, all adding clauses to the resolution on international space agency standards, the addition of a group of legal advisors for an international Code of Conduct, definitions of militarization and weaponization, as well as voluntary inspections of national space agencies. By the end of the day all delegates are ready for a verdict and when put to a vote the debate is closed and the resolution is passed with nine of twenty-seven delegates against. The end of the day is punctuated with a rousing and surprising speech from Russia on why he voted against the amendment he worked so hard to construct. It was his objective, as he declared, to make history today and this resolution, despite being passed, did not meet his monumental expectations.
Tomorrow we begin the topic of the use of unconventional weapons, and there are already strong opinions forming on the subject of nuclear and chemical warfare.
Tatia, Representative of Brazil and Elene, Representative of Mexico
Both girls come from Georgia and attend the Free University of Tbilisi in Tbilisi, the capitol of Georgia. Their interest in attending SPRIMUN was to gain a professional experience as well as meet new people and work internationally. So far both countries think that the negotiations have been going pretty fast and that the debate is very lively. As for the city of Rennes they quite liked seeing city hall and Parc du Thabor.
Teona, Representative of Italy
Teona also comes from Georgia and attends the State University of Tbilisi. Her motivation for joining this MUN conference was to meet new people who have some qualifications and opinions on politics. Teona says that a lot of people here want to be future leaders, so it’s nice to be around people who are so educated on their topics. She is thoroughly enjoying Rennes and is currently working on drafting a resolution with South Africa, France, Germany, and Russia.
Zacharie, Representative of Iran
Zacharie is from Normandy but goes to Sciences Po Rennes. He did an MUN conference in Scotland and liked it so much that he decided to participate in SPRIMUN as well. Iran’s objectives for this committee are to avoid pissing off other countries and to agree on a voluntary basis for participation in the international space agency that is currently being discussed. Zacharie says that the debates were a little slow yesterday, April 1st, but that now things are picking up and we should be able to pass a resolution by this afternoon. In his opinion, Rennes is a great city of a perfect size that is full of students, so a wonderful place to study. He is currently working on merging the two resolutions that have been put forth.
Marie, Representative of Israel
Marie is from France and attends Sciences Po Rennes. She has done several MUNs and says that she loves the theatrical element of the conferences. It’s a merging of acting and politics, two subjects that Marie greatly enjoys. Furthermore she gets to learn about other countries. Israel’s goal in the conference is to stay independent and keep everything voluntary for the countries. She says she would’ve preferred to start the debates with topic two on the subject of unconventional weapons, instead of topic one which concerns the prevention of an arms race in space, but Marie still thinks the discussions are doing well and moving along. As for Rennes, Marie loves the city and also thinks it’s a perfect size. She too is working on merging the two presented resolutions.
Paul, Representative of Syria
Paul is from Nantes, but attends Sciences Po Rennes. He participated in PragueMUN earlier this year and thought it was a lot of fun and a great experience so he decided to participate in SPRIMUN as well. Paul says that Syria’s main goal in this conference is to disturb the United States of America. For Paul topic two on unconventional weapons would have been more interesting because Syria does not have a space agency, which is the focus of topic one, but he says that things are moving along in the debates. He is not currently a part of a resolution because as he says nobody wants Syria on their team.
Doriane, Representative of the United States of America
Doriane is from France and also attends Sciences Po Rennes. She has always been interested in world issues and thinks that SPRIMUN is a perfect way to get comfortable with international relations. Doriane has only ever participated in one MUN before SPRIMUN in which she represented Chad, so she is very excited to be representing a more influential country like the USA this time. In this conference the USA encourages peace and regulation of weapons in space through the creation of an international treaty concerning outer space, but does not want a legally binding contract. Doriane thinks that the debates are going really well that everyone’s working together instead of against each other, which is encouraging to see. Doriane likes living in Rennes and also thinks the city has a great size and is perfect for students. She is currently a sponsor of the merged resolution.