Written by CNN
The five resolutions under debate in UNHCR are all under fire, which signals a fundamental failure of previous debate.
Despite the group reaching a general consensus and having similar goals, all five resolutions contend that they are all different enough that they deserve their own special consideration. The working papers, creatively titled RAIN, RISE(ing) TIDE, DRRIP, TIER DROP, and Comrades all cover Topic A, refugees from Climate Change.
All recognize the plight of refugees, all recognize national sovereignty, and all want to establish similar organizations to help these refugees. Yet, because of small differences in exact organization type and duties, these resolutions are being drowned in amendments by sponsors of other resolutions. For example, one resolution coins the term “Environmental Migrant” while another prefers the term “climate-disaster migrant”. Such minutiae is deraining the committee.
This is not how the United Nations should operate. These small differences should be worked out through debate, not after each bloc has written a complete resolution and just wants to see their own work pass. Amendments are not the time to hash out differences and gain consensus. That should have been done in formal and informal debate.
The UNHCR Chair needs to put their foot down on these self-serving debate tactics. The committee needs to rethink their goals and move toward more functional moderated debate to understand each other’s opinions before writing resolutions that are different only in name. Over the next session, I’d like to see more cooperation and a frank discussion about what actually differs between these resolutions. Ideally, only one resolution will pass, and such a comprehensive resolution will contain elements that answer all points addressed in committee.
Unfortunately, if my time in UNHCR is an indication, we’ll instead get five different terms for forced migration due to climate change.